Monday, November 9, 2009

Primer on Firearms in Illinois

Talking to a bunch of friends this weekend showed that many of them were interested in firearms but had no idea how to go about it so I gave them some basic instruction on the legalities and requirements to legally purchase a firearm in Illinois. Since I'm sure there are others out there, I decided to put together a basic primer.

First you need an Illinois Firearms Owner ID card aka FOID. The application can be obtained here. You fill out the application, get a passport photo, and send those along w/ $10 to the Illinois State Police. Within 30 days you should get your handy-dandy card good for 10 years.

What this card does is allow you to legally purchase a firearm and/or ammunition in Illinois. You cannot legally buy either without one. Note that this is NOT a license to carry a firearm openly or concealed. We do not have that in this state.

Once you obtain your FOID card, there are several ways to purchase a firearm. You can go through an Federal Firearms Dealer (FFL) at his/her place of business (you can find these online or in the Yellow Pages. There you can pick out what you want and fill out a form 4473 which is required by Federal Law. In this state there is a 24 hr waiting period to purchase long guns (rifles or shotguns) and a 3 day waiting period on handguns. Yes. That means you have to go back.

You can also purchase a firearm from another private citizen. You both must have FOID's and show them to do this legally. You may want to write down their information. The FOID card is a defacto background check and you don't need to fill out a 4473 form. Waiting periods still apply from the time the agreement to purchase is made.

Going to a gunshow is another method. FFL dealers and private citizens both sell at most gun shows. Here though, everyone fills out a 4473 and the waiting periods usually require a transfer of the firearm to an FFL local to you. How they organize it depends on the show so be sure to ask for details.

Online purchases can be made through companies or online auction sites like GunsAmerica or GunBroker. These must go through an FFL and will likely involve transfer fees.

Illinois also allows the private purchase of long arms in states with connecting borders such as Indiana, etc. but not in states w/ unconnected borders like Texas et al. That would require transfer through FFL dealers.

Now as to what you can own, that's a whole other issue. With the exception of Chicago and Cook County which we will get into later, you can generally own anything except machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. Handguns, rifles of all sorts, shotguns. All good.

Chicago. Now Chicago's a whole different world. Basically just take everything I said above and throw it out. Handguns are banned entirely. Many types of long guns are banned both in the city and Cook County. The long guns that are allowed need to be registered yearly (unless you're an alderman). We're working on fixing this but it's still going to be awhile.

Those are the basics. There's lots of other details but this will get you through your first couple of purchases. For more information, a great place is IllinoisCarry.


Linoge said...

So much for "not regulated", eh?

kaveman said...

Once we have incorporation, maybe Illinois can join the rest of the union.

BobG said...

Sad state of affairs. Here in Utah all you need is to pass the NIC or have a CCW permit to buy a firearm.

Crustyrusty said...

And people wonder why I left Illinois. Here in KY you can buy from a private citizen with no record of the transaction, no waiting periods, you can open carry, get a CCDW with a class and the requisite money... (I know, we're not totally there yet.)

Mike Gallo said...

Just to clarify, only IL residents are required to have FOIDs to purchase ammo or posess a firearm. Out-of-State visitors are not held to the FOID requirements.

Pathfinder said...

Sounds like things got worse since I left the PR illinois in 2003.

Here in ND I walk into a store with cash and my CCW and walk out in seconds with as many firearms I have cash for.

With private sales - no nothing other than cash. Nice.

Life can be good.