En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Illinois

UPDATED September 19, 2017

View All

Below is information about state gun laws in Illinois.  A restraining order or criminal conviction may make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply.  To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.  Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area.

Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. To find help in your area, please go to the IL Where to Find Help page.

The Abuser Isn't Supposed to Have a Gun...Now What?

back to topIf the abuser's gun(s) is taken away, what will happen to it?

If the abuser’s gun(s) is taken away, the court clerk should notify the state police that the abuser cannot have a gun.  The abuser will have to give his/her Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card to the court clerk who will send it to the state police and will either have to give his/her gun(s) to the local law enforcement agency or to the state police. The agency that receives the gun(s) will keep it until the order expires.  If the abuser is a peace officer, s/he will have to give his/her gun(s) to the chief law enforcement executive at his/her job who will keep the gun(s) until the order expires.  If the abuser is in court, he will be ordered by the judge to turn over the guns.  If the abuser is not in court, the judge can issue a warrant that allows the police to seize (forcibly take) the abuser’s gun.*

Once the guns have been turned in or seized, the law enforcement agency should notify the domestic violence unit at the local court that the abuser has followed the order. 

* 750 ILCS 60/214(b)(14.5)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWho do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?

If you think the abuser is violating state firearm laws, you can call your local police or sheriff department or the State Police.  If you think the abuser is violating federal firearm laws, you can call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

You can find contact information for sheriff departments in your area on our IL Sheriff Departments page.

You can find ATF field offices in Illinois on the ATF website.  For reporting illegal firearm activity, a person can also call 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867).  Many ATF offices have victim advocates on staff (called “victim/witness coordinators”) and so perhaps you may ask to speak one of these advocates if you are having a hard time connecting with (or receiving a call back from) an ATF officer.

A local domestic violence organization in your area may also be able to answer your questions and assist you in talking to the necessary law enforcement officials.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our IL State and Local Programs page.

Note: Generally, the abuser does not have to have knowledge of the law in order to be arrested for breaking the law.  If the abuser has or buys a gun in violation of the law, the abuser can be arrested, whether or not s/he knows that s/he was in violation of the law.*

* United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWhat is the penalty for violating Illinois state gun laws?

Under IL state law, anyone who is found to be illegally in possession of a firearm other than a handgun is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and can be punished by jail time of up to 1 year, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.  Anyone who is found to be illegally in possession of a handgun is guilty of a Class 4 felony and can be punished by jail time for 1-3 years, a fine of up to $25,000, or both.*

* 720 ILCS 5/24-3.1(b); 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1; 730 ILCS 5/5-9-1

 

 

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topWhat will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

Before purchasing a gun from a licensed firearm dealer, all buyers must undergo a criminal background check that is processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  If the abuser has a qualifying protection order against him/her, or has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor in any state, those records should be in the NICS, which should prevent the abuser from buying a gun.  Not all states have automated record keeping systems, making it more difficult to process the criminal background check, and some criminals and abusers do slip through the system.  Also, it is important to know that background checks are not required for private and online gun sales.  

If the abuser is able to purchase a gun and you believe that s/he should not be able to have one under the law, you can alert the police, and ask that his/her gun be taken away and perhaps the police will investigate.  Generally, it is not a good idea to assume that because the abuser was able to buy a gun, it is legal for him/her to have one.

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top