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On January 10, 2023, Illinois enacted legislation to generally ban commerce and possession of fifty caliber rifles as part of the state’s larger ban on assault weapons.1 The law now generally restricts these rifles the same way Illinois law treats assault weapons. This law defines fifty caliber rifles to mean a centerfire rifle capable of firing a fifty caliber cartridge2, except it does not include any antique firearm, any shotgun including a shotgun that has a rifle barrel, or any muzzle-loader which uses black powder for hunting or historical reenactments.3

Subject to narrow exceptions,4 this law made it immediately unlawful to knowingly manufacture, deliver, sell, import, or purchase a fifty caliber rifle, or to cause another person to manufacture, deliver, sell, import, or purchase a fifty caliber rifle.5

The law also generally makes it unlawful to knowingly possess a fifty caliber rifle in the state after January 1, 2024.6 The law provides an exception for people to remain in continued possession of a fifty caliber rifle they legally obtained and possessed before the assault weapons law went into effect, if they comply with a set of requirements and limitations on public use and carry.7 People who wish to qualify for this exemption and remain in lawful possession of a fifty caliber rifle are required to electronically submit an endorsement affidavit form to the Illinois State Police by October 1, 2023, with specified information including the weapon’s make, model, and serial number and the person’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card number.8 The law also includes limitations to generally prevent these weapons from being used or carried in most public locations. Beginning April 10, 2023, (90 days after the effective date of the assault weapons law), Illinois law generally permits people to possess a fifty caliber rifle (or an assault weapon) only on their own private property, or with the express permission of another person to carry on private property that is not open to the public, or in certain other designated locations such as a licensed firing range, or while traveling to or from these permissible locations if the weapon is kept unloaded and enclosed in a case or container during transport.9 (New residents to the state who wish to bring a fifty caliber rifle into the state must apply for a FOID Card and endorsement affidavit within 60 days).10


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  1. See 2021 IL HB 5471 (enacted Jan. 10, 2023); 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9.[]
  2. “.50 caliber cartridge” means “a cartridge in .50 BMG caliber, either by designation or actual measurement, that is capable of being fired from a centerfire rifle. The term ‘.50 caliber cartridge’ does not include any memorabilia or display item that is filled with a permanent inert substance or that is otherwise permanently altered in a manner that prevents ready modification for use as live ammunition or shotgun ammunition with a caliber measurement that is equal to or greater than .50 caliber.” 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(a)(6).[]
  3. 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(a)(5).[]
  4. See 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(e) for exemptions.[]
  5. 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(b). See also 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(11), (15), (16).[]
  6. 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(c).[]
  7. See 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(d).[]
  8. See 720 ILCS 5/24-1.9(d); 430 ILCS 65/4.1.[]
  9. Id.[]
  10. Id.[]