You may not think twice about giving or lending something you own to another person for most goods. While you may have hesitation with more expensive items, you may not consider whether you could get in trouble for giving something to someone else.
When it comes to firearms, the rules can be significantly different. Although it is legal to buy, sell and gift weapons between private citizens, it is essential to understand the potential liability if the other person commits a crime.
Before you give a gun to a friend, this is what you should consider.
Who can and cannot possess a firearm?
Chicago is often touted as having some of the strictest gun laws in the country. While that was the case from the 1980s until about 2010, two of the laws that made owning a weapon in Chicago difficult were taken off the books.
In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down the law that banned firearms that were not already registered in 1982. Then, in 2012, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago struck down the ban on conceal and carry permits.
To possess a gun in Illinois, residents must have a firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card. Residents must also have a FOID to purchase ammunition, tasers or stun guns. Getting a FOID includes a long list of qualifications, including:
- No felony conviction
- No recent history (within the last five years) of being a patient of a mental health facility
- Be 21 years of age (or have a parent or sponsor with an eligible FOID)
- No narcotics addiction
The list includes many qualifications that could exclude an Illinois resident from legally possessing a firearm.
When could giving someone a gun get me in trouble?
Earlier this year, an Illinois resident was indicted on a federal firearm charge for giving a firearm to a convicted felon last year. Although the recipient’s only alleged crime is possession of the gun, Benita Gross, who supplied the weapon, could also face felony charges.
Giving someone a firearm can be risky, especially if they do not disclose factors that could make them ineligible. Keep in mind that you could face serious charges if you give or sell a weapon to someone who is not authorized to have one.