Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Domestic Violence & Firearms in Illinois.’ Who Can Have a Gun. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 5 March
Domestic Violence and Firearms in Illinois
Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants
Illinois requires that a person have a Firearm Owner's Identification ("FOID") card to purchase or possess firearms or ammunition. 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; or
- Has ever been convicted of domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery in Illinois or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction.
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.
"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.
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. Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by certain domestic violence misdemeanants.
In Illinois, upon conviction of domestic battery, the court must advise the defendant orally or in writing that, "[a]n individual convicted of 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))."
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders
Illinois law provides that a domestic violence order of protection may prohibit the abuser from possessing firearms if the order of protection meets certain requirements. Under a law Illinois enacted in 2011, these requirements are identical to those that trigger the federal law prohibiting firearm possession by abusers subject to protective orders.
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 prohibiting possession of firearms.
Moreover, a FOID card applicant will be denied a card, and a holder of a previously-issued FOID card will have his or her card revoked and seized, if he or she is prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms or ammunition by any federal law.
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.
A court that is issuing a "stalking no contact order" may also prohibit the defendant from possessing firearms.
Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued
Domestic violence orders of protection in circumstances where the federal law prohibits possession of firearms must require that any firearms in the possession of the respondent, as well as the respondent's FOID card, be turned over to the local law enforcement agency for safekeeping. The period of safekeeping must be equivalent to the duration of the order. The firearm or firearms and FOID card must be returned to the respondent at the expiration of the order.
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.
Protective orders prohibiting firearm possession 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.
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. A firearm must be returned to its owner when no longer needed as evidence…
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]