To Get Us In Your Corner Call Now 312.883.9466

Chicago Gun Crime Lawyer

Felony Weapon Possession Attorney in Illinois

The gun possession and carrying laws of Illinois are both somewhat lenient compared to other states but also uniquely complex. With gray areas in the law and the introduction of Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) requirements, it is easy to see how many people could find themselves arrested and charged with a gun crime without ever knowing they were doing something wrong. If you are facing criminal charges for your possession or sale of a firearm in Illinois, you could be hit with strict penalties upon conviction.

From Gal's interview for the Masters of the Courtroom series on

For more than 20 years, we have been representing people in the toughest of criminal defense cases and securing hard-fought victories, as our numerous client testimonials can attest. To learn about what we can do for you, do not hesitate to contact us today.

Can a Felon Own a Gun in Illinois?

Anyone who wants to possess and carry a firearm of any sort in Illinois must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID). A person convicted of a felony crime is not able to obtain a FOID and cannot buy or own a gun.

Without a FOID, it is a criminal offense to possess a gun, even in your own home. Handgun licenses from other states are not recognized by Illinois law, either.

In order to get a FOID, you must:

  • Be 21+ or 18+ with express written consent from a parent
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Meet all federal firearm possession requirements
  • Not be a convicted felon
  • Not be addicted to most controlled dangerous substances (CDS)
  • Not be “mentally impaired”

It should be noted that obtaining a FOID is not the same as obtaining a concealed carry permit. Many people in Illinois make this mistake and inadvertently break the law, thinking that they had the right to conceal the weapon on their person or in their vehicle. Additionally, no firearms require registration with the state; if you have been arrested for not registering your firearm, this could indicate a serious violation of your rights.

Firearm Felony Possession Penalties

As drastic as the aforementioned penalties for illegally possessing a firearm may seem, they are generally used for first-time offenders and for people who could have been eligible to possess a FOID but did not do so for whatever reason. If you are convicted subsequent times for the same violation, it will be considered a felony, which includes escalated penalties.

The penalties for felony possession of a firearm vary depending on whether the person is or is not a convicted felon, and whether they are in or out of prison. Keep in mind that, according to 720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(e):

  • “The possession of each firearm or firearm ammunition in violation of this Section constitutes a single and separate violation.”

A first-time weapon possession offense is also considered a felony without a FOID and are no longer eligible to obtain one through legal channels.

Felony Gun Possession Sentence

In addition to a $25,000 fine, you could be penalized with up to five years in prison with a 2-year minimum sentence. Repeat violations of felony gun possession with no eligibility for a FOID can sentence you to 30 years in prison for a minimum of six years.

  • Class 3 Felony Possession of a Firearm - A person commits a Class 3 felony when he or she is found in possession of a firearm and is not confined in a penal institution. 2 – 10 years in prison.
  • Class 2 Felony Possession of a Firearm - A person commits a class 2 felony if he or she is not confined to a penal institution and has committed: found with a firearm when on parole, found with a firearm when on mandatory supervised release, repeat offense of possession of a firearm by a felon, a forcible felony, a felony in violation of 720 ILCS 5/24, a felony in violation of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, stalking or aggravated stalking, a class 2/greater drug related felony. 3 – 14 years in prison.
  • Class 1 Felony Possession of a Firearm - A person commits a Class 1 felony if he or she is confined in a penal institution and is found in possession of any weapon prohibited in 720 ILCS 5/25-1, regardless of the intent with which he or she possesses it. 4 – 15 years in prison.

Class X Felony Possession of a Firearm

"Class X" firearm possession felonies carry up to 30 years in prison when in possession of a machine gun outside a penal institution; or are in possession of a firearm, ammunition, or explosives inside of a penal institution. In addition, the individual may be charged with up to 50 years in prison if they are in possession of a machine gun inside of a penal institution.

