How to Become a Legal Firearm Owner in Illinois

Mrs. Homie’s redneck uncle is getting rid of some of his guns, and I’ve had my eye on a handgun for personal defense. What steps do I need to take to make sure everything is above board? He’s in Missouri, if it makes any difference.

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First of all - by federal law, the only way to do a person-to-person transfer of a handgun over state lines is to have the uncle transfer to an FFL holder (i.e. a licensed firearms dealer) in your state, who transfers it to you. It’s possible/likely that the local dealer will require the gun be shipped to him by an FFL holder in your uncle’s state, but I don’t know if that’s required by law or not. The dealers will charge a fee for this service, probably somewhere in the $25-50 range per dealer - my local dealer charges $35 as a data point.

According to the nra website, you will need an FOID to possess a handgun, which is a “shall-issue” permit - if you meet the criteria, they must give you one. Note that there’s no concealed carry allowed in IL.

Chicago used to ban handguns completely, but Heller and then McDonald cleared that up. They do require registration of handguns.

You need a FOID (Firearm Owner’s ID) to legally posses any guns or ammunition in Illinois.

Start here:

You need to send in an application, along with a passport like photo and a check for $10. You will need an IL drivers license or state ID number. It can take months to get the card, so be prepared for a wait.

The application is at:

They used to send the card back with the picture you sent in, but now they just print the same picture they have on file from your DL or state ID, so I assume the picture is just for their records.

If the Uncle is not too far away, he may be able to deliver the firearm to the dealer you will be using for the transfer in person. Check with the dealer first.

A friend did this for a friend in Kansas a while back. Saved a few bucks and a little time.

Can anybody tell me why “Race” is one of the required items on that application?

Presumably for identification, just like hair color and eye color being on it.

For that matter, open carry isn’t allowed, either.