Posted on January 2, 2012
Last updated March 2, 2012
In our publication Gun Laws Matter 2012: Understanding the Link Between Weak Laws and Gun Violence, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 29 different firearms-related policy areas. Illinois ranked 8th out of 50 – having some of the strongest gun laws in the country. 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;
- Prohibits the carrying of concealed handguns in public;
- Prohibits the open carrying of firearms in public;
- 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;
- Requires that all prospective firearms purchasers at gun shows undergo a background check before being transferred a firearm; and
- Grants broad authority to local jurisdictions to regulate firearms.
Illinois does not, however:
- License or otherwise regulate firearms dealers;
- Require firearm owners to register their firearms;
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Impose restrictions on purchases or sales of multiple firearms;
- Require that gun owners report to law enforcement the loss or theft of a firearm; or
- Regulate private firearm transfers beyond such transfers at gun shows.
In 2009, 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.