What Are Illinois' Gun Ownership Laws? - The Chicago Criminal Law Blog

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What Are Illinois' Gun Ownership Laws?

Any prospective owner of a firearm in Illinois needs to become familiar with Illinois' gun laws. Here are some of the most important laws you need to know:

License

In general, an individual who wants to purchase or possess a firearm in Illinois will need a Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card. This gun license is administered by the state Firearms Services Bureau; you can get an application by visiting the Illinois State Police website.

During the FOID application process, the applicant's identification and background information are checked. Individuals with prohibiting factors such as prior felony convictions, certain misdemeanors, drug addictions, and those who have recently been patients in mental hospitals may not be eligible for a license.

As you may know, a federal appeals court in December 2012 struck down Illinois' concealed carry ban. The court gave state lawmakers 180 days to craft a new law.

Firearm Restrictions

If you are able to receive a FOID card, you should know that this is not a license to buy whatever firearm you want. Instead, there are several restrictions that limit what types of guns you can and cannot buy. For example, these types of weapons and ammunition are specifically banned:

  • Machine guns
  • Rifles with barrels of less than 16 inches
  • Shotguns with barrels of less than 18 inches
  • Any weapon made from a rifle or shotgun and as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches
  • Explosive or metal-piercing bullets
  • Silencers

There is typically a 72-hour waiting period for delivery of a handgun. So you normally can't just show up and take a gun home immediately.

Transporting Firearms

After legally obtaining a firearm, you should know that your obligations do not end. There are strict rules for transporting firearms and safely possessing them. In general, when transporting a firearm, it must be broken down to a non-functioning state, not immediately accessible, or unloaded and enclosed in a case.

Illinois gun laws can be strict, and they are quite comprehensive. Check out the Related Resources below for more information. If you have questions about these laws, you may want to contact an attorney.

Related Resources: