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Chicago IL criminal defense attorneyIn the United States, the right to own and carry a firearm is protected under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. However, there are certain acts and situations that may cause you to lose your right to own or carry a firearm. In addition, you could face criminal charges if you use a weapon to threaten someone or in the commission of another crime. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you learn what you need to know about guns and weapons charges in the state of Illinois.

Not All Weapons Are Guns

While most weapons charges result from the illegal use or possession of a gun, not all are connected to a firearm. In fact, almost any object can become a weapon, depending on the circumstances. Examples could include everything from knives, swords, and switchblades to stun guns and brass knuckles. Use of these or any other dangerous weapons can lead to a criminal weapons charge under Illinois law.

Unlawful Use or Possession of a Weapon by a Felon

Those who have previously been convicted on felony charges are barred from using or possessing a firearm. This applies even if the felony conviction did not take place in the state of Illinois. If a felony offender ignores this ban, they are at risk of charges for unlawful use or possession of a weapon by a felon. At minimum, this is a Class 3 felony, which carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison for a first offense. A subsequent offense, or the possession of certain types of weapons, can lead to elevated charges and increased penalties.

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerFederal firearm laws are complicated and carry harsh penalties. These laws are not only complex, but they also provide federal prosecutors with an immense arsenal of weapons when prosecuting those accused. This has resulted in a huge increase in prosecutions under the federal laws on firearms. Due to the fact that these prosecutions have become more prevalent, it is essential that everyone understands the law, so they do not find themselves under federal investigation. Below are three of the most common charges prosecutors pursue.

Selling Guns Illegally

There are multiple federal firearm laws pertaining to the sale of firearms, including licensing requirements and restrictions on transporting certain weapons across state lines. Under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a), it is against the law to sell guns across state lines without a valid license. Selling firearms without any type of license carries a five-year sentence in federal prison for those convicted.

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Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,If you have a felony conviction, the last thing you want is to find yourself standing in front of a judge again. After serving a punishment, individuals with prior felony convictions find themselves obeying the law down to the speed limit to avoid being separated from their family and friends for any duration again. Unfortunately, others find themselves back in trouble with the law because they were unaware that certain aspects of life might have changed for them due to their record. One change includes the loss of the ability to own firearms. Being found in possession of a firearm with a felony conviction is the most severe of weapons-related charges.

Firearms and Ammunition Are Off Limits

Once you have a felony conviction on your criminal record, you are no longer eligible for the Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card required by the Illinois Department of State Police. DSP reserves the right to deny, revoke, or seize a card at any given time if they find they qualifications are not met. Instances in which disqualification occurs include:

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Illinois weapons laws, Illinois violent crimes attorney, Illinois defense attorney, It appears the violence in Chicago, a city plagued by gun violence, shows no sign of slowing down. Compared to this time last year, the number of people shot in the city of Chicago is up 50 percent, and officials are worried. Summer is traditionally the most violent time period for Chicago, and city police say they have stepped up their efforts of combating gun violence.

So far this year, there have been approximately 1,400 victims of gun violence, and at least 244 gun wound related fatalities. At this point last year, in comparison, only 904 people had been shot, and around 150 of those victims were shot fatally. That significant increase is alarming, considering violent crimes tend to increase with the heat of the summer.

Summertime Violence?

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Ilinois gun lawsThe new bill that lawmakers have introduced potentially will allow firearms on public transportation. Illinois representative, Jerry Costello, introduced the law to extend citizens Second Amendment rights to public transportation, citing that with the large percentage of the population relying on public transportation, they should be able to defend themselves. Although the bill has only been proposed and is awaiting the vote of the house, if it were to pass, those who wanted to carry would need to obtain their concealed carry license, or face firearm possession charges.

How to Obtain an Illinois Concealed Carry License

As of July 9, 2013, Illinois passed the Concealed Carry Act, requiring an Illinois Concealed Carry License in order to legally conceal carry within the state. With that being said, the process of earning one of those licenses is still relatively new to the state. In order to even begin the application process, citizens must meet a few eligibility requirements:

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