Illinois concealed carry


Illinois Concealed Carry - History Of Heavy Regulation


The last state to legalize concealed carry is also one of the most regulated, making Illinois concealed carry a crucial case study on firearms regulation.

In the three years since the Illinois concealed carry ban was revised in the July 2013 Firearm Concealed Carry Act, 181,489 men and women have received licenses to carry a concealed firearm as of June 1, 2016, according to a statement from the Illinois State Police.

Illinois State Police began issuing licenses in early 2014, allowing lawful gun owners to fully or partially conceal a loaded or unloaded firearm on or about their person or within their vehicle.


Illinois concealed carry permits - distributed after major court cases


Illinois state concealed carry

Illinois concealed carry became possible after the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Moore v. Madigan that the state’s no-issue legislation was unconstitutional, with plaintiffs arguing that Illinois’ policy on concealed weapons violated Second Amendment rights established by landmark Supreme Court cases.

One of those Second Amendment Supreme Court Cases was District of Columbia v. Heller, which analyzed the language of the Second Amendment and afforded to the individual citizen the right to carry a firearm unconnected to a state militia.

The other was McDonald v. City of Chicago, Illinois, which reversed Chicago’s gun bans and ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment extended the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms to state citizens.

Illinois was the last state to have laws in the books barring concealed carry weapons. After failing to provide more than a simply rational basis for the public safety afforded by its sweeping ban, the Seventh Circuit reversed those laws, but allowed 180 days for legislature to draft new restrictions.


Restrictions and requirements for owning an Illinois CCW license


Looking to own an Illinois concealed carry license?

Provided the reader understands that nothing in this article is formal legal advice (because we do not have the authority to provide that), the applicant must


  • Be 21 years old
  • Own and fit the requirements for a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card
  • Not have been convicted of a physical force or violence misdemeanor in the past five years
  • Not have two or more violations related to driving under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs
  • Not have two or more violations related to driving under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs
  • Not have a pending arrest warrant, prosecution or conviction of a crime that would disqualify them from owning a firearm
  • Not have a pending arrest warrant, prosecution or conviction of a crime that would disqualify them from owning a firearm
  • Not have been in a court-ordered drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
  • Have completed firearms training

The firearms training course must be selected from a list of state-approved curriculum and instructors. The course will be at least 16 hours long and includes a live-fire competency test. The course will cover basic topics like marksmanship, safety and firearms care and use, and more advanced concealed carry topics.

After the Illinois concealed carry license application, $150 fee and training documentation have been submitted, the applicant is reviewed by the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, and if approved their renewal, new, corrected or duplicate license is valid for five years from the date issued.

A change of address or name, or a lost, destroyed or stolen license will require a $75 fee. Portions of every fee are allocated to either the State Police Firearm Services Fund, the Mental Health Reporting Fund and State Crime Laboratory Fund.


Illinois concealed carry advice


The license must be carried at all times, unless the concealed carrier is on land they own, in their home or legal dwelling, fixed place of business (on the job), in a place where the owner gives permission to their guest and when the handgun is broken down, unloaded and enclosed in a case.

Those authorized to carry a firearm under Section 24-2 of the Criminal Code of 2012, except subsection (a-5) do not need to carry their license.

If stopped by a law enforcement officer, the concealed carrier with a resident or non-resident license must present it if requested.

The non-resident license applicant, who must pay the $300 application fee, must follow section 40 (430 ILCS 66/40) of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act in order to qualify. Take a look Illinois ccw reciprocity with other states.


Locations where concealed carry in Illinois is prohibited


There are 23 locations where concealed carry in Illinois is prohibited, making it one of the more restrictive states in the U.S. for law-abiding concealed carry.

These are the locations where concealed carriers in Illinois may not carry a firearm, according to section 65 of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act:


  1. A building, property or parking lot of an area owned by a public or private elementary or secondary school
  2. A building, property or parking lot owned by a pre-school or child care facility, but the licensed operator may carry a firearm in the space, provided there are no children present, or have it stored in a locked container when a child is in the space
  3. A building, parking lot or portion of a building controlled by an officer of the legislative or executive branch of government, but a licensee may carry on property, bikeways and trails regulated by the Department of Natural Resources and in public hunting areas established under section 1.8 of the Wildlife Code.
  4. Any building designated for a circuit court, appellate court or the Supreme Court, or under the control of the Supreme Court
  5. Any building, or portion of it, controlled by a local government entity
  6. Any building, property or parking lot of an adult or juvenile detention or correctional institute, prison or jail
  7. Any building, property or parking lot owned by a public or private hospital, hospital affiliate, mental health facility or nursing home
  8. Any bus, train or transportation (and the building, property or parking lot of a public transportation facility) paid partially or fully by public funds.
  9. Any building, property or parking lot of an alcohol-serving establishment that made more than 50 percent of its gross receipts from alcohol within the past three months
  10. Any public gathering or special event on public land that requires a permit from a local government, however this does not apply to licensees passing through the event to access their residence, place of business or vehicle.
  11. Any building or property issued a Special Event Retailer’s license
  12. Any public playground
  13. Any public park, athletic area or athletic facility owned by a municipality or park district, however this does not apply to trails or bikeways if only a portion of them includes a public park
  14. Any real property controlled by of the Cook County Forest Preserve District
  15. Any building, laboratory, classroom, hospital, medical clinic, athletic venue, artistic venue, entertainment venue or officially recognized university-related organization property, owned or leased, and any property, parking areas, sidewalks and common areas controlled by a public or private community college, college or university.
  16. Any building, property or parking lot of a gaming facility licensed by the Riverboat Gambling Act or the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975
  17. Any stadium, arena, parking lot or property controlled by a stadium, arena or any college or professional sporting event
  18. Any building, property or parking lot of a public library
  19. Any airport’s building, property or parking lot
  20. Any amusement park’s building, property or parking area
  21. Any zoo’s or museum’s building, property or parking lot
  22. Any street, driveway, parking lot, property, building or facility owned, leased, controlled or used by a nuclear energy, storage, weapons or development site or facility regulated by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. No firearm or ammunition may be stored in a vehicle or locked container in a vehicle located around, in or on a street, driveway, parking lot, property, building or facility of the aforementioned entities.
  23. Anywhere federal law prohibits firearms

