Numerous Illinois statutes dictate various legal requirements on How to Sell a Gun in Illinois for private persons. Those statutes can become like a spider web of requirements. This article will compile and summarize all the requirements on How to Sell a Gun in Illinois.
Much of this article is in flux with the passage of the Protect Illinois Communities Act on January 10th 2023. This article will be updated to include those changes. For example, as of July 1st 2023 private sales will be banned in Illinois and a middle man will be needed to facilitate the transfer.
Summary of Requirements on How to Sell a Gun in Illinois.
- The Seller must physically see the buyer’s Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) or Illinois Concealed Carry License (CCL).
- The Seller must perform a Person to Person FOID check to ensure the buyer’s FOID card is not revoked. This check is performed at the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau website or by calling (217) 782-7980.
- The Seller is required to keep a record of sale for not less than ten years. This record must contain the make, model, and serial number of the firearm being sold. The record must also contain the buyer’s name and address as well as the dates of sale. Download a sample bill of sale:
- The seller is required to withhold the transfer of the firearm after the agreement has been made. The waiting period is 72 hours for both long guns as well as handguns. (Please note as of January 1st, 2019, the waiting period shall be 72 hours for both long guns as well as handguns.)
- If the sale is made at a gun show in Illinois, the Illinois State Police must perform a background check on the buyer, the same background check a gun store would perform for the sale of a gun. This applies to private transfers as well.
The requirements on how to sell a gun in Illinois apply to gun show sales, as well as internet sales of guns. There are some exclusions to some of the above requirements on how to sell a gun in Illinois, continue reading this article to learn more about those exclusions. Also, the following paragraphs of this article shall cite the sources and statutes, for the above-compiled requirements. Whenever a private individual, not a gun store, sells a firearm across state lines (meaning to a person who resides in another state), a federally licensed firearm dealer must be utilized in the buyer’s state of residence to facilitate the transfer.
Please note that this article is for educational purposes and the claims made in this article or on this website may not have been reviewed by an attorney. Please consult your attorney with questions or for clarification.
(430 ILCS 65/3) (from Ch. 38, par. 83-3)
Sec. 3. (a) Except as provided in Section 3a, no person may knowingly transfer, or cause to be transferred, any firearm, firearm ammunition, stun gun, or taser to any person within this State unless the transferee with whom he deals displays either: (1) a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card which has previously been issued in his or her name by the Department of State Police under the provisions of this Act; or (2) a currently valid license to carry a concealed firearm which has previously been issued in his or her name by the Department of State Police under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. In addition, all firearm, stun gun, and taser transfers by federally licensed firearm dealers are subject to Section 3.1.
Layman’s translation: You may not sell a firearm to another Illinois resident unless you have seen the FOID card or concealed carry license. If you sell a firearm across state lines, you must follow ATF regulations. See: Can an Illinois Resident Buy a Gun in Another State?
430 ILCS 65/3) (from Ch. 38, par. 83-3)
(a-5) Any person who is not a federally licensed firearm dealer and who desires to transfer or sell a firearm while that person is on the grounds of a gun show must, before selling or transferring the firearm, request the Department of State Police to conduct a background check on the prospective recipient of the firearm in accordance with Section 3.1.
Layman’s translation: If you are selling a gun at a gun show, you must contact the State Police to perform a background check on the buyer. There is no such thing as the “gun show loophole”.
430 ILCS 65/3) (from Ch. 38, par. 83-3)
(a-10) Notwithstanding item (2) of subsection (a) of this Section, any person who is not a federally licensed firearm dealer and who desires to transfer or sell a firearm or firearms to any person who is not a federally licensed firearm dealer shall, before selling or transferring the firearms, contact the Department of State Police with the transferee’s or purchaser’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card number to determine the validity of the transferee’s or purchaser’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. This subsection shall not be effective until January 1, 2014. The Department of State Police may adopt rules concerning the implementation of this subsection. The Department of State Police shall provide the seller or transferor an approval number if the purchaser’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card is valid. Approvals issued by the Department for the purchase of a firearm pursuant to this subsection are valid for 30 days from the date of issue.
Layman’s translation: The seller of the firearm is required to contact the Illinois State Police at www.ispfsb.com or by calling (217) 782-7980 to perform a person to person check, and verify the buyer’s FOID card is still valid. The ISP will provide an approval number to the seller, which is valid for 30 days.
