All sellers are required to conduct background checks on prospective firearm purchasers at gun shows in Illinois.1 Any person who is not a licensed dealer who desires to transfer or sell a firearm at a gun show must first request that the Illinois Department of State Police (“DSP”) conduct a background check on the prospective recipient.2 The DSP must assign a unique identification number to the transfer, if approved, which is to be provided to the transferor.3 Approvals are valid for 30 days.4 The unique identification number must be recorded by the transferor on the record of the transfer, which (like all transfer records) must be kept for a minimum of 10 years.5
“Gun show” is defined as “an event or function: (1) at which the sale and transfer of firearms is the regular and normal course of business and where 50 or more firearms are displayed, offered, or exhibited for sale, transfer, or exchange; or (2) at which not less than 10 gun show vendors display, offer, or exhibit for sale, sell, transfer, or exchange firearms.6 A gun show includes the entire premises provided for the event, including parking areas.7
Non-residents of Illinois cannot purchase handguns at gun shows, but may buy rifles or shotguns and ammunition for such long guns if they are residents of Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin or Kentucky, or are residents of another state with a valid non-resident hunting license.8 The non-residents of Illinois must not be otherwise prohibited by the laws of Illinois, their state of domicile, or federal law from purchasing or possessing such guns.9 Non-residents who purchase firearms at gun shows are not subject to the statutory waiting periods.10
See the Private Sales in Illinois section for additional state laws that apply at gun shows.
See our Gun Shows policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.