Illinois State Gun Laws

The following is a summary of Illinois State Gun Laws provided by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (LCAV). More information can be found at:

http://smartgunlaws.org/ammunition-regulation-in-illinois/

Among other things, Illinois:

  • Requires that any person obtain a ten-year license (a Firearm Owner’s Identification, or FOID, card) to purchase or possess firearms and ammunition. The licensing process requires a detailed background check on the prospective FOID cardholder;
  • Imposes waiting periods between the purchase and actual transfer of a firearm to a purchaser – 24 hours for long guns and 72 hours for handguns;
  • Has implemented some design safety standards for handguns and has equipped the state attorney general with the authority to adopt detailed standards for handguns;
  • Requires firearms owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement.

Illinois does not, however:

  • Give local law enforcement broad discretion to deny concealed weapons permits; or

 

In 2012, Illinois had the 14th lowest rate of gun deaths among the states. Even this relatively low ranking means that 1,178 people died from firearms injuries in Illinois in that year.

Far more crime guns are trafficked into Illinois than out of the state. Based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (“MAIG”), in 2009, Illinois had the eighth lowest rate of crime gun exports among the states – meaning that guns originally purchased in Illinois were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at the eighth lowest rate among the states. Illinois exports crime guns at a rate that is less than half the national average. Illinois also imports four times as many crime guns as it exports.

PROHIBITED PURCHASERS GENERALLY IN ILLINOIS

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

In Illinois, no person may acquire or possess any firearm or ammunition without having a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (‘FOID’) card, issued by the Illinois Department of State Police (‘DSP’). The FOID card process is designed to identify persons who, for various reasons in the public interest, are not qualified to acquire or possess firearms or ammunition.

The DSP may deny, or revoke and seize, a FOID card only if the DSP finds that the current or prospective card holder is (or was at the time of issuance):

  • A person under 21 years of age who has been convicted of a misdemeanor (other than a traffic offense) or adjudged delinquent, or who does not have the written consent of his or her parent or guardian to acquire and possess firearms and ammunition, or whose parent or guardian has revoked such written consent, or whose parent or guardian does not qualify to have a FOID card;
  • A person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of Illinois or any other jurisdiction;
  • Addicted to narcotics;
  • A patient of a mental institution within the past five years or has been adjudicated as a mental defective;
  • Impaired by a mental condition (defined as a state of mind manifested by violent, suicidal, threatening or assaultive behavior) of such a nature that it poses a clear and present danger to the applicant, any other person or persons or the community;
  • Intellectually disabled (defined by Illinois law as having ‘significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning which exists concurrently with impairment in adaptive behavior and which originates before the age of 18 years’);
  • One who intentionally made a false statement on the FOID card application;
  • An alien unlawfully present in the United States under the laws of the United States;
  • An alien admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa (subject to certain exceptions, including aliens admitted to the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa for lawful hunting or sporting purposes, official representatives of foreign governments, and foreign law enforcement officers in the U.S. on official business);
  • A person convicted within the past five years of battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction, in which a firearm was used or possessed;
  • A person convicted of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction;
  • Prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms or ammunition by any Illinois state statute or federal law;
  • A minor subject to a juvenile petition alleging that he or she is a delinquent minor for the commission of an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony; or
  • An adult who had been adjudicated a delinquent minor for the commission of an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony.

In addition, DSP must deny an application for, or revoke and seize, a FOID card, if DSP finds that the applicant or cardholder is or was at the time of issuance subject to an existing order of protection prohibiting possession of firearms.

Illinois law also restricts sales to young people.

Firearm transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) and at gun shows are subject to background checks in Illinois.

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Illinois

Illinois prohibits any person under age 18 from possessing a handgun. State law also prohibits any person from knowingly transferring a handgun to any person under age 18. However, Illinois also prohibits any person from knowingly transferring a firearm to any person who does not hold a FOID card. To obtain a FOID card, an individual must be over 21 years of age or have the written consent of his or her parent or legal guardian to possess and acquire any firearms and ammunition. Further, the parent or legal guardian must not be prohibited from obtaining a FOID card. Persons under age 21 also do not qualify for a FOID card if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor (other than a traffic offense) or adjudged delinquent.

