Until 2012, Illinois law prohibited carrying a gun (openly or concealed) outside of one’s home, but a federal appellate court struck down the law, finding that it violated the Second Amendment. (Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012).) In 2013, Illinois enacted a new law permitting people to carry concealed weapons with a license. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/10.)
In order to obtain a concealed carry license, the applicant must possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, or qualify for one and be in the process of applying for one. Additionally, the applicant must submit to a background check and cannot have been convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor involving violence within the past five years, or two or more DUIs. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/30.) For more information on Illinois’s gun regulations, see Gun Permit Laws in Illinois and Weapons Charges in Illinois.
People Who May Not Obtain or Possess a Gun in Illinois
People in Illinois are prohibited from obtaining a FOID card or a concealed carry permit if they are:
- younger than 18 years old
- younger than 21 and do not have parental consent or a parent who is eligible for a FOID card
- not U.S. citizens or legal residents
- ineligible to possess a firearm under federal law
- “mentally impaired” or “intellectually disabled”
- “mentally defective” or have been committed to a mental hospital within the last five years
- convicted felons
- minors convicted of certain misdemeanors, crimes that would be felonies if committed by an adult, or who have been adjudicated delinquent
- addicted to certain controlled substances, or
- convicted of certain domestic or violent offenses.
(405 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/1-116; 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 65/8.)
Penalties for Gun Carry Violations
It is a class A misdemeanor to possess a weapon without a FOID card, if you are otherwise eligible to obtain a FOID card. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both. A second or subsequent violation of this type is a class 4 felony, which incurs a fine of up to $25,000, at least one year (and up to three years) in prison, or both. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 65/14(b).)
It is a class 3 felony to possess a weapon without a FOID card when you are not otherwise eligible to obtain a FOID card. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, at least two (and up to five) years in prison, or both. A third or subsequent violation of this type is a class 1 felony, which incurs a fine of up to $25,000, six to 30 years in prison, or both. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 65/14(c).) For more information on sentencing in Illinois, see Illinois Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences and Illinois Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Getting Legal Help
The penalties for violating gun carry laws are serious, and often include harsh fines and long prison sentences. If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to possess or carry a gun in Illinois, or if you are facing charges for a gun violation, consult an experienced local criminal defense lawyer.