Illinois

Total prohibition                                                                                        Total freedom

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Traveler's checklist:

            *Standard firearms ownership: restricted, firearm identification card required

            *Semi-auto gun ownership: restricted, firearm identification card required

            *Machine Gun Ownership: personal machine gun ownership prohibited

            *Firearm law uniformity: no preemption law, localities may pass their own gun laws

                 *Right of Self-Defense: no NRA-model castle doctrine, stand your ground in public not codified

            *Open carry: prohibited in all public areas

            *Concealed carry: no provision for concealed carry licensing

            *Vehicle carry by non-FOID card holders: any firearm or ammunition possessed
                                                          by a non-resident with a valid carry permit must be transported unloaded and 

                                                         cased;  if the non-resident lacks a permit, he must also stow the firearms in the

                                                         trunk or storage compartment of vehicle

               *State Parks: display or use of firearms prohibited; no allowance for concealed carry

                  *Restaurants serving alcohol: firearms carry prohibited for most citizens

               *Duty to notify LEO of permit status: upon demand of police officer

               * Vehicle gun possession at colleges: subject to college policy & consent of school official

 

        Illinois' Midwestern location does not prevent its treatment of firearms from
resembling that of New York City. Gun owners face a wide assortment of laws that
are piled layer upon layer in the land of Lincoln. The effect of various state laws is
amplified by the fact that Illinois has no preemption law. Travelers to Chicago and
other major urban areas could face even stricter laws than the ones described below. 
One bright spot in this otherwise confusing morass of local regulation is the state law 
that provides anyone using a firearm for self-defense with an affirmative defense to 
these local laws.

        Illinois residents with FOID cards: Residents of Illinois are required to

have a firearms identification card before they may purchase or possess any rifle, shotgun,
handgun or ammunition.  This card is issued by the Department of State Police and
is valid for ten years.  The card allows a holder to transport a firearm in the passenger
compartment of his vehicle if the weapon is unloaded and enclosed in a case (it need not 
be in the trunk).  Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court held that vehicle's center console
was a "case" for purposes of firearm transportation.  This means that an unloaded handgun
along with a loaded magazine could be carried in car's center console box by a cardholder as
long as the magazine is not inserted in the gun.  Illinois recently modified the state's wildlife
code to mirror the criminal code's definition of "case."  Thereby making such carry legitimate 
under all aspects of state law.  But keep in mind that localities are still permitted to enforce
stricter regulations if they so choose.

        Non-residents:  A non-resident with a valid carry permit may possess firearms or

ammunition in a vehicle if the weapons are unloaded and cased.  If the non-resident does not 

have a valid carry permit, he must also stow the firearms in an inaccessible area such as the

trunk or break them down to a non-functioning state.  Non-residents may possess loaded 
firearms if the weapons are employed on publicly recognized target ranges, at bonafide gun
shows or in a hunting format where the individual possesses a non-resident hunting license.  
Absent these narrow exceptions, Illinois prohibits the open or concealed carry of firearms
in all public areas.

        All Persons: Machine gun ownership is prohibited in Illinois unless one is a Class III
dealer.  Many communities have also banned the possession of over 10-shot magazines and
military pattern "assault weapons."

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