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Illinois Gun Laws
Common Questions & Answers Illinois Gun Statutes

George H. Ryan

Sam W. Nolen
Director Illinois State Police

Brent Manning
Director Department of Natural Resources

Unless specifically exempted by statute, any Illinois resident who acquires or possesses firearms or firearm ammunition within the state must have in their possession a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name.

Commonly Asked Questions on Transporting Firearms
Answers provided to the following questions are meant only to give general guidance regarding transporting firearms and ammunition. The answers do not and are not meant to replace statutory language. How can I legally transport a firearm on my person or in my vehicle? Three statutory codes regulate the possession, transfer, and transportation of firearms — the Criminal Code, the Wildlife Code, and the Firearm Owner’s Identification Act. Under Unlawful Use of Weapons (UUW) in the Criminal Code, persons who have been issued a valid FOID card may transport a firearm anywhere in their vehicle or on their person as long as the firearm is unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container. Firearms that are not immediately accessible or are broken down in a non-functioning state may also be carried or transported under the Criminal Code. The Wildlife Code, however, is more restrictive. It requires that all firearms transported in or on any vehicle be unloaded and in a case. Because of this, it is recommended that, in order to be in compliance with all statutes, all firearms be transported: 1. Unloaded and, 2. Enclosed in a case, and 3. By persons who have a valid FOID card. Unless specifically exempted from UUW, a person commits a Class 4 Felony if he or she violates the UUW law in the Criminal Code (i.e., unlawfully carries on their person or illegally transports a firearm in a vehicle) AND one or more of the following aggravating factors apply: (1) The firearm possessed was uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible at the time of the offense; (2) The firearm possessed was uncased, unloaded, and the ammunition for the weapon was immediately accessible at the time of the offense; (3) Does not have a valid FOID card; (4) Was previously adjudicated of a felony as a juvenile; (5) Was engaged in a misdemeanor violation of the Cannabis Control Act or the Controlled Substances Act; (6) Is a member of a street gang; (7) Has had an order of protection against them in the last two years; (8) Was engaged in the commission or attempted commission of a misdemeanor involving the use of violence against another person or the property of another; or (9) Is under 21 years of age and in possession of a handgun, unless the person is engaged in hunting activities under the Wildlife Code.

What constitutes a legal “case”?
The Criminal Code refers to a “case, firearm carrying box, or other container; however, the Wildlife Code is more specific, defining case as “a container specifically designed for the purpose of housing a gun or bow and arrow device which completely encloses such gun or bow and arrow device by being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied, or otherwise fastened with no portion of the gun or bow and arrow device exposed.”

How do the differences in these two laws affect me for the purposes of the Unlawful Use of Weapons law? It is recommended that persons transport their firearms only unloaded and in a case in order to be fully compliant with all statutes. A firearm transported in a container other than a case while engaged in activities covered by the Wildlife Code could subject an individual to a charge of Class B Misdemeanor under the Wildlife Code but would not be considered Unlawful Use of Weapons if the container were a “firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container” as provided in the Criminal Code.


If I fail to zip up the case entirely, will I be guilty of a felony?...
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