Ammunition Regulation in Illinois

Illinois does not require ammunition sellers to obtain a license or maintain records of ammunition purchasers.

License to Purchase/Possess Ammunition

Illinois requires residents to obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card before they can lawfully purchase or possess ammunition.1 No person may transfer firearm ammunition in Illinois unless the transferee displays a currently valid FOID card.2

For detailed information on the requirements for a FOID card, see Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Illinois section.

Any resident purchasing ammunition outside the state must provide the seller with a copy of his or her valid FOID card and either his or her Illinois driver’s license or Illinois State Identification card prior to the shipment of the ammunition. The ammunition may be shipped only to an address on either of those two documents.3

Persons Prohibited from Purchasing or Possessing Ammunition

Illinois prohibit the purchase or possession of ammunition by the same categories of persons who are ineligible to purchase or possess firearms under state law.4

Federal ammunition purchaser prohibitions also apply.

Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Ammunition

Illinois generally prohibits persons under age 21 from obtaining a FOID card, which is required to purchase or possess ammunition.5 A person under age 21 must have the written consent of a parent or legal guardian to purchase ammunition.6

Safe Storage of Ammunition

Illinois does not generally require firearm owners to safely store ammunition. However, ammunition kept or stored in child day care facilities, foster homes or similar locations must be kept in locked storage separate from firearms and inaccessible to children.7

Regulation of Unreasonably Dangerous Ammunition

Illinois prohibits the knowing manufacture, sale, purchase, possession, or carrying of any armor-piercing bullet, dragon’s breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell.8

Illinois also bans the knowing manufacture, sale, offer of sale, or other transfer of any bullet or shell which is represented to be an armor piercing bullet, a dragon’s breath shotgun shell, a bolo shell, or a flechette shell.9

Illinois prohibits the reckless use or discharge of an armor-piercing bullet, flechette shell, dragon’s breath shell or bolo shell.10 The state also prohibits the possession, concealed on or about the person, of an armor piercing bullet, dragon’s breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell.11

Illinois prohibits the sale, manufacture or acquisition and possession of exploding ammunition.12 “Explosive bullet” means the projectile portion of an ammunition cartridge which contains or carries an explosive charge which will explode upon contact with the flesh of a human or an animal. “Cartridge” means a tubular metal case having a projectile affixed at the front thereof and a cap or primer at the rear end thereof, with the propellant contained in such tube between the projectile and the cap.13

Federal law also prohibits certain kinds of armor-piercing ammunition.

Assault Weapons in Illinois

Illinois has no law restricting assault weapons.

There are, however, local jurisdictions within the state, such as the City of Highland Park, with ordinances that restrict the possession and sale of assault weapons.1

See the LCAV Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Background Checks in Illinois

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Illinois is a point of contact state for the NICS.1 Federally licensed firearms dealers must contact the Illinois Department of State Police (“DSP”) for a background check before transferring any firearm.2 The DSP searches its criminal history record information files, the FBI and NICS databases, and the files of the Department of Human Services relating to mental health and developmental disabilities to verify that prospective purchasers are not prohibited from possessing a firearm.3 The DSP must approve the transfer or inform the dealer of the applicant’s ineligibility within the waiting periods set forth by state law, which are 24 hours for long guns and 72 hours for handguns.4

Illinois requires DSP to report to local law enforcement the name and address of a person attempting to purchase a firearm who is disqualified from doing so.5

All private firearms sellers (i.e., persons who are not federally licensed) are required to conduct background checks in Illinois, and must be presented with a prospective purchaser’s Firearm Owner’s Identification card.6 With certain limited exceptions, any private seller of a firearm who seeks to transfer a firearm to any unlicensed purchaser must, prior to transfer, contact the Department of State Police (DSP) with the transferee’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card number to determine the validity of the transferee’s FOID Card.7 Federal and state purchaser prohibitions also apply to private firearms transfers.

Child Access Prevention in Illinois

Illinois prohibits any person from storing or leaving his or her firearm unlocked and accessible to a minor under the age of 14 if that person knows or has reason to believe that the minor under the age of 14 who does not have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card is likely to gain access to the firearm and the minor causes death or great bodily harm with that firearm.1 This provision does not apply if the firearm is: 1) secured by a device, other than the firearm safety, designed to render the firearm temporarily inoperable; 2) placed in a securely locked box or container; or 3) placed in some other location that a reasonable person would believe to be secured from a minor under the age of 14.2 The prohibition also is inapplicable to any firearm obtained by a minor because of an unlawful entry of the premises by the minor or another person, or if the minor gains access to a firearm and uses it in a lawful act of self-defense or defense of another.3

When a minor under the age of 21 legally acquires a FOID card by obtaining the permission of a parent or guardian, that parent or guardian becomes liable for civil claims for damages resulting from the minor’s use of firearms or ammunition.4

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Illinois

On July 9, 2013, Illinois adopted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act1 allowing individuals with a valid license to carry a concealed handgun in public.2 A license is not needed to carry a concealed handgun on a person’s own property, including his or her home or fixed place of business.3 Nor is a license needed to carry a concealed handgun on the land or in the home of another person, as long as it is with that person’s permission.4 Apart from the exceptions listed above, a concealed handgun may only be carried in public if the firearm is not in working condition, not immediately accessible, or is carried unloaded in an enclosed container by a person with a valid FOID Card.5

Illinois is a “shall issue” state,6 which means the Department of State Police (DSP) must issue a concealed handgun license it if the applicant meets the following qualifications:7

  • Is at least 21 years old;8
  • Has a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and at the time of

application meets the requirements for the issuance of a FOID Card, and is not prohibited under Illinois or federal law from possessing a firearm;9

  • Has not been convicted or found guilty in Illinois or any other state of:
    • A misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any
    • person within five years preceding the date of the license application;10 or
    • Two or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol,

drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination thereof within the five years preceding the date of the license application;11

Is not the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution, or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm;12

Has not been in residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the five years preceding the date of the license application; and13

Has completed the required firearms training.14

In addition, the applicant must show in the application that he or she has not:

  • Been convicted of a felony;15 and
  • Failed a drug test for a drug which the applicant did not have a prescription within the

previous year.16

DSP will conduct a background check on the applicant reviewing all relevant and available federal, state, and local records.17

Any law enforcement agency may submit an objection to a license applicant based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety.18 The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board will consider any objection to an applicant’s eligibility to obtain a license submitted by a law enforcement agency or DSP.19

It is unlawful for a person who is a “street gang member” to knowingly possess, carry, or conceal a firearm on or about his or her person while on any street, road, or other lands (i.e. outside his or her home or fixed place of business) without a valid FOID Card.20 It is also illegal for a “street gang member” without a valid FOID Card to possess or carry any firearm or ammunition that is immediately accessible in a vehicle located on any street, road, or other lands, except inside the person’s home or garage.21

Firearms Safety Training

An applicant for a new license to carry a concealed firearm must provide proof of completion of at least 16 hours of a firearms training course (or combination of courses) approved by DSP.22 The training must cover the following:

  • Firearm safety;23
  • Basic principles of marksmanship;24
  • Care, cleaning, loading, and unloading of a concealable firearm;25
  • All applicable Illinois and federal laws relating to the ownership, storage, carrying, and

transportation of a firearm;26 and

  • Instruction on the appropriate and lawful interaction with law enforcement while transporting or carrying a concealed firearm.27 In addition, an applicant for a new license must provide proof of certification by a certified instructor that the applicant passed a live fire exercise with a concealable firearm consisting of:28 1) A minimum of 30 rounds;29 and 2) 10 rounds from a distance of 5 yards, 10 rounds from a distance of 7 yards, and 10 rounds from a distance of 10 yards at a target approved by DSP.30

DSP and certified firearms instructors recognize up to eight hours of training already completed toward the 16-hour training requirement if the training course is approved by DSP and recognized under the laws of another state.31 DSP accepts up to eight hours of training as completed toward the 16-hour training requirement if the applicant is an active, retired, or honorably discharged member of the United States Armed Forces.32

A certified firearms instructor who knowingly provides or offers to provide a false certification that an applicant has completed required firearms training is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and the Department of State Police must revoke that instructor’s certification.33

Duration and Renewal

The license is valid for five years from the date of issuance.34 A license will be renewed for a period of five years upon receipt of a completed renewal application which includes a new background check.35 An applicant renewing his or her license must provide proof of completion of at least three hours of a firearms training course or combination of courses approved by DSP.36 An applicant for a renewal must submit a $150 fee.37

Reciprocity

A resident of a state or territory approved by DSP with firearm ownership, possession, and carrying laws that are substantially similar to Illinois’ requirements to obtain a license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act may apply for a non-resident license.38

Disclosure or Use of Information

DSP maintains a database of license applicants and licensees. The database is available to all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, State’s Attorneys, the Attorney General, and authorized court personnel.39 No law enforcement agency, State’s Attorney, Attorney General, or member or staff of the judiciary is to provide any information to a requester who is not entitled to it by law.40

Firearms instructors must maintain a record of each student’s performance for at least five years, and must make all records available to authorized personnel of DSP.41

The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board reports monthly to the Governor and the General Assembly on the number of objections received, and provides details of the circumstances in which the Board has denied licensure based on the objections of law enforcement or DSP.42 The report shall not contain any identifying information about the applicants.43 Meetings of the Board are not subject to the state Open Meetings Act and records of the Board are not subject to the state Freedom of Information Act.44

Location Restrictions

A licensee shall not knowingly carry a concealed firearm on or into:45

  • A public or private elementary or secondary school;46
  • A pre-school or child care facility;47
  • Any area under the control of an officer of the executive or legislative branch of

government;48

  • Any building designated for matters before a circuit court, appellate court, and/or

under the control of the Supreme Court;49

  • Any building under the control of a unit of local government;50
  • An adult or juvenile detention or correctional institution, prison, or jail;51
  • A public or private hospital or hospital affiliate, mental health facility, or nursing

home;52

  • Public transportation facilities, buses, trains or other forms of public transportation;53
  • An establishment that serves alcohol on its premises;54
  • Any public gathering or special event conducted on property open to the public that

requires the issuance of a permit from the unit of local government;55

  • Any public playground;56
  • Any public park, athletic area, or athletic facility under the control of a municipality or

park district;57

  • Any real property under the control of the Cook County Forest Preserve District;58
  • Any public or private community college, college, or university;59
  • Any building, real property, or parking area under the control of a gaming facility

licensed under the Riverboat Gambling Act or the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975, including an inter-track wagering location licensee;60

  • Any stadium, arena, or the real property or parking area under the control of a

stadium, arena, or any collegiate or professional sporting event;61

  • Any public library;62
  • Any airport;63
  • Any amusement park;64
  • Any zoo or museum;65
  • Any street, driveway, parking area, property, building, or facility owned, leased,

controlled or used by a nuclear energy, storage, weapons or development site or facility regulated by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission;66 or

  • Any area where firearms are prohibited under federal law.67

Dealer Regulations in Illinois

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

Illinois has no law requiring firearms dealers to obtain a state license or permit. However, Illinois law penalizes anyone who sells or gives a firearm while engaged in the business of selling firearms at wholesale or retail without being licensed as a federal firearms dealer.1  A person “engaged in the business” means a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in the activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but does not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms.2  “With the principal objective of livelihood and profit” means that the intent underlying the sale or disposition of firearms is predominantly one of obtaining livelihood and pecuniary gain, as opposed to other intents, such as improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection; however, proof of profit is not required as to a person who engages in the regular and repetitive purchase and disposition of firearms for criminal purposes or terrorism. 3

Firearms dealers are also subject to state laws governing gun sales generally.

For laws requiring dealers to:

For a list of laws applicable to both licensed and private firearm sellers, please see the Private Sales in Illinois  section.

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Illinois

Illinois prohibits any federally licensed firearms dealer, manufacturer, importer, or pawnbroker from manufacturing, selling or delivering to any unlicensed person a handgun having a barrel, slide, frame or receiver which is a die casting of zinc alloy or any other non-homogeneous metal that will melt or deform at a temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit.1 This prohibition does not apply to private/secondary sales (i.e., transfers by non-firearms dealers).2

In addition to the aforementioned statute regulating junk guns, the Illinois Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards, pursuant to the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 Ill. Comp. Stat. 505/1 et seq. For further details, view the report “The Illinois Attorney General’s Authority to Promulgate Handgun Safety Regulations Under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act,” prepared by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly “Legal Community Against Violence,” and the Firearms Law Center, in collaboration with Illinois Lawyers of Legal Community Against Violence, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. and the MacArthur Justice Center in 2003.3

For general information about the authority of state attorneys general to impose design safety standards on handguns, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. []

Disarming Prohibited Persons in Illinois

In Illinois, if a person is convicted of a felony and receives a sentence of probation or a conditional discharge, one of the conditions is that the person physically surrender at a time and place designated by the court his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and any and all firearms in his or her possession.1

If a person is charged with certain crimes, including forcible felony, stalking, domestic battery or any violations of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, a condition of release on bail must be that the individual surrender all firearms in his or her possession to a law enforcement officer designated by the court and surrender his or her FOID card to the clerk of the circuit court.2 The court may forego this condition if the circumstances of the case do not clearly warrant it or when its imposition would be impracticable.3 If the FOID card is confiscated, the clerk of the circuit court must mail the confiscated card to the Illinois State Police.4 All legally possessed firearms must be returned to the person upon the charges being dismissed, or if the person is found not guilty (unless found not guilty by reason of insanity).5

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

For circumstances when the surrender of firearms are required pursuant to a court’s domestic violence protective order, see the “Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued” subsection of the Domestic Violence & Firearms in Illinois section.

Admission to Mental Health Facilities

Any mental hospital that admits a person as an inpatient pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code must confiscate any firearms in the possession of that person at the time of admission, or at any time the firearms are discovered in the person’s possession during the course of hospitalization.6 The hospital must, as soon as possible following confiscation, transfer custody of the firearms to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and give written notice to the person from whom the firearm was confiscated of the identity and address of the law enforcement agency to which it has given the firearm. The law enforcement agency must maintain possession of any firearm it obtains pursuant to this subsection for a minimum of 90 days, and then dispose of the firearm after that period pursuant to state law.7

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Illinois

Illinois requires that a person have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card to purchase or possess firearms or ammunition.1 An applicant will be denied a FOID card, and a holder of a previously-issued FOID card will have his or her card revoked and seized, if he or she:

  • Was convicted within the past five years for battery, assault, aggravated assault,

violation of an order of protection, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction, in which a firearm was used or possessed;2 or

  • Has ever been convicted of domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery in Illinois

or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction.3

Under Illinois law, a person commits domestic battery if he or she knowingly, without legal justification: (1) causes bodily harm to a family or household member, or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a family or household member.4 “Family or household members” include spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and certain caregivers.5 A person commits aggravated domestic battery if, in committing domestic battery, he or she intentionally or knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement.6

In addition to the aforementioned prohibitions, a FOID card will be denied or revoked if the applicant or cardholder is prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms or ammunition by federal law.7 Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by anyone convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”8 Illinois law provides a procedure for determining whether certain crimes qualify as “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence” for purposes of federal law.9

When a person is charged with a crime that may qualify, the state may serve notice on the defendant alleging that a conviction would subject defendant to the federal firearm prohibitions.10 The defendant may admit that the conviction would subject him or her to the federal prohibitions or, if the defendant says nothing or denies the claim, the state bears the burden of proving to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense is one that would constitute a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under federal law.11