430 ILCS 65/3) (from Ch. 38, par. 83-3)
(b) Any person within this State who transfers or causes to be transferred any firearm, stun gun, or taser shall keep a record of such transfer for a period of 10 years from the date of transfer. Such record shall contain the date of the transfer; the description, serial number or other information identifying the firearm, stun gun, or taser if no serial number is available; and, if the transfer was completed within this State, the transferee’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card number and any approval number or documentation provided by the Department of State Police pursuant to subsection (a-10) of this Section. On or after January 1, 2006, the record shall contain the date of application for transfer of the firearm. On demand of a peace officer such transferor shall produce for inspection such record of transfer. If the transfer or sale took place at a gun show, the record shall include the unique identification number. Failure to record the unique identification number or approval number is a petty offense.
Layman’s translation: When selling a gun always keep a record for 10 years including the date of transfer (sale), a description of the firearm (chrome smith and Wesson revolver), the serial number of the firearm, or any other identifying information about the firearm, the buyer’s FOID number, and the approval number from the state for the person to person check. Also, this record of sale must be shown to law enforcement upon their request. And, if you sold the firearm at a gun show, thus utilizing the state of Illinois background check requirement, it must also include the ID number provided by the state.
(720 ILCS 5/24-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-3)
(Text of Section before amendment by P.A. 100-606)
Sec. 24-3. Unlawful sale or delivery of firearms.
(A) A person commits the offense of unlawful sale or delivery of firearms when he or she knowingly does any of the following:
(a) Sells or gives any firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person to any person under 18 years of age.
(b) Sells or gives any firearm to a person under 21 years of age who has been convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or adjudged delinquent.
(c) Sells or gives any firearm to any narcotic addict.
(d) Sells or gives any firearm to any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this or any other jurisdiction.
(e) Sells or gives any firearm to any person who has been a patient in a mental institution within the past 5 years. In this subsection (e):
“Mental institution” means any hospital, institution, clinic, evaluation facility, mental health center, or part thereof, which is used primarily for the care or treatment of persons with mental illness.
“Patient in a mental institution” means the person was admitted, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to a mental institution for mental health treatment, unless the treatment was voluntary and solely for an alcohol abuse disorder and no other secondary substance abuse disorder or mental illness.
(f) Sells or gives any firearms to any person who is a person with an intellectual disability.
(g) Delivers any firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person, incidental to a sale, without withholding delivery of such firearm for at least 72 hours after application for its purchase has been made, or delivers any rifle, shotgun or other long gun, or a stun gun or taser, incidental to a sale, without withholding delivery of such rifle, shotgun or other long gun, or a stun gun or taser for at least 24 hours after application for its purchase has been made.
Layman’s translation: You may not sell a handgun to a person less than 18 years old. You may not sell any gun to a person under the age of 21 who has been convicted of a crime, other than traffic offenses. You may not sell a firearm to a drug addict. You may not sell a firearm to someone who has been a patient in a mental institution unless they volunteered for alcohol rehabilitation. You may not sell a firearm to a person with an intellectual disability, however, this broad term is not defined. The seller shall be required to withhold delivery of any firearm for 72 hours.
From the Illinois State Police Licensed Dealer Portal…
“For purposes of this paragraph (g), “application” means when the buyer and seller reach an agreement to purchase a firearm.”
In People vs. Hurtado, 208 Ill.App.3d 110 (2nd District, 1991), the Second District Appellate Court took the position that “application” was a “request”. The court said:
“We therefore conclude that the legislature intended that the term “application” have the meaning of “request” and the statutory requirement is an informal request to purchase a firearm. Since we believe the legislature intended that “application” mean “request,” we shall use the terms “application” and “request” interchangeably. “
Illinois statute picks up on the Court’s reasoning in Hurtado, and formalizes that there is in fact intent to buy a firearm by virtue of an agreement. The statute does not spell out what needs to be in the agreement, or the manner in which it is to be memorialized.
ISP concludes that the waiting period to purchase a firearm as defined under state law, 720 ILCS 5/24-3(g) begins when the buyer and seller reach the “agreement” to purchase the firearm and that agreement may be formalized in a number of ways. As the FFL will be required to answer any questions raised by ATF inspectors as to how the waiting period was observed, ISP suggest that FFLs memorialize the agreement in some form that is verifiable and consistent with each purchaser. Here are a couple of questions that have been raised:
Layman’s translation: The required waiting period begins when the agreement has been made and the seller is required to document that agreement.
Exemptions on the above requirements on How to Sell a gun in Illinois.
