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Article 24: Armed Habitual Criminal

Article 24: Armed Habitual Criminal

In this portion of Article 24 of the Illinois Criminal Code, legislators describe one of the most serious criminal charges: armed habitual criminal. If a person engages in any weapons violation after having already been convicted twice of a forcible felony or aggravated weapons offense, he or she could be criminally prosecuted for the crime of armed habitual criminal. If convicted, a defendant would find himself facing a Class X felony and a serious prison sentence.

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The text below comes from Article 24 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 24

(Text of Section from P.A. 96-41)
    (720 ILCS 5/24-1)

Sec. 24-1.7. Armed habitual criminal.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-1.7)

(a) A person commits the offense of being an armed habitual criminal if he or she receives, sells, possesses, or transfers any firearm after having been convicted a total of 2 or more times of any combination of the following offenses: (1) a forcible felony as defined in Section 2-8 of this Code;

(2) unlawful use of a weapon by a felon; aggravated unlawful use of a weapon; aggravated discharge of a firearm; vehicular hijacking; aggravated vehicular hijacking; aggravated battery of a child; intimidation; aggravated intimidation; gunrunning; home invasion; or aggravated battery with a firearm; or

(3) any violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act or the Cannabis Control Act that is punishable as a Class 3 felony or higher.

(b) Sentence. Being an armed habitual criminal is a Class X felony. (Source: P.A. 94-398, eff. 8-2-05.)

Sec. 24-1.8. Unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-1.8)

(a) A person commits unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member when he or she knowingly: (1) possesses, carries, or conceals on or about his or her person a firearm and firearm ammunition while on any street, road, alley, gangway, sidewalk, or any other lands, except when inside his or her own abode or inside his or her fixed place of business, and has not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card and is a member of a street gang; or

(2) possesses or carries in any vehicle a firearm and firearm ammunition which are both immediately accessible at the time of the offense while on any street, road, alley, or any other lands, except when inside his or her own abode or garage, and has not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card and is a member of a street gang.

(b) Unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member is a Class 2 felony for which the person, if sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall be sentenced to no less than 3 years and no more than 10 years. A period of probation, a term of periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge shall not be imposed for the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member when the firearm was loaded or contained firearm ammunition and the court shall sentence the offender to not less than the minimum term of imprisonment authorized for the Class 2 felony.

(c) For purposes of this Section: "Street gang" or "gang" has the meaning ascribed to it in Section 10 of the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act.

"Street gang member" or "gang member" has the meaning ascribed to it in Section 10 of the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act. (Source: P.A. 96-829, eff. 12-3-09.)

(Text of Section from P.A. 96-7)
    (720 ILCS 5/24-2)

Sec. 24-2. Exemptions.

(a) Subsections 24-1(a)(3), 24-1(a)(4), 24-1(a)(10), and 24-1(a)(13) and Section 24-1.6 do not apply to or affect any of the following:

(1) Peace officers, and any person summoned by a peace officer to assist in making arrests or preserving the peace, while actually engaged in assisting such officer.

(2) Wardens, superintendents and keepers of prisons, penitentiaries, jails and other institutions for the detention of persons accused or convicted of an offense, while in the performance of their official duty, or while commuting between their homes and places of employment.

(3) Members of the Armed Services or Reserve Forces of the United States or the Illinois National Guard or the Reserve Officers Training Corps, while in the performance of their official duty.

(4) Special agents employed by a railroad or a public utility to perform police functions, and guards of armored car companies, while actually engaged in the performance of the duties of their employment or commuting between their homes and places of employment; and watchmen while actually engaged in the performance of the duties of their employment.

(5) Persons licensed as private security contractors, private detectives, or private alarm contractors, or employed by an agency certified by the Department of Professional Regulation, if their duties include the carrying of a weapon under the provisions of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004, while actually engaged in the performance of the duties of their employment or commuting between their homes and places of employment, provided that such commuting is accomplished within one hour from departure from home or place of employment, as the case may be. Persons exempted under this subdivision (a)(5) shall be required to have completed a course of study in firearms handling and training approved and supervised by the Department of Professional Regulation as prescribed by Section 28 of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004, prior to becoming eligible for this exemption. The Department of Professional Regulation shall provide suitable documentation demonstrating the successful completion of the prescribed firearms training. Such documentation shall be carried at all times when such persons are in possession of a concealable weapon.