Illinois concealed carry laws restrict what can go in the weapon


Illinois bullet restrictions

An Illinois concealed carry weapon is subject to restrictions, much like the gun owner in Illinois.

Armor piercing bullets, Dragon’s Breath shotgun shells, Bolo shells, flechette shells and explosive bullets are prohibited, according to Illinois state law as of January 1, 2002.

According to Public Act 92-0423, an armor piercing bullet is a handgun bullet or ammunition with projectiles or projectile cores made entirely of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium, or fully jacketed handgun bullets larger .22 caliber whose jacket weighs more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

A Dragon’s Breath shotgun shell has an exothermic pyrophoric mesh metal as the projectile and is intended to emit flame or fireball, simulating a flamethrower.

The bolo shell fires two or more metal balls connected by a metal wire.

A flechette shell expels two or more fin-stabilized metal wires or two or more dart-like projectiles.

Use, manufacture, sale, transfer or discharge of these will result in a varying class of felony charges.


Illinois Requires a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card


Illinois firearm owners identification card

If an applicant for concealed carry in Illinois is serious about the process, they will have a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card prior to beginning the process.

The process is completed through the Illinois State Police Department website by selecting the Firearms Services link on the right side of the site and hitting enter on the FOID Card section -- incidentally, this is also the place to begin an online concealed carry license application. New users will have to register a new account.

The site will guide the Illinois resident and non-resident through the process, but the Illinois State Police also provided a step-by-step guide detailing the process.


Concealed carry in Illinois while hunting


hunting in illinois

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released a report about laws surrounding concealed carry in Illinois while hunting.

While deer or turkey hunting in Illinois, it is illegal to conceal carry unless it’s firearm deer hunting season, as opposed to archery deer hunting. The deer hunter may carry a concealed firearm during the firearm deer seasons, as long as it follows the guidelines for legal handguns.

According to the 2015-2016 Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, the legal handguns during firearm deer hunting season are centerfire revolvers or centerfire single-shot handguns -- .30 caliber or larger at a minimum barrel length of 4 inches. Using a concealed firearm on wildlife is only acceptable if it fits those requirements.

A hunter with a concealed carry permit may store their CCW in their vehicle, however.

While training or running hunting dogs when hunting season is closed, it’s illegal to carry live ammunition or a firearm, unless it’s a pistol that fires only blank cartridges.

Aside from deer or turkey hunting and dog training, the Illinois Concealed Carry Permit holder may carry a concealed firearm on their person or vehicle when hunting or trapping any species of wildlife, unless in one of the aforementioned prohibited areas. If explicitly checking their traps, the concealed carrier may conceal carry a .22 while in a vehicle or ATV.

A concealed carry permit holder may have a concealed firearm on or in a watercraft, off-highway vehicle or snowmobile as long as it is not within one of the 23 prohibited locations outlined under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.


Despite restrictions on concealed carry in Illinois, the state’s crime rate may require it


ccw in chicago

Reported crime rates are a hard and fast way to gauge the necessity of self-defense by means of concealed carry in Illinois, although they don’t perfectly capture the risk and danger of a given environment.

That being said, according to a 2015 Illinois State Police report on index crime and crime rate data, there were:


  • 741 criminal homicides (with 439 arrests for criminal homicide) at a rate of 5.8 per 100,000 -- up from 684 cases in 2014
  • 4,606 cases of rape (with 933 arrests for rape) at a rate of 35.8 per 100,000 -- up from 4,236 cases in 2014
  • 14,690 robberies at 114 per 100,000
  • 27,966 aggravated assaults and aggravated batteries at a rate of 217.1 per 100,000
  • 44,627 cases of burglary at a rate of 346.5 per 100,000
  • 184,056 cases of theft (with 41,936 arrests in this category) at a rate of 1,428.9 per 100,000
  • 17,214 cases of motor vehicle theft at a rate of 133.6 per 100,000

Many crimes go unreported. Danger in neighborhoods and streets may be lower in some places as opposed to others, which is why situational awareness and a defensive mindset will go much further than just looking at numbers.




gun blog writer jake smith  

About The Author


Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.