Weapons Violations Defense Attorney in Chicago’s West Suburbs
Illinois has strict firearm legislation but is also among the leaders in gun violence. Neighboring states such as Indiana have weaker laws, and guns will often travel across the border in violation of state ownership laws. The gun safety organization, Everytown, ranks Illinois’s gun laws as the seventh strongest in the nation but has a death rate of 16.1 per 100,000 residents.
If you or a loved one is under investigation for a weapons charge or is facing a criminal charge in Chicago’s West Suburbs, contact me at the Mockaitis Law Group LLC. I am a criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights and mount an aggressive defense to reach the best possible outcome. My office is in Oswego, but I proudly serve clients in Wheaton, St. Charles, DeKalb, Yorkville, and throughout Chicago’s West Suburbs, Illinois.
Illinois Gun Laws
On January 10, 2023, Illinois enacted a ban on what it terms assault weapons and also placed limits on magazine capacity, though there are ongoing court challenges to the legislation. The law is known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act (PLCA).
As for the assault weapons, comprising some 170 semi-automatic firearms, individuals in possession of them at the date of enactment can retain ownership if they register them with the state police before January 1, 2024. The magazine prohibitions are ten rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns, and these restrictions are already being enforced.
In general, any Illinois resident seeking to purchase a firearm, handgun, or long gun must obtain what is called a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card from the Illinois State Police and must keep a record of the sale for at least ten years. As of July 1, 2023, private weapons transactions must be done with a gun dealer possessing a Federal Firearms License (FFL). There is also a 72-hour waiting period after purchasing a weapon before the buyer can take ownership.
Ghost guns – those without serial numbers – are also illegal under federal and state law.
Weapons, of course, entail more than just handguns and long guns. The Illinois Compiled Statutes describes the “unlawful use of weapons,” as any of the following weapons, “bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition … a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character….”
It is vital to speak with a dependable attorney when facing these charges. An attorney can fight on your behalf and fully exercise your rights.
Open and Concealed Carry in Illinois
Open carry of a firearm is not legal in Illinois. To get a concealed carry license (CCL), an applicant must be 21 years of age or older and pass a 16-hour training course. However, any law enforcement agency can object to the application based upon “a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety." The decision is then up to the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board.
Using a Weapon in Self-Defense
Depending on the state in which you reside, there may be “stand your ground” or “duty to retreat” laws regarding your right to self-defense or duty to avoid confrontation. Stand your ground laws generally mean you have a right to defend yourself and those you may observe being threatened. Duty to retreat laws mean your first instinct should be to flee from danger and find a safe place to avoid confrontation.
Illinois has neither law on the books, but the use of force is justified if you believe it is necessary "to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony." Of course, you cannot have a weapon unless you have a concealed carry license.
Penalties for Violating Illinois Gun Laws
If you are found to be in illegal possession of a firearm other than a handgun, you can face a Class A misdemeanor charge, punishable by jail time of up to one year, a fine of $2,500, or both. Subsequent offenses rise to a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Illegal possession of a handgun is more serious and is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three years behind bars, a fine of $25,000, or both.
The Illinois Statutes on criminal offense also list other violations, including the:
Unlawful Use of Firearms
Unlawful Sale or Delivery of Firearms
Unlawful Discharge of Firearms
Unlawful Sale or Delivery of Firearms on School Premises
Unlawful Purchase of Firearms
Weapons Violations Attorney Serving
Chicago’s West Suburbs
A criminal charge is a serious threat to one’s future. If you or a loved one is facing a weapons charge anywhere in Chicago’s West Suburbs, contact me immediately at the Mockaitis Law Group. Let me exercise your rights, mount a strong defense, and fight for the best possible result.