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Illinois Gun Rights

An Overview of Gun Laws in Illinois


Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

Yes. Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Enacted in 1960.

Concealed Carry

Illinois does not permit concealed carry. The state is the only in the U.S. that does not have some type of carry law and one of only two (Wisconsin being the other) that does not issue any concealed carry permits.

In 2011, a strong push was being made in the Illinois state legislature to institute a concealed carry permit system.

Castle Doctrine

While Illinois has not adopted a modern castle law, it does have a statute on the books protecting citizens’ right to self-defense in the event of an attack within their home. The law does not require a duty to retreat but does require that victims “reasonably believe” that an attack that could cause serious physical harm is imminent. The law allows for the use of physical or deadly force only when the invader has forcefully entered the home or when the homeowner reasonably believes that a felony is about to be committed. Illinois provides immunity from civil liability for residents using physical or deadly force under such circumstances.

Pro-Gun Provisions

Illinois has a range law providing protection for firing ranges but no other notable pro-gun provisions.

Open carry is not permissible in Illinois, making it illegal to carry weapons in any form or fashion in Illinois outside one’s home or business except for the purposes of hunting, range shooting or similar activities.


Gun bans: None statewide, but some weapons — such as handguns and assault weapons — are banned in some cities and counties.

Waiting periods for gun purchases: Three days for handguns and two for long gun purchases.

License or permit to purchase guns: A Firearms Owner Identification Card (FOID) is required to purchase any gun or ammunition. The cards are issued by the Illinois State Police after application is made and a background check is performed. FOIDs are issued to persons under the age of 21 only with the consent of one’s parent or legal guardian, and then only if the parent or legal guardian is not ineligible for obtaining a FOID. As a result, persons between the ages of 18 and 21 cannot purchase a long gun if their parent is a convicted felon, classified as mentally ill or otherwise ineligible for a FOID. Additionally, residents under the age of 21 are prohibited from receiving a FOID if they’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense.

Registration of guns: Not required statewide, but is required by some local governments, the most notable being Chicago.

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