How to Buy a Gun in Illinois (2022 UPDATED) Practical Guide

How to Buy a Gun in Illinois
Alfred Mendoza

Most people buy guns for several purposes – from improving their hunting skills to practicing self-defense. As for the state of Illinois, there are federal laws and local laws that must be considered before one can buy a new gun.

Our team spent 48 hours coming up with an in-depth guide to help you figure out how to buy a gun in Illinois.

5 Essentials in Buying a Gun in Ohio

1. Check Residency

If you want to know how to buy a gun in Illinois, then the first step is that you must be an Illinois resident holding a FOID Card. Residents of Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, and non-residents or non-US citizens with a valid license for hunting, participants of a gun show, and attendees of the World Shooting Complex can acquire firearms in the state of Illinois [1].

2. Meet Age Requirement 

Illinois law requires a minimum age of 18 years old for handgun possession and prohibits individuals under 18 to use any firearms (whether you’re a resident of Illinois or not). This is to ensure that an individual is capable enough to handle a firearm.

3. Possess Current State ID or Driver’s License 

Before becoming a gun owner, you would also need to acquire an Illinois driver’s license or state ID card. This document is needed for a FOID Card application, together with your details and a colored photograph.

4. Valid FOID Card

As mentioned earlier, the state requires an individual to be at least 18 years old to possess handguns.

However, to receive approval and get a FOID number, an individual must be 21 years old. 

If an individual is below 21, there must be consent from a parent or guardian.

The state issues a valid FOID card acknowledged by its neighbor but does not recognize the Concealed Carry License (CCL) from other states.

Valid FOID Card

5. Background Check

Before successfully purchasing and taking a firearm home from a store or a gun show, background checks will be conducted first to ensure you don’t have any outstanding criminal records. This is to ensure that the possession of guns or any ammunition is granted in accordance with federal law.

6. Waiting Period

Once an individual has a FOID number (which can be acquired on the Illinois State Police website for about $10), the waiting period for purchasing long guns and handguns will take 72 hours from a licensed dealer or gun store with a federal firearms license. Keep your purchase receipt as it indicates the release time.

What is a FOID card?

FOID stands for Firearm Owners Identification which serves as a background check on Illinois residents before acquiring firearms. The application process for the FOID card is done through the ISP website, and requires a driver’s license number or a state ID card, and has a 10-year expiration date.

Furthermore, processing a FOID card has several waiting periods depending on the application or how well the background check went with the state police. For first-time applicants, the waiting period normally takes 30 days, according to state law. As for FOID renewal, the release time can take up to 60 working days.

An individual granted with FOID can acquire a new gun and transfer a licensed firearm. Although ISP supports firearm acquisition, the state does not allow open carry. Rather, CCL is permitted, which allows carrying a gun concealed in a vehicle or a person. 

Do take note that keeping a FOID is important to prevent your CCL from getting revoked.

Difference Between Buying a Gun from a Dealer vs a Private Seller

Difference Between Buying a Gun from a Dealer vs a Private Seller

The process of purchasing a new gun from a gun dealer vs person to person transaction differs in the acquisition or transfer process. If you are planning to purchase from a gun store, federal laws require you to fill out the BATFE Form 4473 needed to conduct an automated dial-up check for every gun purchase. 

The form includes necessary details about the individual purchasing a firearm, such as a driver’s license number and FOID expiration date. Moreover, Gat Guns requires gun buyers to fill out a Hold Harmless Agreement and partake in a brief demonstration of operating a firearm. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy a firearm from a private seller, the gun owner should be the one to conduct the buyer’s FOID verification at the ISP website. Afterward, the website will provide an approval number needed to perform the transfer of firearm ownership successfully.

Rules Surrounding Purchasing Different Gun Types

Firearm purchases, whether for a gun show or hunting purposes, are made easy by the ISP for law-abiding individuals, and the state has strict provisions to prevent unfit individuals from possessing a firearm. 

As the law provides, residents who are 18 years old and above can acquire a long gun, while those who are 21 years old and above can also acquire handguns.


Yes, you can buy a gun online if you have a FOID and reside in the state. In addition, residents of other states can acquire a firearm if they are partaking in a gun show, have a license for hunting, and are granted by the United States to possess a firearm.

Not really. Although a gun dealer can sell a gun right away, the law requires at least 24 hours to pass before the transfer of long firearms is completed and 72 hours for a handheld gun.

So, How Do You Buy a Gun in Illinois?

To sum it up, acquiring a firearm from a gun store in Illinois requires one to be a state resident with FOID, and non-residents should all be of legal age. It is also important that you don’t have any criminal records and are mentally able to possess firearms.

These steps and requirements are essential before purchasing a firearm from a gun store to ensure that you are of sound mind and are responsible enough to have a firearm in your possession.



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