Summary of Illinois Gun Laws
Illinois is a shall-issue state, meaning that Illinois State Police must issue a concealed carry license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. However, Illinois differs from other states in that it still gives law enforcement the right to object to a concealed carry license being issued if they think the applicant is a danger to public safety or himself/herself. If the police do object, then the case is heard by the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, who will make the final decision as to whether or not a license is issued. The applicant is notified by mail of the Board’s decision. There is an appeal process.
Open carry of a handgun on your person or in a vehicle is illegal.
An Illinois Concealed Carry License (CCL) is required to concealed carry a firearm in Illinois. Applicants must be 21 or older. The license permits the licensee to carry a concealed loaded or unloaded handgun on his or her person or within a vehicle. A 16-hour firearms training course conducted by a state-approved instructor is required for all new concealed carry license applications. Non-resident licenses are only available for residents of Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Virginia. In terms of reciprocity, Illinois does not honor CCW licenses from any other state.
Illinois law requires residents to have a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) to possess a firearm or ammunition. FOID card holders (without a CCL) can legally carry unloaded firearms that are enclosed in a case.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FOID card holders & CCL licensees who submit their renewal application will remain valid during the duration of the state’s disaster proclamation and for a period of 18 months following the termination of the disaster, even if their renewal application is/was not submitted prior to expiration. Under the emergency rule, a FOID card or concealed carry license that has expired since the start of the pandemic is still considered valid as long as the holder has applied for renewal, paid the required fees, and the card is not subject to revocation, meaning the person has not committed an offense that would otherwise disqualify them from holding the permit. In addition, CCL licensees will not be required to immediately submit proof of three-hour training with their CCL renewal application but will need to submit proof of their training within 18 months following the termination of the state’s disaster proclamation in order to maintain the validity of their CCL license.
Illinois is a Castle Doctrine state. You are under no legal duty to retreat if threatened, and using deadly force is justified.
Use of Force in Defense of Person
A person is justified in the use of force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of deadly force only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.
Use of Force in Defense of Dwelling
A person is justified in the use of force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other’s unlawful entry into or attack upon a dwelling. However, one is justified in the use of deadly force only if:
- The entry is made or attempted in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, and he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent an assault upon, or offer of personal violence to, one’s self or another then in the dwelling, or
- He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in the dwelling.
Use of Force in Defense of Other Property
A person is justified in the use of force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in one’s possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property one has a legal duty to protect. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
In no case shall any act involving the justified use of force give rise to any claim or liability, unless the use of force involves willful or wanton misconduct.
[720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-1, 5/7-2 & 5/7-3]