Menu

Article 24: Unlawful Sale and Purchase of Firearms

Article 24: Unlawful Sale and Purchase of Firearms

In Illinois, it is illegal in many circumstances to buy, sell, or transfer guns or firearm paraphernalia. There are many situations in which a defendant can be charged with this crime under Article 24 of the Illinois Criminal Code. For instance, it is unlawful to sell firearms to anyone under the age of 18, anyone who has been convicted of a felony, or anyone who has been a patient in a mental hospital within the last five years. These crimes range from a Class 4 felony to a Class 2 felony.

This portion of Illinois law also forbids the practice of gunrunning, which is defined as when a person unlawfully sells three or more firearms. If convicted, a defendant is guilty of a Class 1 felony, unless the gun count is greater than eleven, in which case a violation is a Class X felony and carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of eight years.

Next, Article 24 mandates specific penalties for unlawful sale of firearms on the premises of a school. Regardless of the time of day or time of year, if a person commits an illegal sale of a firearm on school property, he or she can be found automatically guilty of a Class 3 felony.

Lastly, legislators describe several situations in which the purchaser of a gun can be criminally prosecuted. If a person buys a firearm with the intent to give it to a felon or any other person prohibited from owning a gun, he or she has committed unlawful purchase of a firearm. This crime is classified as a Class 2, Class 1, or even Class X felony, depending on the severity.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been charged with unlawful sale or purchase of a firearm 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. 24-2.2. Manufacture, sale or transfer of bullets or shells represented to be armor piercing bullets, dragon's breath shotgun shells, bolo shells, or flechette shells.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-2.2)

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Section, it is unlawful for any person to knowingly manufacture, sell, offer to sell, or transfer any bullet or shell which is represented to be an armor piercing bullet, a dragon's breath shotgun shell, a bolo shell, or a flechette shell as defined in Section 24-2.1 of this Code.

(b) Exemptions. This Section does not apply to or affect any person authorized under Section 24-2.1 to manufacture, sell, purchase, possess, or carry any armor piercing bullet or any dragon's breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell with respect to activities which are within the lawful scope of the exemption therein granted.

(c) An information or indictment based upon a violation of this Section need not negate any exemption herein contained. The defendant shall have the burden of proving such an exemption and that the activities forming the basis of any criminal charge brought pursuant to this Section were within the lawful scope of such exemption.

(d) Sentence. A violation of this Section is a Class 4 felony. (Source: P.A. 92-423, eff. 1-1-02.)

Sec. 24-3. Unlawful Sale of Firearms.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3)

(A) A person commits the offense of unlawful sale of firearms when he or she knowingly does any of the following:

(a) Sells or gives any firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person to any person under 18 years of age.

(b) Sells or gives any firearm to a person under 21 years of age who has been convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or adjudged delinquent.

(c) Sells or gives any firearm to any narcotic addict.

(d) Sells or gives any firearm to any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this or any other jurisdiction.

(e) Sells or gives any firearm to any person who has been a patient in a mental hospital within the past 5 years.

(f) Sells or gives any firearms to any person who is mentally retarded.

(g) Delivers any firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person, incidental to a sale, without withholding delivery of such firearm for at least 72 hours after application for its purchase has been made, or delivers any rifle, shotgun or other long gun, or a stun gun or taser, incidental to a sale, without withholding delivery of such rifle, shotgun or other long gun, or a stun gun or taser for at least 24 hours after application for its purchase has been made. However, this paragraph (g) does not apply to: (1) the sale of a firearm to a law enforcement officer if the seller of the firearm knows that the person to whom he or she is selling the firearm is a law enforcement officer or the sale of a firearm to a person who desires to purchase a firearm for use in promoting the public interest incident to his or her employment as a bank guard, armed truck guard, or other similar employment; (2) a mail order sale of a firearm to a nonresident of Illinois under which the firearm is mailed to a point outside the boundaries of Illinois; (3) the sale of a firearm to a nonresident of Illinois while at a firearm showing or display recognized by the Illinois Department of State Police; or (4) the sale of a firearm to a dealer licensed as a federal firearms dealer under Section 923 of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. 923). For purposes of this paragraph (g), "application" means when the buyer and seller reach an agreement to purchase a firearm.

(h) While holding any license as a dealer, importer, manufacturer or pawnbroker under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, manufactures, sells or delivers to any unlicensed person a handgun having a barrel, slide, frame or receiver which is a die casting of zinc alloy or any other nonhomogeneous metal which will melt or deform at a temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit. For purposes of this paragraph, (1) "firearm" is defined as in the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act; and (2) "handgun" is defined as a firearm designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand, and includes a combination of parts from which such a firearm can be assembled.

