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Article 24: Miscellaneous Illinois Weapons Crimes

Article 24: Miscellaneous Illinois Weapons Crimes

Other than the weapons crimes described in the previous Article 24 pages, there are also many more miscellaneous weapons crimes for which a defendant may find himself being criminally charged. Several of these violations are summarized here, but for the entire list, consult the text of the Illinois Criminal Code found below.

One example is the charge of unlawful use of a firearm in the shape of a wireless telephone. A person commits this crime if he or she manufactures, buys, sells, or owns a firearm that is designed to appear as a wireless telephone. This crime is a Class 2 felony.

Additionally, Illinois legislators prohibit the use of a stolen firearm during the commission of any illegal act. If a person commits an offense using a gun he or she knows to be stolen, he or she could be found guilty of this crime. A violation is a Class 2 felony.

Lastly, this section of Article 24 forbids anyone from defacing identification marks on firearms. All registered firearms carry serial numbers from the manufacturer, and it is illegal to intentionally alter or erase this number.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been arrested for a weapons crime in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

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. 24-3.1. Unlawful possession of firearms and firearm ammunition.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3.1)

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of firearms or firearm ammunition when:

(1) He is under 18 years of age and has in his possession any firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person; or

(2) He is under 21 years of age, has been convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or adjudged delinquent and has any firearms or firearm ammunition in his possession; or

(3) He is a narcotic addict and has any firearms or firearm ammunition in his possession; or

(4) He has been a patient in a mental hospital within the past 5 years and has any firearms or firearm ammunition in his possession; or

(5) He is mentally retarded and has any firearms or firearm ammunition in his possession; or

(6) He has in his possession any explosive bullet.

For purposes of this paragraph "explosive bullet" means the projectile portion of an ammunition cartridge which contains or carries an explosive charge which will explode upon contact with the flesh of a human or an animal. "Cartridge" means a tubular metal case having a projectile affixed at the front thereof and a cap or primer at the rear end thereof, with the propellant contained in such tube between the projectile and the cap.

(b) Sentence.

Unlawful possession of firearms, other than handguns, and firearm ammunition is a Class A misdemeanor. Unlawful possession of handguns is a Class 4 felony. The possession of each firearm or firearm ammunition in violation of this Section constitutes a single and separate violation.

(c) Nothing in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Section prohibits a person under 18 years of age from participating in any lawful recreational activity with a firearm such as, but not limited to, practice shooting at targets upon established public or private target ranges or hunting, trapping, or fishing in accordance with the Wildlife Code or the Fish and Aquatic Life Code. (Source: P.A. 94-284, eff. 7-21-05; 95-331, eff. 8-21-07.)

Sec. 24-3.2. Unlawful discharge of firearm projectiles.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3.2)

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful discharge of firearm projectiles when he or she knowingly or recklessly uses an armor piercing bullet, dragon's breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell in violation of this Section.

For purposes of this Section:

"Armor piercing bullet" means any handgun bullet or handgun ammunition with projectiles or projectile cores constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium, or fully jacketed bullets larger than 22 caliber whose jacket has a weight of more than 25% of the total weight of the projectile, and excluding those handgun projectiles whose cores are composed of soft materials such as lead or lead alloys, zinc or zinc alloys, frangible projectiles designed primarily for sporting purposes, and any other projectiles or projectile cores that the U. S. Secretary of the Treasury finds to be primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes or industrial purposes or that otherwise does not constitute "armor piercing ammunition" as that term is defined by federal law.

"Dragon's breath shotgun shell" means any shotgun shell that contains exothermic pyrophoric mesh metal as the projectile and is designed for the purpose of throwing or spewing a flame or fireball to simulate a flame-thrower.

"Bolo shell" means any shell that can be fired in a firearm and expels as projectiles 2 or more metal balls connected by solid metal wire.

"Flechette shell" means any shell that can be fired in a firearm and expels 2 or more pieces of fin-stabilized solid metal wire or 2 or more solid dart-type projectiles.

(b) A person commits a Class X felony when he or she, knowing that a firearm, as defined in Section 1.1 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, is loaded with an armor piercing bullet, dragon's breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell, intentionally or recklessly discharges such firearm and such bullet or shell strikes any other person.

(c) Any person who possesses, concealed on or about his or her person, an armor piercing bullet, dragon's breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell and a firearm suitable for the discharge thereof is guilty of a Class 2 felony.

(d) This Section does not apply to or affect any of the following:

(1) Peace officers;

(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 duties;

(4) Federal officials required to carry firearms, while engaged in the performance of their official duties;

(5) United States Marshals, while engaged in the performance of their official duties. (Source: P.A. 92-423, eff. 1-1-02.)

