In 2013, Illinois adopted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act1 allowing individuals who obtain a valid license to carry concealed handguns in public.2 A license is not needed to carry a concealed handgun on a person’s own property, including his or her home or fixed place of business.3 Nor is a license needed to carry a concealed handgun on the land or in the home of another person, as long as it is with that person’s permission.4 Apart from the exceptions listed above, a concealed handgun may only be carried in public if the firearm is not in working condition, not immediately accessible, or is carried unloaded in an enclosed container by a person with a valid FOID Card.5
Illinois law generally requires the Department of State Police (DSP) to issue a concealed handgun license if the applicant meets the following statutory qualifications:6
- Is at least 21 years old;7
- Has a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and at the time of application meets the requirements for the issuance of a FOID Card, and is not prohibited under Illinois or federal law from possessing a firearm;8
- Has not been convicted or found guilty in Illinois or any other state of:
- A misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any person within five years preceding the date of the license application;9 or
- Two or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination thereof within the five years preceding the date of the license application;10
- Is not the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution, or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm;11
- Has not been in residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the five years preceding the date of the license application; and12
- Has completed the required firearms training.13
In addition, the applicant must show in the application that they have not:
- Been convicted of a felony;14 and
- Failed a drug test for a drug which the applicant did not have a prescription within the previous year.15
DSP will conduct a background check on the applicant reviewing all relevant and available federal, state, and local records.16
Any law enforcement agency may submit an objection to a license applicant based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety.17 The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board will consider any objection to an applicant’s eligibility to obtain a license submitted by a law enforcement agency or DSP.18
Illinois law makes it unlawful for a person who is a “street gang member,” as defined, to knowingly possess, carry, or conceal a firearm on or about his or her person while on any street, road, or other lands (i.e. outside his or her home or fixed place of business) without a valid FOID Card.19 It is also illegal for a “street gang member” without a valid FOID Card to possess or carry any firearm or ammunition that is immediately accessible in a vehicle located on any street, road, or other lands, except inside the person’s home or garage.20
Firearms Safety Training
An applicant for a new license to carry a concealed firearm must provide proof of completion of at least 16 hours of a firearms training course (or combination of courses) approved by DSP.21 The training must cover the following:
- Firearm safety;22
- Basic principles of marksmanship;23
- Care, cleaning, loading, and unloading of a concealable firearm;24
- All applicable Illinois and federal laws relating to the ownership, storage, carrying, and transportation of a firearm;25 and
- Instruction on the appropriate and lawful interaction with law enforcement while transporting or carrying a concealed firearm.26 In addition, an applicant for a new license must provide proof of certification by a certified instructor that the applicant passed a live fire exercise with a concealable firearm consisting of:27 1) A minimum of 30 rounds;28 and 2) 10 rounds from a distance of 5 yards, 10 rounds from a distance of 7 yards, and 10 rounds from a distance of 10 yards at a target approved by DSP.29
DSP and certified firearms instructors recognize up to eight hours of training already completed toward the 16-hour training requirement if the training course is approved by DSP and recognized under the laws of another state.30 DSP accepts up to eight hours of training as completed toward the 16-hour training requirement if the applicant is an active, retired, or honorably discharged member of the United States Armed Forces.31
A certified firearms instructor who knowingly provides or offers to provide a false certification that an applicant has completed required firearms training is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and the Department of State Police must revoke that instructor’s certification.32
Legislation enacted in 202133 authorizes the Illinois State Police to develop a system under which a concealed carry license holder could display an electronic version of their license on a mobile telephone or other portable electronic device, provided that electronic version contains security features determined necessary by the State Police).34
Duration and Renewal
The license is generally valid for five years from the date of issuance.35 State law requires the State Police to notify each person whose license is to expire 180 days prior, and to provide instructions for renewing the license.36 A license will be renewed for a period of five years upon receipt of a completed renewal application which includes a new background check.37 An applicant renewing his or her license must provide proof of completion of at least three hours of a firearms training course or combination of courses approved by DSP.38 An applicant for a renewal must generally submit a $150 fee.39
A concealed carry license must generally be revoked if at any time the licensee is found to be ineligible for a FOID Card or no longer possesses a valid FOID.40 However, legislation enacted in 2021 provides that if a person holds both a FOID Card and a license to carry but their FOID Card expires first, both licenses remain valid and the State Police may automatically renew the FOID Card unless the State Police have reason to believe the person is no longer eligible.41
Legislation enacted in 2021 expressly requires the State Police to continuously monitor relevant state and federal databases for “firearms prohibitors,” such as criminal history and court records that would prohibit a person from qualifying for a concealed carry license, and to “correlate those records” with concealed carry license holder records to ensure that people issued concealed carry license remain eligible to possess those licenses.42
A resident of a state or territory approved by DSP with firearm ownership, possession, and carrying laws that are substantially similar to Illinois’ requirements to obtain a license under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act may apply for a non-resident license.43
Disclosure or Use of Information
DSP maintains a database of license applicants and licensees. The database is available to all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, State’s Attorneys, the Attorney General, and authorized court personnel.44 No law enforcement agency, State’s Attorney, Attorney General, or member or staff of the judiciary is to provide any information to a requester who is not entitled to it by law.45
Firearms instructors must maintain a record of each student’s performance for at least five years, and must make all records available to authorized personnel of DSP.46
The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board reports monthly to the Governor and the General Assembly on the number of objections received, and provides details of the circumstances in which the Board has denied licensure based on the objections of law enforcement or DSP.47 The report shall not contain any identifying information about the applicants.48 Meetings of the Board are not subject to the state Open Meetings Act and records of the Board are not subject to the state Freedom of Information Act.49
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/1 et seq.
- See 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/5.
- 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/24-1(4).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/10(a), 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25.
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25(1).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25(2).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25(3)(A).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25(3)(B).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25(4).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25(5).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/25(6).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/30(b)(5)(A).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/30(b)(6). If the applicant has failed such drug test, the provider of the test, the specific substance involved, and the date of the test must be included in the application .
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/35.
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/15(a).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/20.
- 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/24-1.8. “Street gang member” means “any person who actually and in fact belongs to a gang, and any person who knowingly acts in the capacity of an agent for or accessory to, or is legally accountable for, or voluntarily associates himself with a course or pattern of gang-related criminal activity, whether in a preparatory, executory, or cover-up phase of any activity, or who knowingly performs, aids, or abets any such activity.” 740 ILCS 147/10.
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(b).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(b)(1).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(b)(2).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(b)(3).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(b)(4).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(b)(5).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(c).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(c)(1).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(c)(2).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(g).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(i).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/70(i).
- See 2021 IL HB 562.
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/10.5.
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/10(c).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/50(a).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/50.
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(d).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/60(b).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/70(h). If the FOID Card is expired or suspended rather than denied or revoked, the concealed carry license may be suspended for a period of up to one year to allow the licensee to reinstate his or her FOID Card. Id.
- Id.; see also, 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/5(c); 65/7/(c).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/10(k); 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/66.
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/40(b), (c).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/10(i).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/75(f).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/20(i).
- 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 66/20(h).