430 ILCS 65/3) (from Ch. 38, par. 83-3)
(a-15) The provisions of subsection (a-10) of this Section do not apply to:
(1) transfers that occur at the place of business of a federally licensed firearm dealer, if the federally licensed firearm dealer conducts a background check on the prospective recipient of the firearm in accordance with Section 3.1 of this Act and follows all other applicable federal, State, and local laws as if he or she were the seller or transferor of the firearm, although the dealer is not required to accept the firearm into his or her inventory. The purchaser or transferee may be required by the federally licensed firearm dealer to pay a fee not to exceed $10 per firearm, which the dealer may retain as compensation for performing the functions required under this paragraph, plus the applicable fees authorized by Section 3.1;
(2) transfers as a bona fide gift to the transferor’s husband, wife, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law;
(3) transfers by persons acting pursuant to operation of law or a court order;
(4) transfers on the grounds of a gun show under subsection (a-5) of this Section;
(5) the delivery of a firearm by its owner to a gunsmith for service or repair, the return of the firearm to its owner by the gunsmith, or the delivery of a firearm by a gunsmith to a federally licensed firearms dealer for service or repair and the return of the firearm to the gunsmith;
(6) temporary transfers that occur while in the home of the unlicensed transferee, if the unlicensed transferee is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms and the unlicensed transferee reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the unlicensed transferee;
(7) transfers to a law enforcement or corrections agency or a law enforcement or corrections officer acting within the course and scope of his or her official duties;
(8) transfers of firearms that have been rendered permanently inoperable to a nonprofit historical society, museum, or institutional collection; and
(9) transfers to a person who is exempt from the requirement of possessing a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card under Section 2 of this Act.
Layman’s translation: Federally licensed firearm dealers require a different set of background checks and record-keeping requirements. Gifts to immediate family members are exempt. If the state orders you to turn over your guns, the requirements are different. Delivering a firearm to a gunsmith is not a transfer of ownership. Transfers to someone in your home, if that person is not a prohibited person, for purposes of lawful self-defense, are exempt. Law enforcement is exempt if acting within the line of duty. Inoperable (demilitarized) firearms given to a museum are exempt. Certain federal officials, military members, and non-residents are also exempt (see 430 ILCS 65/2).
(430 ILCS 65/2) (from Ch. 38, par. 83-2) WITH REDACTION
Sec. 2. Firearm Owner’s Identification Card required; exceptions.
(a) (1) No person may acquire or possess any firearm, stun gun, or taser within this State without having in his or her possession a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card previously issued in his or her name by the Department of State Police under the provisions of this Act.
(c-5) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) of this Section regarding the possession of firearms and firearm ammunition do not apply to the holder of a valid concealed carry license issued under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act who is in physical possession of the concealed carry license.
Layman’s translation: Illinois residents with valid Illinois Concealed Carry licenses may display their concealed carry license in lieu of their FOID card.
Optional Record-Keeping which may allow a seller to better document the lawful sale of their firearm.
This paragraph contains optional information the seller may choose to elect for their protection, should the seller have to prove their innocence, though the following is not required by law.
Document when the agreement has been made via email or text and retain a copy with the bill of sale. For example, “Per our phone conversation you John Doe agree to purchase my Glock Model 34 serial number XXX, today August 1st, 2017 at 5:15 PM, and shall pick up this firearm no earlier than August 4th, 5:16 PM.”
Photograph the firearm with both the buyer and the sellers’ FOID cards in the photo, and retain this photo with the bill of sale.
Scan or digitally back up all of the documentation in case paper documents become lost.
If you sell many firearms, keep a disposition spreadsheet of the firearms sold for quick and easy future reference, should a peace officer ever request.
Changes in Selling Guns in 2024
In 2024 a Gun Dealer will be required for processing all firearm transfers. More information will be made available when the process is released by the Illinois State Police.
Cook County, Of course…
If you reside in cook county and are selling your gun, you must also notify the county. http://www.cookcountysheriff.com/pdf/Press/ReportOfLostStolenDestroyedOrTransferredFirearms041014t.pdf
This applies regardless if you are selling your gun to a private buyer or to a licensed dealer.
You may also want to contact your local police department to see if your village/city has any specific requirements. if they tell you they do, ask them to provide a link to the statute in writing.
3 thoughts on “How to Sell a Gun in Illinois”
A woman, who has no interest in firearms and who has no FOID card, inherited a firearm collection and ammunition. Can she resolve this issue by obtaining a FOID card? What happens during the interim? She would like to turn everything over to a licensed dealer who in turn will auction the firearms and ammo.
Illinois law has a grace period to the FOID requirement for inheritances. If her intention is to sell these firearms, she may take them to a dealer to do so.
Tell her to keep at least one of the guns and get training. You never know when you’re going to need one. Being defenseless isn’t a good self defense strategy.
Very good and straight forward information in layman’s terms. Thanks.