What is required to possess a gun or ammunition in Illinois?
Illinois residents are required to have a Firearm Owners Identification Card, issued by Illinois State Police following a background check. FOID cards are not available to people convicted of a felony, domestic violence, assault or battery, people who are the subjects of orders of protection, people who have been a patient of a mental institution within the past five years, people who have been determined by courts to be mentally defective, and illegal immigrants.
A FOID card is valid for 10 years.
Non-Illinois residents do not need a FOID card; they can possess a gun in Illinois if they are permitted to possess a gun in their home states.
What is required to buy a gun in Illinois?
A buyer must have a FOID card, and show it to the seller. After purchasing a gun, there is a waiting period before the buyer can take possession: 72 hours for handguns, and 24 hours for long guns.
Licensed gun dealers are required to keep a record of the sale for at least 20 years. A private individual is required to keep a record of the sale for at least 10 years.
To purchase ammunition, the buyer must present a FOID card to the seller.
Are background checks done at the time of the gun purchase?
Yes, if the gun is purchased from a licensed dealer (a typical gun shop or retail store) or at a gun show. Those sellers have to call in to an automated State Police system, which verifies the validity of the buyer's FOID card and again conducts a background check.
A background check is not required if an individual sells a gun to another individual.
What about concealed-carry?
Illinois is the only state that does not allow some form of concealed-carry of firearms by citizens, and does not honor the concealed-carry licenses issued by other states. However, in December, a federal appeals court ruled that Illinois' ban on concealed-carry is unconstitutional, and gave the state 180 days to come up with a law allowing it. If no law is passed, carrying of guns in public will be allowed with no restrictions. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is appealing the ruling.
What if a child gets a hold of someone's gun?
A gun owner can be charged with a crime if a child younger than 14 gets hold of a person's unsecured gun and causes a death or great bodily injury. An unsecured gun is one that is not in a locked container or secured with a trigger lock.
As for buying guns, Illinoisans must be at least 18 to purchase a long gun and at least 21 to purchase a handgun.
Are there any types of guns that are illegal?
Yes, they include fully automatic guns, commonly known as machine guns. They've also been outlawed for decades under federal law. Also illegal in Illinois are shotguns and rifles that do not have a certain minimum length, commonly known as "sawed-off" shotguns or rifles.