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Illinois Gun Laws

Illinois Gun Laws



Over the past ten years, Illinois’ gun laws have experienced significant evolution to address the state’s unique challenges and foster responsible firearm ownership. From background checks to concealed carry regulations, these developments aim to strike a balance between Second Amendment rights and public safety. This article presents an in-depth overview of the key advancements in Illinois’ gun laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, organized in bullet points:

2013 – Concealed Carry Law Implementation:

   – Illinois becomes the last state to enact concealed carry laws, establishing a rigorous permit process for residents to carry concealed firearms.

2014 – Assault Weapon Ban Repeal Consideration:

   – Illinois debates the potential repeal of its ban on assault weapons, prompting discussions on community safety and individual rights.

2015 – “Red Flag” Law Proposal:

   – Illinois explores “red flag” laws, allowing law enforcement and family members to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals deemed a risk.

2016 – Background Checks for All Firearm Transfers:

   – The state enhances background checks by requiring them for all firearm transfers, including private sales and gun shows.

2017 – Age Limit for Long Gun Purchases Raised:

   – Illinois raises the minimum age for purchasing long guns from 18 to 21 years old, aligning with federal age restrictions.

2018 – Mandatory Firearms Dealer Licensing:

   – Legislation is introduced to require state licensing for firearms dealers, aiming to enhance accountability and prevent illegal sales.

2019 – “Assault Weapon” and “High-Capacity” Magazine Ban Proposal:

   – Illinois debates legislation to ban certain assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, sparking discussions on balancing individual rights and public safety.

2020 – Enhanced Firearm Storage Requirements:

   – The state introduces regulations mandating safe firearm storage to prevent unauthorized access, particularly in households with minors.

2021 – Background Check Expansions for Concealed Carry:

   – Illinois tightens the background check process for concealed carry permit applicants, focusing on mental health history and criminal records.

2022 – Enhanced Mental Health Reporting:

    – Illinois improves the reporting of mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to prevent firearm access by prohibited individuals.

2022 – “Red Flag” Law Implementation:

    – Illinois enacts “red flag” laws, allowing law enforcement and family members to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals deemed a risk.

2023 – Firearm Training Requirements for Concealed Carry:

    – The state considers enhancing training requirements for concealed carry permit applicants, focusing on responsible gun ownership and firearm handling skills.

2023 – Stricter Penalties for Firearm Trafficking:

    – Proposed legislation aims to enforce harsher penalties for firearm trafficking, aiming to deter illegal firearms distribution.

2023 – Ammunition Purchase Restrictions:

    – Illinois explores regulations on ammunition sales, prompting discussions on responsible ammunition ownership and potential background checks.

Illinois’ gun laws have evolved significantly in the past decade, reflecting the state’s commitment to adapting its regulations to changing times and challenges. From concealed carry laws and background check enhancements to debates on “red flag” laws and restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, these changes highlight Illinois’ proactive approach to firearm regulation. As the state continues to shape its laws, it remains essential for stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens to engage in informed discussions that prioritize both individual freedoms and community security.

Illinois statutes regarding firearms have proven to be among the more restrictive in the United States. The possession, purchase, and carrying of firearms are contingent upon an individual obtaining a Firearms Owner’s Identification Card, or FOID. The requisition of the FOID is an application that is not implemented by most of the states, and proves to be one of the key features regarding Illinois firearm laws. The registration of firearms is not required by Illinois statutes, the only exception being the city of Chicago, in which any type of firearm must be registered.
The purchase of any kind of firearm, be it rifles, shotguns, or handguns, require that an individual have a permit, which is known as the FOID. Rifles and handguns are subject to a holding period of twenty-four hours, while handguns have waiting period of seventy-two hours for actual delivery. The exception to the waiting period provision is that it does not apply for law enforcement officers, an authorized dealer, or a non-resident at a gun show that has been approved by the Illinois Department of State Police.
Records of a sale are to be obtain by a dealer for a period of ten years, which will include the firearm’s description and serial number, and the buyer’s identification information, as well as the FOID number. All purchases are contingent to a background check, including firearm transfers conducted at gun shows. The minimum age requirement to purchase a firearm in the state of Illinois is eighteen.
As mentioned before, a permit must be obtained before a purchase can be carried out. The Firearms Owner’s Identification Card also acts as a firearm license for the owners, which is required under Illinois statutes. The application for the FOID is made to the Illinois State Police and the application can be obtained via the internet or by calling the Firearm Owners Identification Program directly. Certain requirements must be met in order to be considered eligible for a FOID:
Be over the age of 21
For those under the age of 21, and least 18 years of age, a written letter of consent signed by the parent or guardian is to be furnished at the time the application is submitted.
The parent or guardian must also be considered eligible to acquire a FOID in this circumstance
No records of convictions of felony crimes
Not a deemed as an addict to narcotics
Not have been admitted as a patient to a mental facility in the past five years
Is mentally and physically capable to properly handle a firearm
Not an illegal alien in the United States
Has no current restraining orders issued or pending
No convictions of crimes including battery, assault, or other similar crimes, in which a firearm was used or found in possession, within the past five years
No convictions of domestic batter or similar crimes committed after January 1st, 1998
No convictions within the past five years dating from January 1st, 1998
The FOID application must be presented with the proper identification materials, such as a driver’s license or state ID card. The FOID will have a fee of ten dollars and is valid for five years from date it was issued.
The Possession of a firearm also requires to for an individual to have obtained a FOID. This also extends to ammunition as well. For those under the age of 18, it is considered illegal under Illinois firearm law for such an individual to be in the possession of firearm.
Under Illinois statues, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in any public forum or establishment, as well as schools. Students who are exempt may be in possession of firearm if they can provide for proof that they are engaged in firearm training classes, target shooting on school grounds, or other activities approved by the school.
In such a case, firearms are to be transported unloaded and in an appropriate case. Possession of firearms in the city of Chicago is illegal unless it is appropriately registered with the authorities. A certificate will be issued that must be carried at all times the firearm is in possession or being carried, and must be readily presentable to any law enforcement official if requested. Handguns that have not been registered before 1982 are not allowed, and thus any handgun in Chicago after said date is illegal by Illinois law.
The carrying of firearms is restricted only to rifles and shotguns, and individuals must also have a valid FOID. There is no permit to carry issued for handguns, and such practice is illegal under Illinois statutes. Guns can only be carried in one’s personal property or place of business.
The exception would apply for those engaged in activities such as hunting and other recreational purposes, and must provide for the valid licenses for such activities. The transportation of firearms to and from such practices must be disassembled or rendered as non-functioning, and not easily accessible in the vehicle. The firearm can also be transported unloaded and in a suitable case, as long the individual has a valid FOID on their person.