If, under the procedures outlined above, a court determines that a person has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” that would disqualify him or her from purchasing or possessing firearms under federal law, then the court clerk must notify the Department of State Police Firearm Owner’s Identification Card Office who will then report that determination to the FBI.12

In Illinois, upon conviction of domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery, the court must advise the defendant orally or in writing that, “[a]n individual convicted of domestic battery [or aggravated domestic battery] may be subject to federal criminal penalties for possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving any firearm or ammunition in violation of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) and (9)).”13

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders

Illinois law provides that a person who is subject to an existing order of protection, interim order of protection, emergency order of protection, or plenary order of protection issued under state law may not lawfully possess weapons under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act.14

In general, under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, a court may issue an order prohibiting a person from possessing firearms if that person is subject to a protection order meeting the following criteria:

  • the order was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
  • the order restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
  • the order (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.15

However, a court may issue an emergency protective order prohibiting a person from possessing firearms without giving notice to the subject of the order if the court determines that the harm posed by the subject’s continued possession of firearms would be likely to occur if the subject was given notice of the petitioner’s efforts to obtain judicial relief.16

The Illinois Department of State Police (“DSP”) must deny an application for, or revoke and seize, a FOID card (thereby prohibiting such person from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition), if DSP finds that the applicant or cardholder is or was at the time of issuance subject to an existing order of protection.17 Prior to receiving a FOID card, an applicant must prove that he or she is not subject to an existing order of protection prohibiting him or her from possessing a firearm or ammunition.18

A court that is issuing a “stalking no contact order” may also prohibit the defendant from possessing a FOID card or from possessing or purchasing firearms.19 In such a situation, the court must confiscate the subject’s FOID card and immediately return the card to DSP.20

Removal or Surrender of Firearms Upon Conviction for a Domestic Violence Misdemeanor

A person convicted of a crime that qualifies, pursuant to the procedures established by Illinois law,21 as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under federal law must physically surrender his or her FOID card and any and all firearms in his or her possession at a time and place designated by the court. The court must return the person’s FOID card to DSP. ((730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(9).))

Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued

If a domestic violence protection order issued under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act prohibits a respondent from possessing firearms, any FOID card in the respondent’s possession must be ordered by the court to be turned over to a local law enforcement agency, which must then mail the FOID card to DSP for safekeeping. The court must also issue a warrant for the seizure of any firearm in respondent’s possession, to be kept by local law enforcement for safekeeping.22  The period of safekeeping must be equivalent to the duration of the order and any firearms and respondent’s FOID card, if unexpired, must be returned to the respondent at the time the order of protection expires.23

Upon expiration of the period of safekeeping, if the firearms or FOID card cannot be returned to respondent because respondent cannot be located, fails to respond to requests to retrieve the firearms, or is not lawfully eligible to possess a firearm, upon petition from the local law enforcement agency, the court may order the agency to destroy the firearms, use the firearms for training purposes or for any other application as deemed appropriate by the agency, or turn the guns over to a third party lawfully eligible to possess firearms who does not reside with respondent.24

Protective orders prohibiting firearm possession under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act are available to the following persons:

  • Any person abused by a family or household member;
  • Any high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family

or household member;

  • Any minor child or dependent adult in the care of such person; and
  • Any person residing or employed at a private home or public shelter which is housing

an abused family or household member.25

Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

Illinois requires law enforcement to seize and remove firearms at the scene of a domestic violence incident only if there is probable cause to believe that the particular firearms were used to commit the incident of abuse.26 A firearm must be returned to its owner when no longer needed as evidence.27

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The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) is the oldest and largest statewide organization in the U.S. working to prevent the devastation caused by firearms. Founded in 1975 by four suburban Chicago women concerned about the tragic consequences of handgun proliferation and availability, ICHV works on a variety of fronts to educate, raise public awareness, and build coalitions to enact change in laws and behavior. For 40 years, ICHV has been a leader among state gun violence prevention groups.

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