Sec. 24-3.6. Unlawful use of a firearm in the shape of a wireless telephone.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3.6)

(a) For the purposes of this Section, "wireless telephone" means a device that is capable of transmitting or receiving telephonic communications without a wire connecting the device to the telephone network.

(b) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of a firearm in the shape of a wireless telephone when he or she manufactures, sells, transfers, purchases, possesses, or carries a firearm shaped or designed to appear as a wireless telephone.

(c) This Section does not apply to or affect the sale to or possession of a firearm in the shape of a wireless telephone by a peace officer.

(d) Sentence. Unlawful use of a firearm in the shape of a wireless telephone is a Class 4 felony. (Source: P.A. 92-155, eff. 1-1-02.)

Sec. 24-3.7. Use of a stolen firearm in the commission of an offense.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3.7)

(a) A person commits the offense of use of a stolen firearm in the commission of an offense when he or she knowingly uses a stolen firearm in the commission of any offense and the person knows that the firearm was stolen. (b) Sentence. Use of a stolen firearm in the commission of an offense is a Class 2 felony. (Source: P.A. 96-190, eff. 1-1-10.)

Sec. 24-4. Register of sales by dealer.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-4)

(a) Any seller of firearms of a size which may be concealed upon the person, other than a manufacturer selling to a bona fide wholesaler or retailer or a wholesaler selling to a bona fide retailer, shall keep a register of all firearms sold or given away.

(b) Such register shall contain the date of the sale or gift, the name, address, age and occupation of the person to whom the weapon is sold or given, the price of the weapon, the kind, description and number of the weapon, and the purpose for which it is purchased and obtained.

(c) Such seller on demand of a peace officer shall produce for inspection the register and allow such peace officer to inspect such register and all stock on hand.

(d) Sentence.

Violation of this Section is a Class B misdemeanor. (Source: P. A. 77-2638.)

Sec. 24-5. Defacing identification marks of firearms.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-5)

(a) Any person who shall knowingly or intentionally change, alter, remove or obliterate the name of the importer's or manufacturer's serial number of any firearm commits a Class 2 felony.

(b) A person who possesses any firearm upon which any such importer's or manufacturer's serial number has been changed, altered, removed or obliterated commits a Class 3 felony.

(c) Nothing in this Section shall prevent a person from making repairs, replacement of parts, or other changes to a firearm if those repairs, replacement of parts, or changes cause the removal of the name of the maker, model, or other marks of identification other than the serial number on the firearm's frame or receiver. (d) A prosecution for a violation of this Section may be commenced within 6 years after the commission of the offense. (Source: P.A. 93-906, eff. 8-11-04.)

Sec. 24-6. Confiscation and disposition of weapons.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-6)

(a) Upon conviction of an offense in which a weapon was used or possessed by the offender, any weapon seized shall be confiscated by the trial court.

(b) Any stolen weapon so confiscated, when no longer needed for evidentiary purposes, shall be returned to the person entitled to possession, if known. After the disposition of a criminal case or in any criminal case where a final judgment in the case was not entered due to the death of the defendant, and when a confiscated weapon is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes, and when in due course no legitimate claim has been made for the weapon, the court may transfer the weapon to the sheriff of the county who may proceed to destroy it, or may in its discretion order the weapon preserved as property of the governmental body whose police agency seized the weapon, or may in its discretion order the weapon to be transferred to the Department of State Police for use by the crime laboratory system, for training purposes, or for any other application as deemed appropriate by the Department. If, after the disposition of a criminal case, a need still exists for the use of the confiscated weapon for evidentiary purposes, the court may transfer the weapon to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for preservation. The court may not order the transfer of the weapon to any private individual or private organization other than to return a stolen weapon to its rightful owner.

The provisions of this Section shall not apply to violations of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code or the Wildlife Code. Confiscation of weapons for Fish and Aquatic Life Code and Wildlife Code violations shall be only as provided in those Codes.

(c) Any mental hospital that admits a person as an inpatient pursuant to any of the provisions of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code shall confiscate any firearms in the possession of that person at the time of admission, or at any time the firearms are discovered in the person's possession during the course of hospitalization. The hospital shall, as soon as possible following confiscation, transfer custody of the firearms to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The hospital shall give written notice to the person from whom the firearm was confiscated of the identity and address of the law enforcement agency to which it has given the firearm.

The law enforcement agency shall maintain possession of any firearm it obtains pursuant to this subsection for a minimum of 90 days. Thereafter, the firearm may be disposed of pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Section. (Source: P.A. 91-696, eff. 4-13-00.)

