Contrary to their depiction in films and TV shows, guns are deafening and draw much attention when fired. Even a handgun produces a loud report that can be heard from far away. However, gun parts such as silencers can reduce a gunshot’s sound intensity, if not eliminate the boom.
While silencers may be useful for law enforcement and the military, it’s less so for civilian gun owners. They’re also illegal in Illinois; anyone caught possessing one can face criminal charges.
Possessing a silencer is an unlawful weapon use offense
According to state law, it’s illegal for a person to possess any device or attachment designed or used to silence the report of any firearm. This broad definition covers all silencers and suppressors regardless of which type of firearm they can attach to. It can also refer to homemade and improvised silencers, such as those made from PVC pipes and plastic bottles.
Penalties for possessing a silencer
A person who violates Illinois’ law against possessing silencers commits a Class 3 felony. On conviction, the person faces up to five years of prison and a court-determined fine.
However, the offense becomes a Class 2 felony instead if the person violated the law while inside or within 1,000 feet of the following:
- Conveyance leased or contracted by a school to transport students
- Public parks
- Conveyance owned, leased or contracted by a public transportation agency
- Residential property owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency
If a court convicts a person who violated the law within those spaces, the person faces up to seven years in prison.
So yes, silencers are illegal in Illinois. If you face charges for possessing a silencer – even if you don’t have a prior criminal record and you’re just a gun enthusiast – know that a conviction will lead to years of prison time. Consider seeking the experience of a legal professional who may be able to protect your rights in court.