(i) Sells or gives a firearm of any size to any person under 18 years of age who does not possess a valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card.

(j) Sells or gives a firearm while engaged in the business of selling firearms at wholesale or retail without being licensed as a federal firearms dealer under Section 923 of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. 923). In this paragraph (j):

A person "engaged in the business" means a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in the activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but does not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms.

"With the principal objective of livelihood and profit" means that the intent underlying the sale or disposition of firearms is predominantly one of obtaining livelihood and pecuniary gain, as opposed to other intents, such as improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection; however, proof of profit shall not be required as to a person who engages in the regular and repetitive purchase and disposition of firearms for criminal purposes or terrorism.

(k) Sells or transfers ownership of a firearm to a person who does not display to the seller or transferor of the firearm a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card that has previously been issued in the transferee's name by the Department of State Police under the provisions of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. This paragraph (k) does not apply to the transfer of a firearm to a person who is exempt from the requirement of possessing a Firearm Owner's Identification Card under Section 2 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. For the purposes of this Section, a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card means (i) a Firearm Owner's Identification Card that has not expired or (ii) if the transferor is licensed as a federal firearms dealer under Section 923 of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. 923), an approval number issued in accordance with Section 3.1 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act shall be proof that the Firearm Owner's Identification Card was valid.

(B) Paragraph (h) of subsection (A) does not include firearms sold within 6 months after enactment of Public Act 78-355 (approved August 21, 1973, effective October 1, 1973), nor is any firearm legally owned or possessed by any citizen or purchased by any citizen within 6 months after the enactment of Public Act 78-355 subject to confiscation or seizure under the provisions of that Public Act. Nothing in Public Act 78-355 shall be construed to prohibit the gift or trade of any firearm if that firearm was legally held or acquired within 6 months after the enactment of that Public Act.

(C) Sentence.

(1) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (c), (e), (f), (g), or (h) of subsection (A) commits a Class 4 felony.

(2) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (b) or (i) of subsection (A) commits a Class 3 felony.

(3) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (a) of subsection (A) commits a Class 2 felony.

(4) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (a), (b), or (i) of subsection (A) in any school, on the real property comprising a school, within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a school, at a school related activity, or on or within 1,000 feet of any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a school or school district to transport students to or from school or a school related activity, regardless of the time of day or time of year at which the offense was committed, commits a Class 1 felony. Any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (a), (b), or (i) of subsection (A) in any school, on the real property comprising a school, within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a school, at a school related activity, or on or within 1,000 feet of any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a school or school district to transport students to or from school or a school related activity, regardless of the time of day or time of year at which the offense was committed, commits a Class 1 felony for which the sentence shall be a term of imprisonment of no less than 5 years and no more than 15 years.

(5) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (a) or (i) of subsection (A) in residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development, in a public park, in a courthouse, on residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development, on the real property comprising any public park, on the real property comprising any courthouse, or on any public way within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any public park, courthouse, or residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development commits a Class 2 felony.

(6) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (j) of subsection (A) commits a Class A misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony.

(7) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (k) of subsection (A) commits a Class 4 felony. A third or subsequent conviction for a violation of paragraph (k) of subsection (A) is a Class 1 felony.

(8) A person 18 years of age or older convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (a) or (i) of subsection (A), when the firearm that was sold or given to another person under 18 years of age was used in the commission of or attempt to commit a forcible felony, shall be fined or imprisoned, or both, not to exceed the maximum provided for the most serious forcible felony so committed or attempted by the person under 18 years of age who was sold or given the firearm.

(9) Any person convicted of unlawful sale of firearms in violation of paragraph (d) of subsection (A) commits a Class 3 felony.

(D) For purposes of this Section:

"School" means a public or private elementary or secondary school, community college, college, or university.

"School related activity" means any sporting, social, academic, or other activity for which students' attendance or participation is sponsored, organized, or funded in whole or in part by a school or school district.

(E) A prosecution for a violation of paragraph (k) of subsection (A) of this Section may be commenced within 6 years after the commission of the offense. A prosecution for a violation of this Section other than paragraph (g) of subsection (A) of this Section may be commenced within 5 years after the commission of the offense defined in the particular paragraph. (Source: P.A. 95-331, eff. 8-21-07; 95-735, eff. 7-16-08; 96-190, eff. 1-1-10.)

