Illinois Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon

The Law – 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6

A person commits Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon when he or she knowingly:

  1. Carries on or about his or her person or in any vehicle or concealed on or about his or her person except when on his or her land or in his or her abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business, or on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an invitee with that person's permission, any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm; or

  2. Carries or possesses on or about his or her person, upon any public street, alley, or other public lands within the corporate limits of a city, village or incorporated town, except when an invitee thereon or therein, for the purpose of the display of such weapon or the lawful commerce in weapons, or except when on his or her own land or in his or her own abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business, or on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an invitee with that person's permission, any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or other firearm;

    AND

  3. One of the following factors is present:

    1. The firearm, other than a pistol, revolver, or handgun, possessed was uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible at the time of the offense; or

    2. The firearm, other than a pistol, revolver, or handgun, possessed was uncased, unloaded, and the ammunition for the weapon was immediately accessible at the time of the offense; or

    3. The person possessing the firearm has not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card; or

    4. The person possessing the weapon was previously adjudicated a delinquent minor under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 for an act that if committed by an adult would be a felony; or

    5. The person possessing the weapon was engaged in a misdemeanor violation of the Cannabis Control Act, in a misdemeanor violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or in a misdemeanor violation of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act; or

    6. (blank); or

    7. The person possessing the weapon had an order of protection issued against him or her within the previous 2 years; or

    8. The person possessing the weapon was engaged in the commission or attempted commission of a misdemeanor involving the use or threat of violence against the person or property of another; or

    9. The person possessing the weapon was under 21 years of age and in possession of a handgun, unless the person under 21 is engaged in lawful activities under the Illinois Wildlife Code.

* 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A) was ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of People v. Aguilar in 2013.

In Illinois, the unlawful use of a weapon becomes aggravated, and thus punishable by longer jail terms, when certain circumstances exist. Among these circumstances are when an individual carries on or about his person when they are not on their own land or place of business a weapon when they do not have a valid FOID card or if they are convicted felons.

Previously, one of the most commonly charged Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon crime involved carrying a weapon while not on one’s land or in one’s place of business that is uncased, loaded and immediately accessible. However, due to recent changes in the perception of gun rights, which involved multiple United States Supreme Court Cases, Illinois, in People v. Aguilar, struck down the aforementioned charge, holding that it violated a citizen’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. An article discussing this case is found elsewhere on this website.

As a result, prosecutors are no longer enforcing the unconstitutional charge and many people who have previously been convicted of that offense are seeking to have the judgment vacated. Nonetheless, all other offenses listed in the Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon law are still valid and enforceable. For instance, an individual who is found to be in possession of a firearm without a valid FOID card can still be charged and convicted of the offense.

The Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon law does not apply to the transportation or possession of weapons that are broken down to a non-functioning state, or are not immediately accessible or are unloaded an enclosed in a case possessed by a person with a valid FOID card.

The Sentence

First Offense

  • Class 4 Felony
  • 1 to 3 years in state prison
  • Fine up to $25,000

Second or Subsequent Offenses

  • Class 2 Felony
  • 3 to 7 years in state prison
  • Fine up to $25,000

When committed while wearing or in possession of body armor

  • Class X Felony
  • 6 to 30 years in state prison
  • Fine up to $25,000

Probation Possible? Yes, on Class 4 and Class 2 Felonies.

Supervision Possible? No.

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James A. Payonk, Jr.

~ Attorney at Law ~

10705 W 159th St.
Orland Park, Illinois 60467

(708) 633-6005