Own and Transport Firearms Legally in Illinois




As an attorney I have observed that Illinois law regarding the ownership and transportation of firearms is not well understood by the general public. After having lived in several other states, it is my opinion that Illinois’ gun laws are some of the strictest, if not the strictest, in the nation. I believe my opinion is supported by the fact that until recently, Illinois was the only state to completely ban the concealed carry of firearms.

Possessing or transporting a firearm or firearm ammunition in Illinois is very regulated and can lead to criminal charges with stiff penalties if not done properly. An Illinois resident who wants to legally acquire or possess a firearm or firearm ammunition must obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card in their name. Non residents are not required to have a FOID Card.

FOID Card applications can be obtained at most firearms dealers, sporting goods stores, and can also be downloaded from the Illinois State Police web site at www.isp.state.il.us .New Illinois residents must wait sixty days after obtaining an Illinois Driver’s License or Illinois Identification Card to apply for a FOID Card.

Failing to transport a firearm properly is a crime in Illinois and is governed under the criminal statutes at 720 ILCS 5/24-1(4) et seq. In order to legally transport a firearm it must be broken down in a non-functioning state; or not immediately accessible; or unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid FOID Card.

For a firearm to be considered to be “broken down in a non functioning state”, the firearm must be disassembled, making it unable to be used. An example of this would be to remove the slide or barrel from the firearm so it is unable to be discharged.

If a non resident is transporting a firearm while traveling through Illinois it is advisable that they break down their firearm in a non functioning state while transporting it; or have the firearm not immediately accessible; or unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container. Further, a person traveling through Illinois can keep a firearm in a hotel room assuming no local ordinances bar them from doing so and the firearm was carried into the room and transported in the vehicle lawfully. It is illegal to leave a firearm accessible to a minor under the age of 14 years.

As one can see, unlike many other states, Illinois very strictly regulates who may own a firearm and how those firearms are transported.

If you have further questions, please visit my website at www.il-crimlaw.com and complete my on-line submission form.


The use of the internet or this form of communication with the firm or individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information provided above is not to be considered legal advice and is intended for educational purposes only.

Miller Law Offices represents clients throughout the entire state of Illinois, including, but not limited to, the cities of Peoria, Pekin, Bartonville, Morton, Washington, Eureka, Pontiac, Cambridge, Dunlap, Bloomington, Normal and cases in Peoria County, Henry County, Livingston County, McLean County, Tazewell County, Knox County and Woodford County.

Article Author: C. Matthew Miller


C. Matthew Miller is the sole practitioner at Miller Law Offices, P.C. He has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and the American Society of Legal Advocates as a Top 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer Under 40 in the State of Illinois. Mr. Miller concentrates his practice in Criminal Law, DUI, Criminal Record Expungements, Divorce and Child Custody.