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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, sometimes it can be tricky when states want to balance those two interests. Trying to get a handle on gun regulations can also be difficult for local governments and law enforcement given the different laws that apply among states and the federal government. Federal law largely determines what kinds of firearms may be owned legally, whereas state laws tend to more heavily regulate who can purchase or possess firearms, how they may do so, and where such firearms can be used.

The federal Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act apply to Illinois gun owners, so it's best to be familiar with both statutes.

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. For other weapons allowed in the state, state law imposes a three-day (72 hours) waiting period for prospective gun buyers. These buyers must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for gun ownership. Illinois gun control laws are also specific as to specific locations, such as schools, where firearms are more heavily restricted.

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.


Illinois Statutes, Chapter 720 Criminal Offenses

Illinois Statutes Section, Chapter 430 Public Safety

The Firearms Restraining Order Act is designed to prevent persons who pose a danger to themselves, or others from purchasing or possessing firearms.

Illegal Arms

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; silencer.

Waiting Period

72 hours

Who May Not Own
  1. Concealed weapon: under 18 yrs.;
  2. Under 21 yrs. if convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or adjudged delinquent;
  3. Narcotic addict;
  4. Patient in a mental hospital within the past 5 yrs.;
  5. Mentally retarded;
  6. A person confined in a penal institution; and
  7. Felons.
Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds

This can be charged as 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 and they are also constantly subject to changes. To stay current on the gun control laws that apply to you 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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