Gun ownership is again at the forefront of the news now. What happened in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the course of 24 hours on August 3rd and 4th, has nothing to do with your Fourth Amendment right to own and use a gun. Even though some government representatives are calling for more regulations, the only thing that can impact your right to own a gun at this very minute is your own criminal record.
Here, we provide an overview of what types of crimes can directly impact your right to bear arms.
How can you own a firearm in Illinois?
To own a firearm in Illinois, you must obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. The Illinois State Police issues this card to applicants who are legally permitted to possess and use a firearm and ammunition.
In the State of Illinois, the gun owner is required to have the FOID card – or to be licensed. Firearms, on the other hand, are not required to be licensed or registered.
The law that supports the FOID card is aligned with federal law on gun ownership regulations, notably the 1968 federal statute known as the Gun Control Act. This act prohibits mail-order sales of guns and factors that disqualify you for gun ownership. Illinois law includes these same factors as well as seven additional ones. Two of the federal and state disqualifying factors include criminal convictions and another disqualifying factor is orders of protection.
To obtain a FOID card, you must be:
- 21 years of age or older; or
- under 21 years of age but with written consent from a parent who qualifies for a FOID card; and
- a resident of Illinois; and
- free of orders of protection or certain criminal convictions on your record.
What types of crimes in Illinois can impact gun ownership?
There are certain criminal convictions that can keep you from maintaining or acquiring a FOID card. These types of crimes can be clumped under three categories:
- domestic violence; and
- battery and assault crimes committed with a gun within the last five years.
The above disqualifying factors apply to persons 21 years or older. If you are under the age of 21, you are disqualified to obtain or keep a FOID card if you have been convicted of any misdemeanor. The latter does not include traffic offenses.
There are other factors, as above-mentioned, apart from criminal activity that can make you ineligible for a FOID card, and, thus, prohibited from owning a firearm in Illinois. As far as criminal records or criminal activity goes, the above three categories are the most relevant and are key to you keeping or having your FOID card stripped from you.
Key Points Concerning Firearms & Criminal Records in Illinois
If you own guns and are facing a felony charge, an assault and battery charge, or a domestic violence offense, you should seek the guidance and representation of an experienced Chicago metro area criminal defense lawyer. It is imperative that you plead not guilty. It is imperative that your attorney develop a viable and strong defense for you. And it is imperative that you fight the charge.
Only a dismissal or acquittal will allow you the ability to keep your guns. Once your criminal record has one or more of the above-listed crimes, your FOID or ability to obtain the same is taken from you.