Gun Law: What are Gun Laws in the State of Illinois?
In the United States, access to firearms is more or less easy, depending on which state you reside in. The manufacture, trade, possession and use of these firearms and their ammunition are controlled by law under a number of federal statutes, enforced by state agencies and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In addition to federal gun laws, all state governments have their own laws in relation to firearms, meaning that when it comes to carrying weapons, the rules and regulations vary from state to state.
For this reason, it is essential to know about gun laws in your state of residence, to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the law. If you live in Illinois, take a look below to find out everything about Illinois gun laws:
Who can get a firearm in Illinois?
Open carry of a handgun on your person or in a vehicle is illegal in Illinois.
If you wish to own firearms or ammunition legally in the state of Illinois, you must, first and foremost, obtain the Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. The Illinois State Police is in charge of issuing it to applicants who meet their requirements.
To carry concealed handguns, you need to obtain a Concealed Carry Weapon license (CCW) from the State Police. Illinois is a shall-issue state, meaning that if the applicant meets the authorities' requirements, then the CCW license, by law, must be issued. However, Illinois differs from other states in that it still gives law enforcement the right to object to a license being issued if they think the applicant is a danger to public safety or himself/herself. If the police do object, the case is heard by the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, who will make the final decision. The applicant is notified by mail of the Board’s decision. There is an appeal process.
Families can also file for a restraining order, to prevent an individual from possessing or purchasing guns if deemed dangerous for themselves or others.
A 16-hour firearms training course conducted by a state-approved instructor is required for all new CCW license applications, and the minimum age for the obtention of a concealed carry permit is 21 years old. Also, very importantly, an Illinois CCW permit does not cover weapons other than handguns.
Someone from another state than Illinois can have firearms in their possession, only if it is also legal in their state of residence and if that state's gun laws are substantially similar to the gun control laws of Illinois. Currently, the only states considered to be substantially similar are Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia.
Where can you carry a firearm in Illinois?
Carrying loaded firearms in your vehicle is legal, as long as you have the CCW license. The state government allows you to transport broken or inaccessible firearms in your automobile. Also, if your gun is in a carrying box, it isn’t illegal to have one in your car, as long as you have valid FOID.
The CCW license permits the licensee to carry a concealed loaded or unloaded firearm on their person or in their vehicle legally. FOID card holders (without a CCW license) can legally carry unloaded firearms that are enclosed in a case.
People with CCW licenses from other states can have a handgun in their vehicle, but can never take it out of it. To leave their automobile, they must also place the firearm in a secure container or lock it.
You have the right to carry your handgun in restaurants that serve alcohol to their diners. But if you need to visit a bar that gets over half of its income from alcohol sales, then it is illegal to carry your firearm into the property.
State parks, national forests, and State Wildlife management areas also allow you to carry your weapons, as long as you do not enter posted buildings. Also, you don’t have to inform police officers that you have a firearm in your possession. However, it is essential you carry your CCW license at all times, in case the law enforcement official wants to take a look at it.
Prohibited areas for carrying firearms in Illinois
There are several areas where it is illegal to carry concealed firearms or places with signs which state that you can’t have weapons. If you continue to enter these properties with your gun, owners can ask you to leave the premises. Failure to do so will give the owners the right to call legal enforcement officers and press charges.
Furthermore, you cannot carry concealed firearms in places such as schools, jails, public transport, public gathering, public playgrounds, hospitals, and stadiums. Areas such as athletic facilities, properties that come under Cook County Forest Preserve District, public libraries, and amusement parks are all off-limits for weapons.
At the same time, in airports, zoos, museums, and any property under the regulation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it is illegal to have firearms. Gaming facilities that obtain their licenses from the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 or Riverboat Gambling Act have the right to enforce a no weapon policy in their properties.
New Gun Laws in Illinois
In 2019, more than 250 new laws took effect in Illinois, changing rules related to gun control. According to these new gun laws, you now have to wait for a minimum of 72 hours between purchase and taking possession, including for purchases made by non-residents at Illinois State Police-recognized gun shows.
Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase with a FOID, and also include a 24-hour waiting period. However, it is against Illinois law to have a stun gun or Taser under certain circumstances and in certain places, including:
- when you intend to use the weapon unlawfully against someone else;
- while you’re masked or hooded in a way to hide your identity;
- in a place licensed to sell intoxicating beverages;
- at any licensed public gathering where admission is charged;
- in a school, college, or courthouse;
- in or within 1,000 feet of a public park;
- in public housing, or
- on public transit.