The state of Illinois has very specific laws for possession of a firearm. It requires gun owners to apply for and obtain what is known as a Firearm Owners Identification Card, or FOID for short. To obtain this card, applicants must consent to a federal background check and answer several questions relating to hospitalizations for mental illness, whether or not narcotics are a problem, or whether an order of protection has ever been issued. The FOID is separate from a concealed carry license.
Illinois does not permit open carry with the exception of law enforcement. If a citizen wishes to open carry, he or she must attend a 16-hour course, pass a shooting ability field test, and submit to a federal background check. However, in any instance, there are still some types of firearms that are banned from the state. They include fully automatic machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and shotguns. A concealed carry license from any other state is not considered valid in Illinois.
While the majority of weapons charges do involve illegal or unlawfully carried firearms, they can also include others such as brass knuckles, switchblade knives, or a blackjack. These are easily found at flea markets where they are illegally sold.
A weapons charge in Illinois is known as Unlawful Use of Weapons, or UUW. Most are felony charges that carry one to three year prison sentences, though it can be longer where there are aggravating factors. For example, a felon in possession of a firearm would constitute a lengthier sentence. Regardless of the circumstance, anyone who has been charged with UUW should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss a defense strategy.