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Illinois does not issue licenses for the concealed carry of firearms, nor does it recognize licenses issued by other states. Illinois is the only state that does not allow concealed carry in some form. Open carry is also prohibited in most areas. When a firearm is being transported, it must be unloaded and enclosed in a case. On December 11, 2012, these blanket restrictions were struck down as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court panel, which gave the state 180 days to change its laws. On February 22, 2013, a request by the Illinois attorney general for a rehearing by the full appeals court was denied.
To legally possess firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, issued by the state police. Non-residents who may legally possess firearms in their home state are exempt from this requirement. There is a waiting period to take possession after purchasing a firearm — 72 hours for a handgun, or 24 hours for a rifle or shotgun. Private sales are allowed, and are subject to these same requirements. Possession of automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns, or silencers is prohibited. Possession of short-barreled rifles is permitted only for those who have ATF Curios and Relics licenses or are members of a military reenactment group.
Illinois does not have state preemption for gun laws, and some local governments have enacted ordinances that are more restrictive than those of the state.
|Subject/Law||Long Guns||Handguns||Relevant Statutes||Notes|
|State permit to purchase?||Yes||Yes||430 ILCS 65||FOID required.|
|Firearm registration?||No||No||Chi. Mun. Code §8-20-110||The city of Chicago requires registration of firearms. Residents must complete a firearm safety course, pass a background check including fingerprinting, and pay a $100 permit fee which is renewed every three years. Registration of any handgun assumes an additional one time fee of $15.|
|"Assault weapon" law?||No||No||Cook Co. Code of Ord. §54-211|
Chi. Mun. Code §8-20-170
|Cook County and the city of Chicago have separately banned the possession of "assault weapons".|
|Magazine Capacity Restriction?||No||No||Many Illinois cities have magazine capacity limits for both pistols and long guns, including Chicago (12 rds), Oak Park (10 rds) and Aurora (12 rds).|
|Owner license required?||Yes||Yes||430 ILCS 65||FOID required.|
|Carry permits issued?||No||No|
|State preemption of local restrictions?||No||No|
|NFA weapons restricted?||Yes||Yes||720 ILCS 5/24|
720 ILCS 5/24-2
|Automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns, and silencers prohibited. Short-barreled rifles allowed only for Curios and Relics license holders or members of a bona fide military reenactment group. AOW (Any Other Weapon) and large-bore DD (Destructive Device) allowed with proper approval and tax stamp from ATF.|
|Peaceable journey laws?||No||No||Non-Illinois residents who are permitted to possess a firearm in their home state are not required to have a FOID card.|
To possess or purchase firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police. The police must issue FOID cards to eligible applicants. An applicant is disqualified if he or she has been convicted of a felony or an act of domestic violence, is the subject of an order of protection, has been convicted of assault or battery or been a patient in a mental institution within the last five years, has been adjudicated as a mental defective, or is an illegal immigrant. There are additional requirements for applicants under the age of 21.
When a firearm is sold or transferred, the buyer is required to present their FOID card. This applies to private sales between individuals as well as to sales by Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. For private sales, the seller is required to keep a record of the transfer for at least 10 years. For FFL sales, the seller must retain the federal Form 4473 for at least 20 years. For firearm sales by an FFL holder, or at a gun show, the seller must perform an automated dial-up check with the State Police, to verify that the FOID card is valid, and to redo the background check of the buyer; this additional checking is known as the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP). The buyer is also required to present their FOID card when purchasing ammunition.
In 2011, in the case of People v. Holmes, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that non-Illinois residents who are permitted to possess a firearm in their home state are not required to have an Illinois FOID card.
Illinois does not issue concealed carry licenses, nor does it accept CCLs issued by other states. It is the only state that has no provision for the concealed carry of firearms by citizens. (In compliance with the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, retired police officers who qualify annually under state guidelines are allowed to carry concealed.) Open carry is also illegal, except when hunting, or in a fixed place of business with owner's permission, or in one's abode. When a firearm is being transported, it must be unloaded and enclosed in a case.
