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What Are the Illinois Laws Regarding Underage Possession of Firearms?

 Posted on December 12, 2019 in Criminal Defense

Joliet criminal defense attorneysThe Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been in the news a lot over the past few decades. Mass shootings at schools, synagogues, shopping malls, and theaters have put the issue of gun control at the forefront of public consciousness. Many people want to ban firearms except for the military and law enforcement. However, the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. 

With this in mind, you should know that Illinois state laws regarding the concealed carry of a weapon are some of the strictest in the country. But how do they apply to minors who are in possession of a firearm? It is important to understand the gun laws in Illinois since the punishments vary depending on the age of the offender. 

Criminal Charges Involving Firearms

In Illinois, a person must obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification card (FOID) from the state police before purchasing a gun or any ammunition. However, a FOID is only available for adults who do not have a criminal record or history of mental illness. 

Federal and state gun laws usually differentiate between long guns (shotguns or rifles) and handguns. Under federal firearms law, a licensed firearm retailer is prohibited from selling a handgun to a person under 21 years old. Also, a licensed dealer cannot sell a long gun to anyone under the age of 18.

If a minor possesses a gun, this is considered a criminal offense, which can range from a misdemeanor to a felony charge depending on the circumstances. The only exception to this regulation is when a minor child is using a gun as part of a sporting or recreational activity. For example, hunting or target shooting is legal in Illinois. It is important to note that a youth hunting license authorizes a person under the age of 18 to hunt as long as the juvenile is accompanied by a licensed hunter who is 21 or older. 

Charges in Illinois for the unlawful and underage possession of a weapon such as a gun or firearm include:

  • Class A misdemeanor: Possession of any firearm or ammunition by a person under 21 years old who has a criminal or juvenile delinquency record
  • Class 4 felony: Possession of a concealable firearm such as a handgun by a person under 18 years old

There are some parts of Illinois that enforce more extensive firearm laws, regardless of age. The city of Chicago and some of the surrounding suburbs have banned handguns altogether. One of the reasons for bans such as these are to prevent accidental shootings. There have been reported cases of children playing with an unsecured gun only to have the weapon fire accidentally, leading to the children being injured or killed.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

The gun laws in Illinois are some of the strictest in the nation, and they are different for a minor who is charged with a violation compared to an adult. If your child is facing any type of weapons charge, it is imperative that you seek legal guidance. At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC we understand how a weapons charge can significantly affect someone’s future, especially for a minor. Our aggressive and experienced Joliet firearms violation attorneys will prepare a strong defense on your child’s behalf so he or she can avoid incarceration and a criminal record. Call us today at 815-727-0100 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. 






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