Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Firearm Prohibitions in Illinois.’ Who Can Have a Gun. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 13 April
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) are not subject to background checks in Illinois, except at gun shows…
[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]