Gun laws in Illinois

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Location of Illinois in the United States

Gun laws in Illinois regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Illinois in the United States.[1][2]

To legally possess firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police to any qualified applicant. Non-residents who may legally possess firearms in their home state are exempt from this requirement.

The state police issue permits for the concealed carry of handguns to qualified applicants age 21 or older who pass a 16-hour training course. However, any law enforcement agency can object to an individual being granted a permit "based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety". Objections are considered by a Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, which decides whether or not the permit will be issued, based on "a preponderance of the evidence". Permits issued by other states are not recognized. Open carry is prohibited in most areas. Without a concealed carry permit, a firearm must be unloaded and enclosed in a case when it is being transported.

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. For private sales, the seller must verify the buyer's FOID card, and keep a record of the sale for at least 10 years. Lost or stolen guns must be reported to the police. Possession of automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns, or suppressors is prohibited. Possession of short-barreled rifles is permitted only for those who have an ATF Curios and Relics license or are a member of a military reenactment group.

Illinois has state preemption only for certain areas of gun law, and some local governments have enacted ordinances that are more restrictive than those of the state.

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long Guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State permit to purchase? Yes Yes 430 ILCS 65 FOID required.
Owner license required? Yes Yes 430 ILCS 65 FOID required.
Firearm registration? No No
Carry permits issued? No Yes Public Act 098-0063: Firearm Concealed Carry Act Shall-issue with limited discretion.[3] Concealed carry permits are issued by the state police. Permits issued by other states are not recognized, but nonresidents from states with "substantially similar" licensing requirements can apply for an Illinois nonresident permit. Non-residents may carry in a vehicle if they are in possession of a permit from their home state.
Open carry? No No
State preemption of local restrictions? Partial Partial Public Act 098-0063: Firearm Concealed Carry Act Preemption for the regulation of handguns, and for the transportation of firearms. Preemption for laws regulating "assault weapons", unless enacted before July 20, 2013.
"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", as have several Chicago suburbs.
Magazine capacity restriction? No No Some local governments have magazine capacity limits for both pistols and long guns, including Chicago (15 rounds), Oak Park (10 rounds), Aurora (15 rounds), and Cook County (10 rounds).
NFA weapons restricted? Yes Yes 720 ILCS 5/24
720 ILCS 5/24-2
Automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns, and suppressors 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? Yes Yes Public Act 098-0063: Firearm Concealed Carry Act Illinois has state preemption for the transportation of any firearm and ammunition. Non-Illinois residents are granted a limited exception to lawfully carry a concealed firearm within a vehicle if they are eligible to carry a firearm in public under the laws of their own state. Non-residents who are permitted to possess a firearm in their own state are not required to have a FOID card.

FOID cards[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5] There are additional requirements for applicants under the age of 21.[6]

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.[7] 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.[4] This additional checking is known as the Firearm Transfer Inquiry Program (FTIP).[8] For private sales not at a gun show, the seller must also verify the buyer's FOID card with the state police, and receive a transfer approval number, either via a web site or with a phone call.[9][10][11]

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.[12][13]

Concealed and open carry[edit]

The Illinois State Police Department issues permits for the concealed carry of handguns to qualified applicants age 21 or older who pass a 16-hour training course. Illinois law says that the state police "shall issue" a permit to a qualified applicant. However, any law enforcement agency can object to an individual being granted a permit "based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety". Objections are considered by a Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, which decides whether or not the permit will be issued, based on "a preponderance of the evidence". Permits cost $150 for residents or $300 for non-residents, and are valid for five years. Non-residents may apply if their state is on a list of states with "substantially similar" carry permitting laws; currently only Hawaii and South Carolina qualify.[14] Concealed carry permits issued by other states are not recognized, except that non-residents in possession of a carry permit from their home state may carry in a vehicle.[15][16][17]

Concealed carry is prohibited on public transportation, at a bar or restaurant that gets more than half its revenue from the sale of alcohol, at a public gathering or special event that requires a permit (e.g. a street fair or festival), at a place where alcohol is sold for special events, and on private property where the owner has chosen not to allow it (and, unless the property is a private residence, has posted an appropriate sign). Concealed carry is also not allowed at any school, college or university, preschool or daycare facility, government building, courthouse, prison, jail, detention facility, hospital, playground, park, Cook County Forest Preserve area, stadium or arena for college or professional sports, amusement park, riverboat casino, off-track betting facility, library, zoo, museum, airport, nuclear facility, or place where firearms are prohibited under federal law. However, permit holders who are in the parking lot of a prohibited location (except a nuclear facility) are allowed to carry a concealed firearm when they are in their vehicle, and to store their gun locked in their vehicle and out of plain view.[15][16]

In compliance with the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, retired police officers who qualify annually under state guidelines are allowed to carry concealed.[18]

Open carry of firearms is generally illegal, except when hunting, or in a fixed place of business with the owner's permission, or in one's abode.[19] Some rural counties implicitly allow open carry by refusing to enforce the statewide prohibition on open carry within their jurisdictions.[citation needed]

Without a concealed carry license, a firearm must be unloaded and enclosed in a case when it is being transported.[20]

Historical state prohibition of concealed carry[edit]