Lastly, if the individual is wearing body armor in conjunction with any of these above stated felonies they have committed a class x felony (see 720 ILCS 5/33F-1). The penalty for any of these offenses while wearing body armor may be up to 40 years in prison.

Firearm Sales in Illinois

People and businesses that want to openly sell firearms must be licensed to do so. Before a purchaser can be handed their weapon, they and the seller must comply with a mandatory waiting period of 24 hours for rifles and shotguns and 72 hours for handguns and pistols. Firearms dealers may run into legal trouble due to the definition of certain weapons that can be difficult to categorize as a handgun or rifle.

Illinois does allow private persons or parties to sell or transfer firearms with little oversight. The only requirement for most private gun transactions is the notification of the Department of State Police (DSP), and this is only if the purchaser has not yet been licensed. The seller must supply the DSP with their own FOID number and the identification of the purchaser. If the DSP does approve of the sale, it may be conducted within 30 days. There is an online FOID directory for state residence convenience.

Protect Your Second Amendment Rights

Gun crimes are currently one of the most controversial forms of criminal violations in the country. Society and law enforcement may be overzealous when it comes to penalizing people for potential crimes. If your Second Amendment right to possess firearms is being infringed upon by unjust criminal charges, let our Chicago gun crime lawyers stand up for you before the court. If there is one thing we believe in here at Pissetzky Law LLC, it is that an attorney should never back down from a fight when their clients’ freedoms are on the line.

Click to learn more about the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.

Let us be your hard-hitting legal advocates! Contact us today.


  • Case Dismissed Case Dismissed After State Refuses to Cooperate
    People v. IP (2014) Mr. IP was arrested for possession of a large amount of a controlled substance after Chicago police executed a search warrant. Arguing that the information in the search warrant was fabricated, Mr. Pissetzky filed a Motion to Produce Informant. Against the odds, the judge granted the motion and ordered the State to produce the informant. When the State failed to do so, the judge dismissed the case.
  • Not Guilty Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Secures a “Not Guilty” for Possession, Conspiracy, and Intent
    Chicago criminal defense attorney, Gal Pissetzky takes the fight all the way for his clients. Gal was able to secure a “not guilty” on all counts for his client in a case involving possession, conspiracy, and intent to distribute cocaine.
  • Case Overturned Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Gets Drug Case Overturned
    Chicago criminal defense attorney Gal Pissetzky takes the fight all the way for his clients, even when the fight involves creating new laws to protect their rights. While defending a day laborer accused of drug trafficking crimes, the prosecutor in the case questioned the man as to how he was able to come up with the $75,000 bail bond. The client was found guilty but Mr. Pissetzky objected to the bail bond reference and the case was overturned on appeal. When it was sent back to trial, Gal Pissetzky negotiated for time served and the client regained his freedom.
  • Not Guilty of All Charges Class X felony Possession with intent to deliver marijuana and cocaine

    Not Guilty of All Charges

    People v. LG – Not Guilty of a Class X felony Possession with intent to deliver marijuana and cocaine. Although the chicago police had a search warrant to search a home where they found large amounts of marijuana and cocaine, as well as an identification card and other proof of residency for LG, the judge found LG NOT GUILTY of all charges.

