When is a straw weapons purchase a felony?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2021 | Felonies |

Purchasing weapons for people who are not authorized to own them can have dangerous consequences. Currently, a Chicago woman faces charges related to purchasing guns for people not permitted to have them, and prosecutions are happening at the federal level all over the country.

The idea behind prohibiting specific individuals from owning firearms is that it limits their ability to commit dangerous crimes. Before owning a gun in Chicago and throughout Illinois, residents must go through a background check before receiving a permit to purchase firearms. Also, anyone who purchases a gun in the United States must pass an ATF background check.

Here’s what you should know about what happens to people who buy guns and give them to unlicensed persons.

Can private individuals sell guns in Illinois?

In Illinois, there are several steps to purchasing a firearm. While it is possible for private individuals to buy and sell guns to each other, they still must fill out the required forms, follow the required steps (including getting a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID)) and adhering to the waiting period (24 hours for long guns, 72 hours for pistols).

Even though recreational marijuana use is legal in Illinois, having used it within a year of purchasing a firearm makes you ineligible to purchase, as marijuana is still a controlled substance and illegal under federal law.

When is it a problem?

Purchasing firearms to give or sell to unauthorized persons is a felony both in Illinois and on the federal level. Depending on the number of weapons and the circumstances surrounding the purchase/sale, the level of the felony (and the corresponding sentence, if convicted) could increase.

It is also important to know who a “prohibited person” is under federal law; it isn’t just convicted felons. For example, even if someone has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, they are ineligible to possess a firearm. In addition, a person under indictment for a felony (in state or federal court) is ineligible to possess a firearm under federal law even before they have been convicted.

The beginning of the illegal act

There are various ways a  “straw purchaser” of firearms can commit a crime. It is not just “straw purchasers” who have to worry; giving inaccurate or misleading information when you complete the background check and ATF paperwork for the purchase is also a crime.

During the purchase process, one of the documents will ask if you are purchasing the weapon for your own use. When you give misleading information, it is the first step of making the straw purchase.

If you give or sell the firearm to a person who commits a crime, the ATF can trace the purchase back to you. Prosecutors will likely be unsympathetic, and you will face substantial felony charges.

If you are planning to buy or sell a firearm, you should also know that recently, the ATF has been cracking down on straw purchases.

Need help?

When you face felony charges, it is vital to talk to an experienced criminal law attorney who has years of experience. Darryl Goldberg regularly defends clients in state and federal courts in firearm offenses. Contact his Chicago office at 773-793-3196 or online to schedule a consultation.


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