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Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Criminal Convictions

Illinois generally requires a person to have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card in order to lawfully acquire or possess firearms or ammunition.1 The Department of State Police are authorized to deny an application for a FOID card, and revoke and seize a previously-issued FOID card from a person who:

  • Has been convicted within the past five years for battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection,2 or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction, in which a firearm was used or possessed;3 or
  • Has ever been convicted of domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery in Illinois or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction.4

    “Family or household members” include spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, and certain caregivers. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-3(3).

    A person commits aggravated domestic battery if, in committing domestic battery, they intentionally or knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement. 720 Ill. Stat. Comp. Stat. 5/12-3.3(a).))

Importantly, the Department of State Police may also deny or revoke a FOID card if the applicant or cardholder is prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms or ammunition by federal law’s domestic violence protections as well.5Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by anyone convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”6 Illinois law provides a procedure for determining whether certain crimes qualify as “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence” for these purposes.7 When a person is charged with a crime that may qualify, the state may serve notice on the defendant alleging that a conviction would subject defendant to the federal firearm prohibitions.8 The defendant may admit that the conviction would subject him or her to the federal prohibitions or, if the defendant says nothing or denies the claim, the state bears the burden of proving to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense is one that would constitute a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under federal law.9 If, under the procedures outlined above, a court determines that a person has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” that would disqualify them from purchasing or possessing firearms under federal law, then the court clerk must notify the Department of State Police Firearm Owner’s Identification Card Office who will then report that determination to the FBI.10

Illinois law also requires people to refrain from possessing firearms as a condition of probation or conditional discharge, if they have been convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor involving the intentional or knowing infliction or threat of bodily harm, or any other misdemeanor that qualifies as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under federal law.11

In Illinois, when a person is convicted of domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery, the court must advise the defendant orally or in writing that, “[a]n individual convicted of domestic battery [or aggravated domestic battery] may be subject to federal criminal penalties for possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving any firearm or ammunition in violation of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) and (9)).”12

Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders

Legislation passed in 202113 expressly clarified that the Department of State Police are required to suspend or revoke and seize FOID Cards from any person who is, or was at the time the FOID was issued, subject to a court “protective order” issued under the laws of Illinois or any other jurisdiction. For these purposes, “protective order” is defined to include a Firearms Restraining Order, domestic violence order of protection, stalking no contact order, or civil no contact order.14 When the duration of the protective order is expected to be less than one year, the State Police are authorized to suspend (instead of revoke) the FOID Card and reinstate the FOID Card upon conclusion of the suspension if no other grounds for denial or revocation are found.15

Prior to receiving a FOID card, an applicant must also generally demonstrate that they are not subject to an order of protection prohibiting them from possessing firearms.16

Illinois law also expressly provides that a person who is subject to an active ex parte or final domestic violence order of protection under the Code of Criminal Procedure may not lawfully possess weapons or a FOID Card.17

Removal or Surrender of Firearms Upon Conviction for a Domestic Violence Misdemeanor

Illinois law authorizes the State Police to suspend or revoke a FOID card if a FOID holder becomes ineligible to lawfully purchase or possess firearms under state or federal law, including those convicted of a crime that is found to qualify as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”18 Upon suspending or revoking a person’s FOID, the State Police are directed to provide written notice specifically stating the grounds for revocation and notifying the person regarding their relinquishment obligations, as well as their right to administrative or judicial review of the denial or revocation.19 A copy of the written notice is to be provided to the sheriff and local law enforcement agency where the person resides.20 A person who receives a FOID revocation notice must within 48 hours of receiving that notice:21

  • Relinquish their FOID card to the local law enforcement agency where the person resides or to the State Police; and
  • Complete a Firearm Disposition Record form, which must disclose the make, model, and serial number of each firearm owned by the person, the location where each firearm will be maintained during the prohibited term, the name, address and FOID card number of any person taking custody of the person’s firearms, and the law enforcement agency to whom the person’s FOID Card was surrendered.22

Once completed, the person is required to retain a copy of the Firearm Disposition Record and to provide a copy of the Record to the Illinois State Police.23 See the Firearm Relinquishment in Illinois page for more information about this process.

Illinois law also places even more explicit relinquishment requirements on people released on probation or conditional discharge after being convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor involving the intentional or knowing infliction of bodily harm or threat of bodily harm, or any other misdemeanor that qualifies as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under federal law.24 People convicted of felonies or “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence” must physically surrender their FOID card and any and all firearms in their possession at a time and place designated by the court, and the court must return the person’s FOID card to DSP.25

Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued

As noted above, Illinois law requires the State Police to suspend or revoke and seize FOID Cards from any person who is, or was at the time the FOID was issued, subject to a court “protective order” issued under the laws of Illinois or any other jurisdiction, including a Firearms Restraining Order, civil domestic violence order of protection, stalking no contact order, or civil no contact order.26 The Department of State Police are generally required to provide notices to people who become subject to these FOID revocations about their obligations to relinquish their FOID card and firearms within 48 hours. See the Firearm Relinquishment in Illinois page for more information about the process applicable whenever a person’s FOID card is revoked or suspended, including after issuance of a protective order.

