A Guide for New Resident Gun Owners in Illinois

Congratulations on bucking the trend and actually moving into Illinois. Depending upon what state you are coming from, you might be in for a big surprise, especially when it comes to our complex and convoluted gun laws. The following article will help guide you through some of the ins and outs of being a gun owner and staying in the good graces of the law.

Some of this article is in flux with the passage of the Protect Illinois Communities Act on January 10th 2023. This article will be updated very soon to include those changes.

We’ll start at the top. Illinois requires all gun owners to be registered. This is called the Firearm Owner Identification card, or FOID for short. The FOID has been around since 1968 and all Illinois resident gun owners must obtain and possess a FOID card on their person when purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition.


The FOID card may be obtained at the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau (ISPFSB) website at www.ispfsb.com. As a new resident, you do have a grace period for the FOID requirement. That grace period is 60 days from the time you obtain your state driver’s license or identification card. Please be aware you must obtain a driver’s license or state ID within 90 days of taking up residency in Illinois. You may obtain your driver’s license at a secretary of state facility.

If you wish to carry a firearm you may do so one of two ways. First, with a FOID card but ONLY on your property or the property of another with their permission. This “FOID CARRY” allows you to carry in very limited areas (in your home or fixed place of business), but does allow for open carry or concealed carry of long guns or handguns. But if you decide to FOID carry while mowing your law, for example, don’t step onto the public sidewalk as you will immediately become a felon. also, welcome to Illinois, even if it is legal you can be arrested.

An Illinois concealed carry license will allow you to carry a concealed handgun in most public places. However there are numerous gun-free zones, and the gun-free zone sign does carry the force of law. To obtain a concealed carry license, a 16-hour class will be necessary. There are numerous Concealed Carry instructors in Illinois. A complete list is located at the ISPFSB website, or learn more about the Alpha Koncepts Concealed Carry training classes.

Carrying a firearm and Transportation of a firearm is not the same.  One may transport a firearm in Illinois in various different ways. While “unloaded and enclosed in a case” is the most common form of transportation, please read this GunRights4Illinois article, which goes into much greater detail on the subject:  Transport your Firearm Legally in Illinois – Illinois State Police

Gun Bans are plentiful in Illinois, mostly the closer you get to the Chicago area. The city of Chicago LOVES gun bans! But so does parts of the ritzy North Shore community such as Deerfield and Highland park, as well as some other suburbs, Oak Park, Aurora, etc… While the ISPFSB does maintain a list of these gun bans, I have found that listing to often be outdated. You may view the listing at www.ispfsb.com, however, you might also consider visiting one of the following 3 websites to review municipal ordinances:

Additional Resources for New Resident Gun Owners in Illinois

Visit the ISPFSB FAQ for frequently asked questions about FOID and Concealed Carry.

Visit the Alpha Koncepts Illinois Concealed Carry FAQ

Read the Full Text of the Firearm Owner Identification Act, Compiled Statute.

Read the Full Text of the Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Act, Compiled Statute.

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