Because the Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW) often times is a felony in Illinois, it is important for you to understand what legal rights and responsibilities you have when it comes to the possession and use of firearms.
- To be able to possess a gun, all Illinois residents are required to have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) issued by the Illinois State Police.
- To obtain a FOID card, you must not have been convicted of a felony anywhere in the United States, are not mentally, intellectually or developmentally disabled, have no Civil Order of Protection on file against you or been convicted of assault, battery or related crimes in the past five years. Other restrictions also apply.
- If you have a valid FOID card, you are only allowed to transport your firearm if it is unloaded and in a case. If the firearm is in your car, loaded and out of a case, then you can be charged with a Class 4 felony. You can carry a concealed weapon on you and in your car only if you have obtained a license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, but you must take note that some businesses can forbid guns on their property.
- Unless you are in your own residence, place of business or on your own land, you can be charged with a felony UUW if the firearm is loaded and immediately accessible, or not loaded but ammo is immediately accessible.
- Even if a gun is not used in the commission of a crime, a person may be charged with a UUW crime by simply possessing a gun under the wrong conditions, such as if a person is under 21 years old, gang-related activity, possession of a gun during the commission of a violent misdemeanor such as domestic abuse, or possession while committing misdemeanor drug offenses under federal law.
The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.