(6) Any person regularly employed in a commercial or industrial operation as a security guard for the protection of persons employed and private property related to such commercial or industrial operation, while actually engaged in the performance of his or her duty or traveling between sites or properties belonging to the employer, and who, as a security guard, is a member of a security force of at least 5 persons registered with the Department of Professional Regulation; provided that such security guard has successfully completed a course of study, approved by and supervised by the Department of Professional Regulation, consisting of not less than 40 hours of training that includes the theory of law enforcement, liability for acts, and the handling of weapons. A person shall be considered eligible for this exemption if he or she has completed the required 20 hours of training for a security officer and 20 hours of required firearm training, and has been issued a firearm control card by the Department of Professional Regulation. Conditions for the renewal of firearm control cards issued under the provisions of this Section shall be the same as for those cards issued under the provisions of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004. Such firearm control card shall be carried by the security guard at all times when he or she is in possession of a concealable weapon.

(7) Agents and investigators of the Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission authorized by the Commission to carry the weapons specified in subsections 24-1(a)(3) and 24-1(a)(4), while on duty in the course of any investigation for the Commission.

(8) Persons employed by a financial institution for the protection of other employees and property related to such financial institution, while actually engaged in the performance of their duties, commuting between their homes and places of employment, or traveling between sites or properties owned or operated by such financial institution, provided that any person so employed has successfully completed a course of study, approved by and supervised by the Department of Professional Regulation, consisting of not less than 40 hours of training which includes theory of law enforcement, liability for acts, and the handling of weapons. A person shall be considered to be eligible for this exemption if he or she has completed the required 20 hours of training for a security officer and 20 hours of required firearm training, and has been issued a firearm control card by the Department of Professional Regulation. Conditions for renewal of firearm control cards issued under the provisions of this Section shall be the same as for those issued under the provisions of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004. Such firearm control card shall be carried by the person so trained at all times when such person is in possession of a concealable weapon. For purposes of this subsection, "financial institution" means a bank, savings and loan association, credit union or company providing armored car services.

(9) Any person employed by an armored car company to drive an armored car, while actually engaged in the performance of his duties.

(10) Persons who have been classified as peace officers pursuant to the Peace Officer Fire Investigation Act.

(11) Investigators of the Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor authorized by the board of governors of the Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor to carry weapons pursuant to Section 7.06 of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Act.

(12) Special investigators appointed by a State's Attorney under Section 3-9005 of the Counties Code.

(12.5) Probation officers while in the performance of their duties, or while commuting between their homes, places of employment or specific locations that are part of their assigned duties, with the consent of the chief judge of the circuit for which they are employed.

(13) Court Security Officers while in the performance of their official duties, or while commuting between their homes and places of employment, with the consent of the Sheriff.

(13.5) A person employed as an armed security guard at a nuclear energy, storage, weapons or development site or facility regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who has completed the background screening and training mandated by the rules and regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

(14) Manufacture, transportation, or sale of weapons to persons authorized under subdivisions (1) through (13.5) of this subsection to possess those weapons.

(b) Subsections 24-1(a)(4) and 24-1(a)(10) and Section 24-1.6 do not apply to or affect any of the following:

(1) Members of any club or organization organized for the purpose of practicing shooting at targets upon established target ranges, whether public or private, and patrons of such ranges, while such members or patrons are using their firearms on those target ranges.

(2) Duly authorized military or civil organizations while parading, with the special permission of the Governor.

(3) Hunters, trappers or fishermen with a license or permit while engaged in hunting, trapping or fishing.

(4) Transportation of weapons that are broken down in a non-functioning state or are not immediately accessible.

(c) Subsection 24-1(a)(7) does not apply to or affect any of the following:

(1) Peace officers while in performance of their official duties.

(2) Wardens, superintendents and keepers of prisons, penitentiaries, jails and other institutions for the detention of persons accused or convicted of an offense.

(3) Members of the Armed Services or Reserve Forces of the United States or the Illinois National Guard, while in the performance of their official duty.

(4) Manufacture, transportation, or sale of machine guns to persons authorized under subdivisions (1) through (3) of this subsection to possess machine guns, if the machine guns are broken down in a non-functioning state or are not immediately accessible.

(5) Persons licensed under federal law to manufacture any weapon from which 8 or more shots or bullets can be discharged by a single function of the firing device, or ammunition for such weapons, and actually engaged in the business of manufacturing such weapons or ammunition, but only with respect to activities which are within the lawful scope of such business, such as the manufacture, transportation, or testing of such weapons or ammunition. This exemption does not authorize the general private possession of any weapon from which 8 or more shots or bullets can be discharged by a single function of the firing device, but only such possession and activities as are within the lawful scope of a licensed manufacturing business described in this paragraph.

