Unlawful Use of a Weapon

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The unlawful use of a weapon (UUW) laws in Illinois are found at 720 ILCS 5/24-1. The UUW laws in Illinois prohibit 12 different types of conduct. All 12 of the prohibited actions under the unlawful use of a weapon statue forbid knowing violations of the UUW laws. Therefore, a defense to all unlawful use of a weapon charges in Illinois is that the actions of the defendant were unknowingly made.

The Illinois unlawful use of a weapon statute prohibits the following behavior:

  • Knowingly selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying a bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles, throwing star, switchblades, or a ballistic knife.
  • Knowingly carrying or possessing a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character with the intent to unlawfully use against another.
  • Knowingly carrying on their person or vehicle a tear gas gun projector or bomb or any other object containing a “noxious liquid” other than a non-lethal noxious gas carried for personal protection by someone over the age of 18.
  • Knowingly carrying, concealing or possessing a pistol, revolver, stun gun, taser, or any other firearm except when on his or her own land, abode, dwelling, or fixed place of business. This section does not apply to weapons that are being correctly transported by a valid FOID card holder or by a person with a valid concealed and carry license.
  • Knowingly setting a spring gun.
  • Knowingly possessing a silencer.
  • Knowingly selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing or carrying a machine gun or automatic weapon, having a rifle or shotgun with a barrel below minimum length requirements, or grenade, bomb, or a Molotov cocktail or any similar objects.
  • Knowingly carrying or possessing any firearm, stun gun, or taser at an establishment licensed to sell alcohol, at a public gathering organized by the government, or a public gathering where admission is charged.
  • Knowingly carrying or possessing a firearm while dressed in a manner that conceals the person’s identity.
  • Knowingly carrying or possessing a firearm while in the public unless the weapon is being lawfully transported by a valid FOID card holder or by a person with a valid concealed and carry license.
  • Knowingly selling, manufacturing, or purchasing an explosive bullet.
  • Knowingly carrying or possessing while in a government building a billy club or similar weapon.

The potential sentences available following a conviction for an unlawful use of a weapon violation vary from a Class A misdemeanor all the way up to a non-probationable Class X offense. The sentence for an unlawful use of a weapon conviction vary depending on the offender’s criminal background, which of the 12 UUW laws was violated, and the location where the UUW violation occurred.

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