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Illinois Gun Control Laws

When it comes to guns, safety always comes first, both for gun owners and the general public. However, balancing those two interests can be tricky.

Both federal and state gun laws apply in Illinois. Federal laws, such as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act, largely determine the legality of various firearm types. State gun laws, on the other hand, tend to regulate who can purchase or possess firearms, how they may do so, and firearm possession locations.

In Illinois, gun control laws:

  • Prohibit the sale, use, or possession of certain weapons outright, including fully automatic machine guns, armor-piercing bullets, and silencers.
  • Impose a three-day (72 hours) waiting period for prospective gun buyers.
  • Require buyers and users to meet certain eligibility criteria for gun ownership.
  • Add strict penalties for illegally possessing guns in specific locations, such as schools.

Illinois Gun Control Laws at a Glance

For more information on some of the main provisions of Illinois gun control laws, see the table below.

Relevant Statutes

Illinois Statutes Criminal Offense, Chapter 720, Section 5/24.1 through 5/24.3

Illinois Statutes, Public Safety, Chapter 430, Sections 65 through 67

Illegal Arms The following firearms are illegal to possess:
  • Machine gun
  • Rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches
  • Shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches or any weapon made from rifle or shotgun and as modified has an overall length less than 26 inches
  • Stun gun or taser
  • Explosive or metal-piercing bullet
  • Set spring gun
  • Silencer
Waiting Period

You must wait 72 hours in between firearm purchase and possession.

Who May Not Own
  1. Anyone under 21 years of age, unless there is an eligible parent or guardian that will sponsor the applicant
  2. Convicted felons
  3. Narcotic addicts
  4. Patients in a mental hospital within the past 5 years
  5. Patients in a mental hospital more than five years ago, unless the applicant has a Mental Health Certificate
  6. Those with an intellectual or developmental disability
  7. Prisoners
  8. Anyone under a protection order
  9. Those convicted of a violent crime with a firearm within the past 5 years
  10. Convicted domestic abusers
  11. Juvenile delinquents whose underlying crime would have been a felony if tried as an adult
  12. Illegal aliens
  13. Those dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces
License Required?
  • Residents: The state issues you a license, called a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which also serves as your permit to purchase a gun.
  • Non-Residents: You do not need a FOID but you must be able to legally possess firearms in your home state under laws that are at least as stringent as those in Illinois.
Concealed Carry License Required? Illinois requires you to obtain a Concealed Carry License (CCL) to carry a concealed firearm.
Open Carried Allowed?
  • Open carry is not allowed in Illinois.
  • If you have a Concealed Carry License, you may carry a firearm that is partially in public view.
Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License Different eligibility rules apply for residents and non-residents. As a resident, you must:
  1. Be 21 years old
  2. Have a valid FOID card
  3. Have not been convicted or found guilty of a violent crime in the past 5 years
  4. Have not been convicted or found guilty of more than 1 DUI in the past 5 years
  5. Not be subject to any pending warrants that would lead to a suspension of their FOID
  6. Not have been in a residential or court-ordered substance rehabilitation facility within the past 5 years
  7. Be free of objections by law enforcement
  8. Complete mandated firearm training
As a non-resident, you must fulfill both the FOID and Concealed Carry License requirements, and pay a fee.
Machine Gun Laws Illegal to own
Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

If found guilty of violating these firearm laws, you can face imprisonment and/or a fine. The following penalties are per firearm:

  • The first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up a $2,500 fine.
  • Subsequent offenses rise to a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
  • Depending on the circumstances and type of firearm, illegal possession can result in Class 2, 3, or 4 felony, which is punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
  • In some instances, illegal firearm possession can escalate to a Class X felony, punishable by up to 50 years in prison, such as possession of a firearm by a prisoner, or possession of a loaded machine gun.
Penalties for Illegal Possession On or Near School Grounds
  • It is illegal to possess a firearm on or near elementary or secondary school grounds.
  • Violations of this law could constitute a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources for Illinois Gun Control Laws

More Questions About Illinois Gun Laws? Talk to an Attorney

Gun control laws can be complicated, both at the federal and state levels. These laws also change constantly. To stay current on the gun control laws and to help defend yourself if you're facing criminal charges, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney that specializes in gun laws.

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