May 15

Unlawful use of weapons is a wide-ranging offense under the Illinois Criminal Code. From a general standpoint, this offense deals with the possession, use, manufacture, and purchase of various dangerous weapons, including firearms. Any person who commits unlawful use of weapons will face severe criminal consequences in the form of confinement and fines. 

What is the Illinois Definition of Unlawful Use of Weapons?

The Illinois definition of unlawful use of weapons appears under 720 ILCS 5/24-1. People commit unlawful use of weapons if they:

  • Carry, possess, purchase, manufacture, or sell various illegal weapons, such as black-jacks, brass knuckles, and switchblades;
  • Carry with the intent to use a dangerous weapon, such as a knife, broken glass, or similarly deadly device;
  • Carry with the intent to use a firearm in a place of religious worship;
  • Carry on their person or in a vehicle a noxious, non-lethal substance, generally in liquid or gas form;
  • Carry in a vehicle or in a concealed fashion any firearm, unless doing so occurs in accordance with state law or on a person’s private property;
  • Set a deadly trap, such as a spring gun;
  • Possess a silencer or similar attachment designed to muffle the sound of a firearm;
  • Carry, possess, purchase, manufacture, or sell illegal firearms or explosives, such as a machine gun, short-barreled rifle, or incendiary device;
  • Carry or possess any firearm, stun gun, taser, or other deadly weapons at a public gathering, bar, or similar location;
  • Carry or possess any firearm or similar weapon while hooded, masked, or otherwise concealing their identity;
  • Carry or possess any firearm in public, unless doing so occurs in accordance with state law;
  • Sell, manufacture, or purchase any explosive ammunition; or
  • Carry or possess a dangerous weapon in a government building, unless specifically authorized to do so. 

How Does Illinois Punish Unlawful Use of Weapons?

Section 24-1 also establishes the sliding scale of punishments for criminal offenses involving unlawful use of weapons. At a minimum, any person who commits this offense is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

For more serious violations, however, the offender can face felony charges. For example, it is a Class 4 felony to possess a firearm at a public event or with a concealed identity.

The criminal charges become even more serious when any person who carries a firearm at a place of worship with the intent to use it. In those cases, the offender will face Class 2 felony charges.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at or by completing an online form.