Sec. 24-7. Weapons offenses; community service.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-7)

In addition to any other sentence that may be imposed, a court shall order any person convicted of a violation of this Article to perform community service for not less than 30 and not more than 120 hours, if community service is available in the jurisdiction and is funded and approved by the county board of the county where the offense was committed. In addition, whenever any person is placed on supervision for an alleged offense under this Article, the supervision shall be conditioned upon the performance of the community service.

This Section does not apply when the court imposes a sentence of incarceration. (Source: P.A. 88-558, eff. 1-1-95; 89-8, eff. 3-21-95.)

Sec. 24-8. Firearm tracing.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-8)

(a) Upon recovering a firearm from the possession of anyone who is not permitted by federal or State law to possess a firearm, a local law enforcement agency shall use the best available information, including a firearms trace when necessary, to determine how and from whom the person gained possession of the firearm. Upon recovering a firearm that was used in the commission of any offense classified as a felony or upon recovering a firearm that appears to have been lost, mislaid, stolen, or otherwise unclaimed, a local law enforcement agency shall use the best available information, including a firearms trace when necessary, to determine prior ownership of the firearm.

(b) Local law enforcement shall, when appropriate, use the National Tracing Center of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in complying with subsection (a) of this Section.

(c) Local law enforcement agencies shall use the Illinois Department of State Police Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS) Gun File to enter all stolen, seized, or recovered firearms as prescribed by LEADS regulations and policies. (Source: P.A. 91-364, eff. 1-1-00; 92-300, eff. 1-1-02.)

Sec. 24-9. Firearms; Child Protection.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-9)

(a) Except as provided in subsection (c), it is unlawful for any person to store or leave, within premises under his or her control, a firearm if the person knows or has reason to believe that a minor under the age of 14 years who does not have a Firearm Owners Identification Card is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor's parent, guardian, or person having charge of the minor, and the minor causes death or great bodily harm with the firearm, unless the firearm is:

(1) secured by a device or mechanism, other than the firearm safety, designed to render a firearm temporarily inoperable; or

(2) placed in a securely locked box or container; or

(3) placed in some other location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure from a minor under the age of 14 years.

(b) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $1,000. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) Subsection (a) does not apply:

(1) if the minor under 14 years of age gains access to a firearm and uses it in a lawful act of self-defense or defense of another; or

(2) to any firearm obtained by a minor under the age of 14 because of an unlawful entry of the premises by the minor or another person.

(d) For the purposes of this Section, "firearm" has the meaning ascribed to it in Section 1.1 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. (Source: P.A. 91-18, eff. 1-1-00.)

Sec. 24-9.5. Handgun safety devices.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-9.5)

(a) It is unlawful for a person licensed as a federal firearms dealer under Section 923 of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. 923) to offer for sale, sell, or transfer a handgun to a person not licensed under that Act, unless he or she sells or includes with the handgun a device or mechanism, other than the firearm safety, designed to render the handgun temporarily inoperable or inaccessible. This includes but is not limited to: (1) An external device that is: (i) attached to the handgun with a key or combination lock; and

(ii) designed to prevent the handgun from being discharged unless the device has been deactivated.

(2) An integrated mechanical safety, disabling, or locking device that is:

(i) built into the handgun; and (ii) designed to prevent the handgun from being discharged unless the device has been deactivated.

(b) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $1,000. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) For the purposes of this Section, "handgun" has the meaning ascribed to it in clause (h)(2) of subsection (A) of Section 24-3 of this Code.

(d) This Section does not apply to: (1) the purchase, sale, or transportation of a handgun to or by a federally licensed firearms dealer or manufacturer that provides or services a handgun for:

(i) personnel of any unit of the federal government;

(ii) members of the armed forces of the United

States or the National Guard;

(iii) law enforcement personnel of the State or any local law enforcement agency in the State while acting within the scope of their official duties; and

(iv) an organization that is required by federal law governing its specific business or activity to maintain handguns and applicable ammunition;

(2) a firearm modified to be permanently inoperative; (3) the sale or transfer of a handgun by a federally licensed firearms dealer or manufacturer described in item (1) of this subsection (d);

(4) the sale or transfer of a handgun by a federally licensed firearms dealer or manufacturer to a lawful customer outside the State; or

(5) an antique firearm. (Source: P.A. 94-390, eff. 1-1-06.)

Sec. 24-10. Municipal ordinance regulating firearms; affirmative defense to a violation.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-10)

It is an affirmative defense to a violation of a municipal ordinance that prohibits, regulates, or restricts the private ownership of firearms if the individual who is charged with the violation used the firearm in an act of self-defense or defense of another as defined in Sections 7-1 and 7-2 of this Code when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business. (Source: P.A. 93-1048, eff. 11-16-04.)

   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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