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Will County criminal defense attorney for firearm chargesCurrent Illinois state law requires residents to have a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card in order to purchase or possess a firearm or ammunition. Failure to have a FOID card can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances and the criminal record of the individual being charged. However, a recent ruling by an Illinois judge and a new bill working its way through the Illinois legislature could change all that.

Court Ruling

A White County Circuit Court judge has ruled that requiring citizens to have a FOID card is unconstitutional. The ruling was made in a criminal case from 2017 where an elderly White County resident was charged with violating the law because she owned a rifle but did not have a FOID card. The judge dismissed the charges against the woman, saying that requiring a FOID card violates both the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, section 22 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

This was the second time the case was dismissed in the county court. A prior ruling in 2018 also ruled that the charges violated the woman’s rights, prompting the state to immediately appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. The higher court did not hear the case, sending it back to the lower court because of questions regarding the process the lower court used to reach its decision.

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Joliet weapons violations attorneysThe Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms. Although gun rights can be quite controversial, many people believe that it is important to defend themselves in the event they are ever attacked. Certain states have their own laws pertaining to concealed or open carry of handguns. Currently, open carry is not legal in the state of Illinois. Concealed carry refers to carrying a firearm or other weapon in public in a concealed or hidden manner. 

Illinois gun owners must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card before they can qualify for a concealed carry license (CCL). Once they have this permit, they must obey a strict set of regulations in order to keep their firearm. Not only can a violation lead to losing their license, but spending on the circumstances, an offender can face criminal charges, with penalties that include jail time and costly fines. 

Illinois Gun Laws

Under Illinois law, a valid FOID card is necessary to purchase and possess a gun in the state. Those individuals who own a FOID but who do not have a CCL are still permitted to transport guns as long as they are unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or another type of container. The Illinois State Police issues FOID cards, which are valid for 10 years. 

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Joliet criminal defense attorneyThe sheer number of homicides in the news over the past few years has put a spotlight on Chicago’s gun violence. Illinois statutes regulate the use, possession, and carrying of a firearm, but the law can be confusing, and even gun owners can sometimes misunderstand it. Illinois residents are allowed to possess a gun or ammunition if they qualify for a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police. 

Any criminal charge involving a weapon is taken seriously in the state of Illinois. When a person is arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm, it can impact the rest of his or her life. In some cases, a criminal record can be hard to erase. Interviewing for a job or trying to secure a home loan can be difficult when a criminal charge comes up on a background check.  

Unlawful Use of a Weapon Penalties

Under Illinois law, the unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) is a serious crime. If person does not have a conceal and carry permit, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor UUW if he or she is found to be carrying a gun. If the gun was loaded and the person does not possess a FOID Card, he or she may be charged with an aggravated UUW, which is classified as a Class 4 felony in Illinois. Another example of a Class 4 felony is reckless discharge of a firearm. In certain scenarios, a second offense of these can be charged as a Class 3 felony. If a convicted felon is found in possession of a firearm, he or she may face a Class X felony.

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