Illinois was the last state to allow the concealed carry of firearms by citizens.[21] 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 was unconstitutional, and gave the state 180 days to change its laws.[22] Subsequently the court granted a 30-day extension of the deadline.[23] On July 9, 2013, Illinois enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which established a system for the issuing of concealed carry permits.[24][25] On September 12, 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court, in the case of People v. Aguilar, also ruled that the state's Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon law, which completely prohibited concealed carry, was unconstitutional.[26] On January 5, 2014, the state police began accepting applications for permits to carry concealed handguns.[27] On February 28, 2014, the state police announced that they had begun issuing concealed carry permits.[28]

Other state laws[edit]

Article 1 section 22 of the Illinois Constitution states, "Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."[29]

When purchasing a handgun in Illinois there is a 72-hour waiting period after the sale before the buyer can take possession. The waiting period for a rifle or shotgun is 24 hours.[20]

When a firearm is sold by a licensed dealer, the seller is required to provide a gun lock, unless the firearm itself includes an integrated locking mechanism.[30]

For private sales, the seller is required to keep a record of the transfer for at least 10 years.[7]

Lost or stolen guns must be reported to the police within 72 hours.[9]

A gun owner can be charged with a crime if a minor under the age of 14 gains access to 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.[31]

The possession of automatic firearms (such as machine guns), short-barreled shotguns, and suppressors is prohibited.[20] 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.[32] 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.[20] There is no prohibition against non-sporting shotguns (such as the Armsel Striker) deemed destructive devices by the ATF, nor is there one for AOWs (Any Other Weapons).

In Illinois, muzzleloaders and black powder guns are considered firearms.[33]

Air guns that are larger than .18 caliber and that have a muzzle velocity greater than 700 feet per second are also regulated as firearms.[34]

Local laws[edit]

Illinois has state preemption of firearm laws for "the regulation, licensing, possession, and registration of handguns and ammunition for a handgun, and the transportation of any firearm and ammunition". There is also state preemption for "the regulation of the possession and ownership of assault weapons", except for laws passed before July 20, 2013, which are grandfathered in.[16] In other areas of gun law, some local governments have passed ordinances that are more restrictive than those of the state.

Chicago has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it defines as assault weapons, as well as magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.[35] 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.[36] In a home where a person younger than 18 is present, all guns must be secured with a trigger lock, or stored in a locked container, or secured to the body of the legal owner.[37] Chicago also prohibits the sale of firearms within city limits.[38] On January 6, 2014, a federal judge ruled that the city's prohibition on the sale of firearms is unconstitutional.[39] The judge granted the city's request for six months to pass new laws regulating gun shops.[40]

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.[41][42] Residents must report to the county sheriff within 48 hours any firearms that are stolen, lost, destroyed, or sold or otherwise transferred. The sheriff may share this information with other law enforcement agencies.[43][44] Licensed firearms dealers must provide information to the county regarding purchasers and the guns they purchase, and receive approval before conducting sales.[45] An individual may not purchase more than one firearm in a 30-day period.[46] In a home where a person younger than 21 is present, all guns must be secured with a trigger lock, or stored unloaded in a locked container separate from the ammunition, or secured to the body of the legal owner.[47] In Cook County, local laws, such as those of Chicago, take precedence over county laws that regulate similar matters.[48]

The possession of firearms that have been variously defined as assault weapons is also illegal in Lincolnwood, Niles, Skokie, Evanston, Highland Park, North Chicago, Melrose Park, Riverdale, Dolton, Hazel Crest, Homewood, and the part of Buffalo Grove that's in Cook County. The storage or transportation of assault weapons is restricted in Morton Grove, Winnetka, Deerfield, Country Club Hills, and University Park.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56]

Other municipalities have also enacted various firearm restrictions.[57]

Historical restrictions on the possession of handguns[edit]

Formerly some Illinois municipalities had laws restricting the possession of handguns.

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.[58][59] 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.[60] Chicago and the other municipalities came under legal pressure to change their laws.[61][62] In the months following the Heller decision, handgun bans were repealed in the suburbs of Wilmette,[63] Morton Grove,[64] Evanston,[65] and Winnetka,[66] but Chicago and Oak Park kept their laws in effect.[65][67]

On June 28, 2010, in the case of McDonald v. Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the handgun bans of Chicago and Oak Park to be unconstitutional.[68]

On July 12, 2010 a new Chicago city ordinance took effect that allowed the possession of handguns with certain restrictions. Residents were required to obtain a Chicago Firearms Permit. To get the permit they were required to complete a firearms training course, pass a background check including fingerprinting, and pay a $100 permit fee. Chicago's gun registration requirement was still in effect.[69][70] Possession of firearms was permitted only inside a dwelling, not in a garage or on the outside grounds of the property. Only one gun at a time was allowed to be kept in a usable state.[69]

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 banned handguns.[71]

On July 9, 2013, Illinois enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which set up a permitting system for the concealed carry of firearms. Another provision of this law is state preemption for "the regulation, licensing, possession, and registration of handguns and ammunition for a handgun, and the transportation of any firearm and ammunition". This invalidated Chicago's requirements for gun registration and for an additional permit for the possession of firearms.[16][72]

On September 11, 2013, the Chicago City Council repealed the law requiring the registration of firearms and the law requiring a city issued firearm owners permit.[72] They also changed the law to allow the carrying of firearms on the grounds of one's property outside as well as inside the home.[73]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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