If you’re like many people, you’re not sure whether you can possess a firearm if you’ve been convicted of a crime in Illinois – and unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. So when can you get a gun if you have a criminal record in Illinois? This guide explains.
Can You Get a Gun if You Have a Criminal Record in Illinois?
In the state of Illinois, you may only own a gun if you have a Firearm Owner’s Identification, or FOID, card. You get a FOID card from the Illinois State Police, and it licenses you as a gun owner or gun user.
Related: How strict are Chicago’s gun laws?
Can Anyone Get a FOID?
You may only apply for this card through the ISP, and the agency has very specific rules about who’s allowed to get one. Some convictions on your record may lead to an automatic denial, while others won’t impact – or may only slightly impact – your ability to get licensed to own a gun in Illinois.
Illinois Criminal Convictions That Lead to Automatic FOID Card Denial
Some convictions mean you may never lawfully own a firearm in the state of Illinois. If your record contains a conviction for any of the following crimes, the Illinois State Police will deny you a FOID card:
- Assault with a firearm convictions within the past 5 years
- Battery convictions within the past 5 years
- Felony drug convictions – but only some types, not all
- Forcible felonies* within 20 years of your application
- Juvenile offenses that are equivalent to forcible felony convictions for adults
- Misdemeanors if you’re under the age of 21
*A forcible felony is a crime where you use force or threaten to use force.
Can You Get a Gun With Non-Forcible Felonies?
In some cases, it’s possible to get a FOID card with non-forcible felonies. The ISP may approve your application the first time through.
However, ISP may deny your application if you have certain other convictions. You may be able to appeal the denial.
Related: Can you bring a gun to Illinois?
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?
If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.