Firearm Ownership in Illinois

Posted on August 6th, 2020 by Danielle Giannola

Firearms Rules & Regulations Illinois

When people think of the United States Constitution, one of the first rights included in the Bill of Rights is our Second Amendment right to bear arms. While you do have the right to own and even carry firearms on your person, it’s important to do so legally. That means being aware of and complying with all of Illinois’ firearms rules and regulations. If you have specific questions about a rule or regulation concerning your firearm, contact Giannola Legal LLC’s criminal defense lawyers in Lockport, Illinois.

FOID Card:

In Illinois, anyone who is in possession of a firearm or even ammunition must have a FOID (Firearm Owner’s Identification Card). That means you must have a valid FOID card not just to own or buy a firearm or ammunition, but to even have either of these items (or other items covered under the statute such as Tasers or pepper spray) in your possession. To get a FOID Card, you must submit an application to the Illinois State Police. The State Police will then conduct a background check to make sure you are legally allowed to own a firearm in Illinois. Things like prior felony convictions, recent drug addiction, developmental disabilities, recent severe mental health issues, or existing orders of protection may disqualify you from receiving a FOID Card.

If your FOID application is approved, you will be allowed to possess and purchase firearms and ammunition in Illinois. When in possession of a firearm, you must always have your FOID Card with you. It’s important to know that your FOID card does not entitle you to carry a firearm in public. So, when transporting your weapon in public, it must be either 1) unloaded and in a closed case or 2) in a non-functioning state (i.e. broken down). In either case, ammunition must be transported separate from the firearm itself. The easiest way to do this is to keep the firearm in the trunk and the ammunition in the car or vise-versa.

Concealed Carry License:

In order to carry a firearm in public legally, you will need to get a Concealed Carry License (CCL). To get a CCL, you must have a valid FOID Card, complete a 16-hour training course, pass a FBI background check, and pay a fee.

Once you have your CCL, you may legally carry a loaded firearm with you in public. However, the firearm must be concealed on your person, not openly visible for others to see. Also, private and public businesses can ban firearms from their premises, but they must follow the state statute for providing proper notice – just because you see a sign forbidding firearms does not necessarily mean that you are banned from carrying a firearm inside; they must comply with the statutory notice requirement. If the sign is in compliance with the state statute, you cannot bring your firearm inside, even if you have a CCL. There are also places that you are never allowed to carry a firearm while visiting, such as schools and child care centers, government buildings and courthouses, hospitals and nursing homes, busses, trains, and public transit facilities, etc.

Transporting Your Weapon:

Any failure to comply with Illinois’ firearm rules can result in an Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW) charge. This means being in possession of a firearm or ammunition without a valid FOID card (even a single round of ammunition), transporting a firearm improperly, discharging a firearm improperly, or any other violation of Illinois UUW statute. Depending on the severity of the offense, UUW can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, meaning up to three years in prison.

If you do find yourself charged with UUW, the experienced criminal defense lawyers in Lockport, Illinois at Giannola Legal LLC, are ready to help provide you with the best defense possible.

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