In civil domestic violence protection order cases, if courts make specified findings after notice to the respondent and a hearing regarding the respondent’s threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner or child (or issues an order that expressly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against an intimate partner or child), the court is required to order the respondent to relinquish any FOID Card in their possession to a local law enforcement agency, instead of other third parties, and to issue a warrant for the seizure of any firearm in the respondent’s possession, to be kept by the local law enforcement agency for safekeeping during the duration of the protection order.27 When issuing criminal domestic violence protection orders, the court must generally order the respondent to relinquish for safekeeping any firearms they possess to another person with a valid FOID Card, and to issue an order that the respondent comply with state law’s generally applicable relinquishment requirements for their FOID Card and firearms.28

Upon expiration of the period of safekeeping, if the firearms or FOID card cannot be returned to respondent because respondent cannot be located, fails to respond to requests to retrieve the firearms, or is not lawfully eligible to possess a firearm, upon petition from the local law enforcement agency, the court may order the agency to destroy the firearms, use the firearms for training purposes or for any other application as deemed appropriate by the agency, or turn the guns over to a third party lawfully eligible to possess firearms who does not reside with respondent.29

Protective orders prohibiting firearm possession under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act are available to the following people:

  • Any person abused by a family or household member;
  • Any high-risk adult with disabilities who is abused, neglected, or exploited by a family or household member;
  • Any minor child or dependent adult in the care of such person; and
  • Any person residing or employed at a private home or public shelter which is housing an abused family or household member.30

Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

Illinois requires law enforcement to seize and remove firearms at the scene of a domestic violence incident only if there is probable cause to believe that the particular firearms were used to commit the incident of abuse.31 A firearm must be returned to its owner when no longer needed as evidence.32

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  1. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/2(a)(1), (2).[]
  2. Legislation enacted in 2021 clarified that “protective order” includes “any orders of protection issued under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, stalking no contact orders issued under the Stalking No Contact Order Act, civil no contact orders issued under the Civil No Contact Order Act, and firearms restraining orders issued under the Firearms Restraining Order Act.” 2021 IL HB 562 (amending 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/1.1).[]
  3. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/4(a)(2)(viii); 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8(k).[]
  4. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/4(a)(2) (ix); 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8(l).

    Under Illinois law, a person commits domestic battery if they knowingly, without legal justification: (1) cause bodily harm to a family or household member, or (2) make physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a family or household member. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-3.2(a)(1)(2).[]
  5. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8(n).[]
  6. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).[]
  7. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-11.1(a)-(c).[]
  8. Id.[]
  9. Id.[]
  10. 20 Ill. Comp. Stat. 2630/2.2; 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-11.2.[]
  11. 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(3), (a)(9).[]
  12. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-3.2(d). A notation must be made in the court file that this admonition was given.[]
  13. 2021 IL HB 562.[]
  14. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.2; 430 ILCS 65/1.1 (defining “protective order”). Elsewhere in state law, Illinois authorizes courts to order protective order respondents to refrain from possessing firearms if, for instance, they issuing a “stalking no contact order,” 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 21/80(b)(4), but state law now expressly requires DSP to suspend or revoke and seize FOID cards from people subject to such orders, whether or not the court ordered the person to refrain from possessing firearms.[]
  15. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.2 (as amended by 2021 IL HB 562).[]
  16. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/4(a)(2)(vii).[]
  17. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-14(b)(14.5)(A); 5/112A-3(b)(7)(defining “domestic violence order of protection” for these purposes).[]
  18. See 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8; 65/8.2; 65/8.3; 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-11.1(a)-(c).[]
  19. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/9.[]
  20. Id.[]
  21. DSP must also send a notice of the revocation to all law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction to assist with the seizure of the person’s FOID card. 430 ILCS 65/3.1.[]
  22. 430 Ill. Stat. Comp. 65/9.5(a).[]
  23. 430 Ill. Stat. Comp. 65/9.5(a).[]
  24. (730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(3), (a)(9).[]
  25. 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(9).[]
  26. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.2; 430 ILCS 65/1.1 (defining “protective order”).[]
  27. 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/214(b)(14.5).[]
  28. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-14(b)(14.5).[]
  29. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-14(b)(14.5)(D); 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/214(b)(14)(c).[]
  30. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5-112A-4; 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/201(a).[]
  31. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-30(a)(2); 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/304(a)(2).[]
  32. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/112A-30(c); 750 Ill. Comp. Stat. 60/304(c).[]