During transportation, such weapons shall be broken down in a non-functioning state or not immediately accessible.

(6) The manufacture, transport, testing, delivery, transfer or sale, and all lawful commercial or experimental activities necessary thereto, of rifles, shotguns, and weapons made from rifles or shotguns, or ammunition for such rifles, shotguns or weapons, where engaged in by a person operating as a contractor or subcontractor pursuant to a contract or subcontract for the development and supply of such rifles, shotguns, weapons or ammunition to the United States government or any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, when such activities are necessary and incident to fulfilling the terms of such contract.

The exemption granted under this subdivision (c)(6) shall also apply to any authorized agent of any such contractor or subcontractor who is operating within the scope of his employment, where such activities involving such weapon, weapons or ammunition are necessary and incident to fulfilling the terms of such contract.

During transportation, any such weapon shall be broken down in a non-functioning state, or not immediately accessible.

(d) Subsection 24-1(a)(1) does not apply to the purchase, possession or carrying of a black-jack or slung-shot by a peace officer.

(e) Subsection 24-1(a)(8) does not apply to any owner, manager or authorized employee of any place specified in that subsection nor to any law enforcement officer.

(f) Subsection 24-1(a)(4) and subsection 24-1(a)(10) and Section 24-1.6 do not apply to members of any club or organization organized for the purpose of practicing shooting at targets upon established target ranges, whether public or private, while using their firearms on those target ranges.

(g) Subsections 24-1(a)(11) and 24-3.1(a)(6) do not apply to:

(1) Members of the Armed Services or Reserve Forces of the United States or the Illinois National Guard, while in the performance of their official duty.

(2) Bonafide collectors of antique or surplus military ordinance.

(3) Laboratories having a department of forensic ballistics, or specializing in the development of ammunition or explosive ordinance.

(4) Commerce, preparation, assembly or possession of explosive bullets by manufacturers of ammunition licensed by the federal government, in connection with the supply of those organizations and persons exempted by subdivision (g)(1) of this Section, or like organizations and persons outside this State, or the transportation of explosive bullets to any organization or person exempted in this Section by a common carrier or by a vehicle owned or leased by an exempted manufacturer.

(g-5) Subsection 24-1(a)(6) does not apply to or affect persons licensed under federal law to manufacture any device or attachment of any kind designed, used, or intended for use in silencing the report of any firearm, firearms, or ammunition for those firearms equipped with those devices, and actually engaged in the business of manufacturing those devices, firearms, or ammunition, but only with respect to activities that are within the lawful scope of that business, such as the manufacture, transportation, or testing of those devices, firearms, or ammunition. This exemption does not authorize the general private possession of any device or attachment of any kind designed, used, or intended for use in silencing the report of any firearm, but only such possession and activities as are within the lawful scope of a licensed manufacturing business described in this subsection (g-5). During transportation, those devices shall be detached from any weapon or not immediately accessible.

(g-10) Subsections 24-1(a)(4), 24-1(a)(8), and 24-1(a)(10), and Sections 24-1.6 and 24-3.1 do not apply to an athlete's possession, transport on official Olympic and Paralympic transit systems established for athletes, or use of competition firearms sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the International Shooting Sport Federation, or USA Shooting in connection with such athlete's training for and participation in shooting competitions at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and sanctioned test events leading up to the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (h) An information or indictment based upon a violation of any subsection of this Article need not negative any exemptions contained in this Article. The defendant shall have the burden of proving such an exemption.

(i) Nothing in this Article shall prohibit, apply to, or affect the transportation, carrying, or possession, of any pistol or revolver, stun gun, taser, or other firearm consigned to a common carrier operating under license of the State of Illinois or the federal government, where such transportation, carrying, or possession is incident to the lawful transportation in which such common carrier is engaged; and nothing in this Article shall prohibit, apply to, or affect the transportation, carrying, or possession of any pistol, revolver, stun gun, taser, or other firearm, not the subject of and regulated by subsection 24-1(a)(7) or subsection 24-2(c) of this Article, which is unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container, by the possessor of a valid Firearm Owners Identification Card. (Source: P.A. 95-331, eff. 8-21-07; 95-613, eff. 9-11-07; 95-885, eff. 1-1-09; 96-7, eff. 4-3-09.)

(Text of Section from P.A. 96-230)

   Return to Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 Table of Contents

DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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