Illinois Gun Laws
- A. State Constitution
- B. Scope of Preemption
- C. Reciprocal Carry
- D. Criminal Provisions
Ironically, Chicago, Illinois, with famously strict gun laws, including a (prior) ban on private possession of handguns, served as the basis for SCOTUS’ 2010 decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago that Second Amendment applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.
This does directly address reciprocal carry, and a civilian cannot carry a handgun in Chicago. However, it does reflect an important concept for lawful reciprocal carry and the nature and extent and depth of necessary research: population density. As a general rule of thumb, the densely populated areas tend to have more regulation on firearms and do not afford the right for a civilian to carry a handgun.
Illinois has water boundaries with other states, in some cases further complicating an interstate transportation and/or reciprocal carry analysis. To the north, Illinois borders Wisconsin, although the boundary line lies in Lake Michigan. Illinois’ eastern border with Indiana is within Lake Michigan and the Wabash and Ohio Rivers. The Ohio River is the southern border with Kentucky. The western border with Missouri and Iowa is the Mississippi River.
A. State Constitution
Regarding the right to bear arms, the Illinois Constitution states:
“Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
B. Scope of Preemption
Illinois does not have a preemption statute, however Illinois code does state:
“The provisions of any ordinance enacted by any municipality which requires registration or imposes greater restrictions or limitations on the acquisition, possession and transfer of firearms than are imposed by this Act, are not invalidated or affected by this Act.”
“Every municipality must submit to the Department of State Police a copy of every ordinance adopted by the municipality that regulates the acquisition, possession, sale, or transfer of firearms within the municipality and must submit, 30 days after adoption, every such ordinance adopted after its initial submission of ordinances under this Section.”
It is imperative to check local cities and municipality’s ordinances regarding the carrying of a firearm, concealed or unconcealed. The Director of State Police compiles, publishes and provides these ordinances to the public free of charge.
C. Reciprocal Carry
Illinois does not have an explicit reciprocity statute and restricts the possession of a firearm by law, however Illinois will recognize a nonresident’s right to carry a firearm in some circumstances:
“No person may acquire or possess any firearm … 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. … (5) Nonresident hunters during hunting season, with valid nonresident hunting licenses and while in an area where hunting is permitted; however, at all other times and in all other places these persons must have their firearms unloaded and enclosed in a case;… (7) Nonresidents while on a firing or shooting range recognized by the Department of State Police; however, these persons must at all other times and in all other places have their firearms unloaded and enclosed in a case; (8) Nonresidents while at a firearm showing or display recognized by the Department of State Police; however, at all other times and in all other places these persons must have their firearms unloaded and enclosed in a case; (9) Nonresidents whose firearms are unloaded and enclosed in a case; (10) Nonresidents who are currently licensed or registered to possess a firearm in their resident state; … (13) Nonresident hunters whose state of residence does not require them to be licensed or registered to possess a firearm and only during hunting season, with valid hunting licenses, while accompanied by, and using a firearm owned by, a person who possesses a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and while in an area within a commercial club licensed under the Wildlife Code where hunting is permitted and controlled, but in no instance upon sites owned or managed by the Department of Natural Resources.”
D. Criminal Provisions
Under Illinois law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by Illinois, or a person is carrying pursuant to a reciprocity between his or her state of license and Illinois:
- Any place licensed to sell intoxicating beverages
- Any public gathering held pursuant to a license issued by any governmental body
- Any public gathering at which an admission is charged (excluding a place where showing, demonstration or lecture involving the exhibition of unloaded firearms is conducted)
- In a vehicle while hooded, robed or masked so as to conceal one’s identity
- On any public street, alley, or other public lands within city, village, or town limits (except on one’s own land, abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business)
- A firearm being transported must be either:
- Broken down in a non-functioning state.
- Not immediately accessible.
- Unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container.
- Any public or private school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year
- Residential property owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency
- Any public park
- A courthouse
- Any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a school to transport students to or from school or school-related activities
- Any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted for public transportation