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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.

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.


  • Dropped All Charges after Motion USA v. Client O

    USA v. Client O - After a complex investigation into child pornography on the internet, federal agents obtained a search warrant to search O’s home and work computers. A forensic review of the devises seized revealed child pornography and O was charged with Possession and distribution of child pornography and altering a hard drive to obstructed the investigation. Mr. Pissetzky and his team used their own forensic expert to examine the computers and discovered that the Agent lied in his affidavit for the search warrants. After filing a motion to suppress the warrant, the government conceded and dropped all child pornography charges. O pled guilty to obstructing the investigation and received a sentence well below the guidelines.

  • Not Guilty Wrongfully Accused of Murder and Attempted Murder: Not Guilty
    MH had been wrongfully accused of murder and attempted murder. Mr. Pissetzky tried to explain to the State’s Attorneys that they had the wrong man, but it fell on deaf ears. Mr. Pissetzky then demanded trial , and after a week of relentless cross-examination, the jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY on all charges – NOT GUILTY of murder and NOT GUILTY of attempt murder – in less then two hours!!
  • Sentence Reduced Pissetzky Saves Defendant from Crack-Cocaine Drug Conspiracy and Other Drug Charges
    (USA v. SO (2010)) – In 2008, the DEA arrested SO for taking part in a large crack cocaine drug conspiracy. At the preliminary hearing, Mr. Pissetzky was able to demonstrate that SO was not involved in the overall conspiracy, and eventually SO was indicted on only two drug transactions he allegedly conducted. During plea negotiations, Mr. Pissetzky convinced the government to dismiss the actual drug charges, and SO pled guilty to a much lesser charge. SO was originally facing over 10 years in prison. At the sentencing hearing before Judge Zagel, Mr. Pissetzky convinced the Judge to sentence SO to time served (roughly 24 months).
  • Not Guilty Marijuana Trafficking Not Guilty
    People v. BR – NOT GUILTY verdict by a jury. BR was charged with Marijuana Trafficking over 1100LB. Mr. Pissetzky and another attorney tried the case to a jury. After a three day trial, the jury deliberated for less then two hours finding BR Not Guilty.
  • Not Guilty People v. GE
    Finding of Not Guilty! GE was charged with possession with intent to deliver a kilogram of heroine, a class X felony carrying a minimum of 15 years in prison. At trial, Mr. Pissetzky proved that the prosecutor did not have sufficient evidence to show that GE ever possessed the drugs.
  • Dismissed USA v. DD
    DD was charged with selling narcotics and was charged in Federal court in Chicago. Mr. Pissetzky was able to present to the prosecutor enough evidence to convince the prosecutor to dismiss all charges against DD.
  • Dismissed People v. AH
    AH was charged with possessions with intent to distribute a large amount of cocaine. Mr. Pissetzky litigation skills led to the dismissal of all charges against AH.
  • Case Dismissed Motion Granted, Case Dismissed
    People v. RMC – Chicago police officers received information that a 2 kilo cocaine deal was going to happen in a garage. They set up surveillance and saw RMC pull into the garage in car. When he walked out of the garage, the Chicago police officers arrested him. While the officers searched the garage and car, they found 2 kilos of cocaine in the car. Mr. Pissetzky and another attorney filed a Motion to Suppress the Arrest and Quash the evidence. After a highly contested hearing, the judge held that the Chicago Police officers violated RMC’s Constitutional rights under the 4th Amendment, and Granted the Motion. The prosecutor had no choice but to dismiss all charges against RMC.
  • Case Dimissed Motion to Suppress Heroin Granted
    People v. AP – After Chicago Police officers walked up to AP after he parked his car, they searched him and the car and found about 1/2 a kilo of Heroin. AP was arrested and charged with a Class X felony. Mr. Pissetzky and Mr. De Leon filed a Motion to Suppress Heroin and Quash AP’s arrest. During the hearing, Mr. Pissetzky proved to the judge that the officers lied and that they violated AP’s Fourth Amendment Rights. The judge granted the motion and the State’s Attorney had no choice but to dismiss the case.
  • Case Dismissed Motion Granted Case Dismissed
    People v. RW – RW was charged with a Class X Felony of Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana. Chicago Police Officers stopped RW after they saw him place 2 large UPS boxes in the trunk of his car. The officers believed that the boxes contained marijuana. After the stop, the officers searched the car and recovered the boxes. The boxes in fact contained a large amount of marijuana. Mr. Gal Pissetzky, along with co-counsel, filed a Motion to Quash Arrest and Suppress Evidence claiming that RW was illegally stopped and searched. During the hearing, Mr. Pissetzky cross examined the Chicago Police officers and proved to the judge that the officers acted illegally and violated RW’s Constitutional Rights under the Fourth Amendment. The judge granted the Motion and all charges against RW were dismissed.


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