Several rural counties have refused to enforce the statewide prohibition on concealed carry.
On December 11, 2012, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of Moore v. Madigan, ruled that Illinois' concealed carry ban is unconstitutional, and gave the state 180 days to change its laws. On January 8, 2013, the Illinois attorney general requested that the decision be reviewed by the full appeals court. This request was rejected on February 22, 2013. The attorney general is considering whether or not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barring a stay of the appeals court ruling, Illinois will technically become an "unrestricted" carry state on June 8, 2013 if the Illinois General Assembly fails to adopt legislation establishing a permitting system for firearms carry by that date.
A gun owner can be charged with a crime if a minor under the age of 14 gains access their firearm when it is unsecured (i.e. not locked in a box or secured with a trigger lock) and causes death or great bodily harm.
The possession of automatic firearms (such as machine guns), short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, or silencers is prohibited. However, possession of short-barreled rifles is allowed for ATF Curios and Relics license holders, or, if the rifle is historically accurate has an overall length of at least 26 inches, for members of a bona fide military reenactment group. While possession of a large-bore destructive device itself is not prohibited, possession of an artillery projectile, shell or grenade with over 1/4 ounce of explosive is prohibited. There is no prohibition against non-sporting shotguns (such as the Armsel Striker) deemed destructive devices by the ATF.
Illinois does not have state preemption of firearm laws, and some local governments have passed laws that are more restrictive than those of the state.
Chicago requires that all firearms be registered with the police department. Gun owners are required to have a Chicago Firearm Permit. The city has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it defines as assault weapons, as well as magazines that can hold more than 12 rounds of ammunition. Chicago residents must "immediately" report a firearm that is stolen or lost, and must report the transfer of a firearm at least 48 hours in advance. Chicago also prohibits the sale of firearms within city limits.
Cook County has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it has defined as assault weapons, and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Starting in August 2013, residents must report to the county sheriff within 48 hours any firearms that are stolen, lost, transferred, or sold. The sheriff may share this information with other law enforcement agencies. In Cook County, local laws, such as those of Chicago, take precedence over county laws that regulate similar matters.
Other municipalities have also enacted various firearm restrictions. Lack of preemption makes it difficult to travel throughout Illinois with a firearm while being sure that no laws are being broken.
Some Illinois municipalities have laws restricting the possession of handguns.
In Chicago, gun owners are required to have a Chicago Firearm Permit, which costs $100 and must be renewed every three years. Before getting the permit, the resident must complete a training course that includes at least four hours of classroom training and one hour of range time. Each gun must be registered with the Chicago Police Department at a one-time cost of $15 per gun, and an annual registration report must be filed every year. Gun possession is permitted only inside a dwelling, not in a garage or on the outside grounds of the property. Only one gun at a time may be kept in a usable state. Chicago's ordinances are being challenged in court, with plaintiffs alleging that they are so restrictive and burdensome as to interfere with citizens' Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Highland Park bars handgun possession unless the resident has obtained a permit from the Highland Park Police. The permit must be renewed every year, and the resident must attend a gun safety and training session, given by the police, every three years.
By the late 1980s, several Illinois municipalities had banned the possession of handguns. Chicago required the registration of all firearms but did not allow handguns to be registered, which had the effect of outlawing their possession, unless they were grandfathered in by being registered before April 16, 1982. Additionally, several Chicago suburbs had enacted outright prohibitions on handgun possession.
On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. Chicago and the other municipalities came under legal pressure to change their laws. In the months following the Heller decision, handgun bans were repealed in the suburbs of Wilmette, Morton Grove, Evanston, and Winnetka, but Chicago and Oak Park kept their laws in effect.
On July 12, 2010 a new Chicago city ordinance took effect that allows limited handgun possession after passing a firearms training course and obtaining a permit from the police. Chicago's gun registration requirement is still in effect.
On July 19, 2010 Oak Park amended its town ordinance to allow handgun possession in one's home, leaving no remaining town in Illinois that completely bans handguns.