(720 ILCS 5/24-3A)

Sec. 24-3A. Gunrunning.

(a) A person commits gunrunning when he or she transfers 3 or more firearms in violation of any of the paragraphs of Section 24-3 of this Code.

(b) Sentence. A person who commits gunrunning: (1) is guilty of a Class 1 felony; (2) is guilty of a Class X felony for which the sentence shall be a term of imprisonment of not less than 8 years and not more than 40 years if the transfer is of not less than 11 firearms and not more than 20 firearms;

(3) is guilty of a Class X felony for which the sentence shall be a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years and not more than 50 years if the transfer is of more than 20 firearms. A person who commits gunrunning by transferring firearms to a person who, at the time of the commission of the offense, is under 18 years of age is guilty of a Class X felony. (Source: P.A. 93-906, eff. 8-11-04.)

Sec. 24-3.3. Unlawful Sale or Delivery of Firearms on the Premises of Any School, regardless of the time of day or the time of year, or any conveyance owned, leased or contracted by a school to transport students to or from school or a school related activity, or residential property owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3.3)

Any person 18 years of age or older who sells, gives or delivers any firearm to any person under 18 years of age in any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year or residential property owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development, on the real property comprising any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year or residential property owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development commits a Class 3 felony. School is defined, for the purposes of this Section, as any public or private elementary or secondary school, community college, college or university. This does not apply to peace officers or to students carrying or possessing firearms for use in school training courses, parades, target shooting on school ranges, or otherwise with the consent of school authorities and which firearms are transported unloaded and enclosed in a suitable case, box or transportation package. (Source: P.A. 91-673, eff. 12-22-99.)

Sec. 24-3.4. Unlawful sale of firearms by liquor licensee.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3.4)

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person who holds a license to sell at retail any alcoholic liquor issued by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission or local liquor control commissioner under the Liquor Control Act of 1934 or an agent or employee of the licensee to sell or deliver to any other person a firearm in or on the real property of the establishment where the licensee is licensed to sell alcoholic liquors unless the sale or delivery of the firearm is otherwise lawful under this Article and under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act.

(b) Sentence. A violation of subsection (a) of this Section is a Class 4 felony. (Source: P.A. 87-591.)

Sec. 24-3.5. Unlawful purchase of a firearm.
    (720 ILCS 5/24-3.5)

(a) For purposes of this Section, "firearms transaction record form" means a form:

(1) executed by a transferee of a firearm stating:

(i) the transferee's name and address (including county or similar political subdivision); (ii) whether the transferee is a citizen of the United States; (iii) the transferee's State of residence; and (iv) the date and place of birth, height, weight, and race of the transferee; and

(2) on which the transferee certifies that he or she is not prohibited by federal law from transporting or shipping a firearm in interstate or foreign commerce or receiving a firearm that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce or possessing a firearm in or affecting commerce.

(b) A person commits the offense of unlawful purchase of a firearm who knowingly purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm with the intent to deliver that firearm to another person who is prohibited by federal or State law from possessing a firearm.

(c) A person commits the offense of unlawful purchase of a firearm when he or she, in purchasing or attempting to purchase a firearm, intentionally provides false or misleading information on a United States Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms firearms transaction record form.

(d) Exemption. It is not a violation of subsection (b) of this Section for a person to make a gift or loan of a firearm to a person who is not prohibited by federal or State law from possessing a firearm if the transfer of the firearm is made in accordance with Section 3 of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act.

(e) Sentence.

(1) A person who commits the offense of unlawful purchase of a firearm:

(A) is guilty of a Class 2 felony for purchasing or attempting to purchase one firearm;

(B) is guilty of a Class 1 felony for purchasing or attempting to purchase not less than 2 firearms and not more than 5 firearms at the same time or within a one year period;

(C) is guilty of a Class X felony for which the offender shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 9 years and not more than 40 years for purchasing or attempting to purchase not less than 6 firearms at the same time or within a 2 year period.

(2) In addition to any other penalty that may be imposed for a violation of this Section, the court may sentence a person convicted of a violation of subsection (c) of this Section to a fine not to exceed $250,000 for each violation.

(f) A prosecution for unlawful purchase of a firearm may be commenced within 6 years after the commission of the offense. (Source: P.A. 95-882, eff. 1-1-09.)

   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.

Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer - (312) 466-9466 

Chicago Office

900 W. Jackson Blvd.

Suite 5W

Chicago, IL 60607

Map & Contact Info