  • Sentenced Reduced Client Facing 40 Years Gets 4 Months Instead
    Chicago criminal defense attorney Gal Pissetzky argues for a light sentence and wins! Mr. BC was charged with a large drug conspiracy in a federal court case. He was personally responsible for distributing over 200 kilos of marijuana. After intense negotiations with the government and without ever having to become an informant or a snitch, Mr. Pissetzky convinced the judge that Mr. BC should receive a very short sentence of four months, despite the fact that he was facing up to 40 years in prison. The judge agreed with Mr. Pissetzky and sentenced Mr. BC to just four months in jail.
  • Not Guilty on All Counts Cross-Examination by Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Leads to a “Not Guilty”
    People v. Z. (2009) – Mr. Z. was accused of transporting five kilograms of cocaine in a secret compartment of a car. After a trial in which Gal Pissetzky cross-examined officers from the elite narcotics division of the Chicago Police Department, the judge found Mr. Z. NOT GUILTY of all charges.
  • Federal Judge Imposes Light Sentence Over Government’s Objections Federal Crime
    U.S. v. HJ (2014) Mr. HJ was charged as the leader of a large Chicago drug organization. The government attributed over 26 kilos of cocaine to Mr. HJ, and sought a minimum 15-year-sentence based on his alleged leadership role. After a very contested sentencing hearing, during which Mr. Pissetzky argued that Mr. HJ was not a the leader of the organization and should therefore receive a much lower sentence, the judge agreed with Mr. Pissetzky and told the government it had not met its burden of proof. Although the judge found Mr. HJ responsible for 26 kilograms of cocaine, Mr. Pissetzky convinced the judge to sentence Mr. HJ to only 70 months–nine years less than what the government wanted.
  • Reduced Sentence Federal sentencing on drug conspiracy charges – 18 months for 26 kilos of cocaine without ever cooperating
    (USA v. MM) Mr. MM was charged in Federal Court with drug conspiracy to distribute over 26Kilograms of cocaine. The government used an informant and recorded calls. After long but successful negotiations with the government, Mr. Pissetzky was able to convince the prosecutor to amend the charges so MM won’t be facing the mandatory 10 years to life in prison. The government, however, still sought to send MM away for a long period of incarceration. MM never cooperated or became an informant!!!! Mr. Pissetzky filed a sentencing memorandum. During the federal sentencing hearing, Mr. Pissetzky argued to the Judge for a much reduced sentence. The Judge sentenced MM to a short 18months.
  • Not Guilty Gal Pissetzky Gains Not Guilty Verdict on Tough Drug Case. Defendant Wins!
    (People v. CC) – FINDING OF NOT GUILTY – CC was charge with possession with intent to deliver 175 grams of cocaine, and 4 guns where also found during the search of the apartment he was in. Chicago police had a search warrant to an apartment that they claimed CC was living in with his girlfriend. During the search of the apartment, the police recovered 4 guns, ammunition, 175 grams of cocaine, and a scale. At trial, attorney Pissetzky and one other attorney established through cross-examination that the State could not prove that CC actually lived in the apartment. The judge found CC NOT GUILTY of all charges.
  • Case Dismissed Gal Pissetzky Gets Federal Drug Case Dismissed After Cross Examining DEA Agents.
    Defendant Wins! (USA v LG) – RARE CASE OF NO PROBABLE CAUSE FINDING IN FEDERAL COURT – The DEA arrested LG with his wife and charged them with possession of 2.5 kilograms of cocaine. The government alleged at a preliminary hearing in federal court that LG’s wife was trying to sell the cocaine to an undercover DEA agents. Mr. Pissetzky was representing LG, who was arrested in the undercover DEA car after the wife handed the drugs to the DEA agent. During the hearing, Mr. Pissetzky questioned the DEA agent and established that LG was merely present during the drug deal. The federal magistrate judge found that there was not probable cause to arrest LG and ordered that the case against him be dismissed immediately.


  • “I will recommend him to anyone who really needs the best attorney!”

    Former Client

  • “I can't have chosen a better criminal lawyer.”


  • “Highly Recommended”


  • “I highly recommend Gal Pissetzky!!!”


  • “Excellent Attorney”

    Former Client

  • “Got me the best possible outcome, highly recommend”

    Former Client

  • “Phenomenal Attorney”


  • “Best Attorney Ever”


  • “Highly Recommended”


  • “Magnificent, impressive, very great work”

    Mr. & Mrs. LaGrone Sr.

  • “Super professional and knowlegeable lawyer!”


  • “He saved me from jail!”

    Former Client

  • “Gal saved me from prison”


  • “Excellent Lawyer!”


  • “Got me the best possible outcome I could have hoped for.”