How to Properly Carry a Gun in Illinois

If you are an Illinois resident, you must have a valid Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) to legally possess guns or ammunition. The FOID card is issued by the Illinois State Police, but can be denied to you if any law enforcement agency believes you are a threat to yourself or others. During processing of your FOID application, the state police will run your name through a background check system maintained by the FBI. 

During this background check, the authorities will gather information on any past convictions for crimes. Many felonies, domestic violence convictions, and assault or battery convictions will prevent you from getting a FOID card. Additionally, you are prohibited from possessing a gun or ammunition if you have been committed to a mental institution within five years of your applying for a firearms license.

Concealed Carry Permit

If you want to get a concealed carry permit, there are additional steps you must meet after receiving your FOID card. You must be at least 21 years old and complete a safety and training course to be considered for a concealed carry license. Upon completion of the course, which lasts 16 hours, your permit will be taken up by the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board. 

Again, your past record will be scrutinized as the board considers granting you a license. The application also requires a processing fee (usually $150), a recent photograph of you, and an identification card (other than your FOID card), among other items. In nearly every situation, open carry of firearms is illegal in Illinois. There are also places where concealed carry is prohibited, even for license holders. Such places include public transportation, schools, hospitals, and other public areas. 

Buying a Gun

Once you’ve gotten your FOID card (and concealed carry permit), you are now ready to purchase a firearm. The state prohibits the sale and possession of certain types of guns, including automatic weapons and sawed-off firearms. Presuming you are buying a legal firearm, you must first present your valid FOID card to the seller, even if the seller is a friend, family member, or other individual you are personally close to. If you are purchasing a firearm at a licensed dealer, you will have to wait 72 hours after purchase to legally possess a gun. 

If you are transporting a gun to your home after purchasing it, you must disassemble the gun during this process. If you have a concealed carry permit, however, you may transport a loaded handgun in your car. It is imperative to renew both your FOID card and concealed carry license to legally possess firearms in Illinois.


It can, at times, be confusing to know exactly where and when you are allowed to conceal carry your firearm in Illinois. The law can be even more complicated for non-residents who wish to have their firearm on their person. If you have been caught up in this complex system, contact us today for a free consultation.

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Abdallah Law

Abdallah Law has been a successful law firm serving the people of Chicago and the surrounding area for years. This success can be attributed to one thing: Our team. At Abdallah Law, protecting our clients’ rights and safeguarding their liberties is the driving force of everything we do.

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