Illinois State Law Summary

Posted on January 2, 2012


Last updated December 9, 2013

In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Illinois ranked 8th out of 50 – having some of the strongest gun laws in the country.

In 2013, the Illinois legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.

enacted in 2013

Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation

IL H 1189 Requires private firearms sellers to use the State Police’s dial-up system to verify that the buyer is the holder of a valid FOID card before making a transfer; requires owners of firearms to report loss or theft of firearms.

Laws that Weaken Gun Regulation

IL H 183 Allow carrying concealed handguns in public with a permit.


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; and
  • Requires firearms owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement.

Illinois does not, however:

In 2010, Illinois had the 12th lowest rate of gun deaths among the states. Even this relatively low ranking means that 1,058 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.

Illinois Firearms Laws

For details about specific firearms laws in Illinois, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.