Illinois Open Carry Law


This article is meant to take a look at Illinois’s open carry laws so that you folks can get a better idea what is and is not legal in the state.

Until 2012, Illinois law prohibited carrying a gun (openly or concealed) outside of one’s home at all, but a federal appellate court struck down the law, finding that the universal ban violated the Second Amendment. (Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933 (7th Cir. 2012).) In 2013, Illinois enacted a new law permitting people to carry concealed weapons with a license. (430 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 66/10.)

At this time, however, it is still unlawful to carry openly in the state, and even carrying concealed has its share of rules.

Currently, it is unlawful to carry or possess any firearm in any vehicle or concealed on, without a license.

Exceptions are made for people who are using their firearms on established target ranges; licensed hunters, trappers, or fishermen while engaged in their licensed activity; transportation of firearms that are broken down in a non-functioning state or are not immediately accessible (e.g., in the trunk of a car); and transportation, carrying, or possession of a firearm which is unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container, by the possessor of a valid FOID. Under the Wildlife Code, it is unlawful to have or carry any firearm in or on any vehicle unless unloaded and enclosed in a case.

And to get a concealed carry permit itself is difficult. The following list includes all valid reasons for disqualification of concealed carry permit receipt in Illinois.

  • If someone is convicted or found guilty in Illinois or any other state of:
    • 2 or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, within the last 5 years.
    • A misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any person within the last 5 years.
  • If the applicant is the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution, or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification.
  • If the applicant has been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the last 5 years.
  • Any law enforcement agency may object to the issuance of a license to an otherwise qualified applicant on the basis of reasonable suspicion that the applicant presents a danger to self or others or is a threat to public safety. Such an objection sends the application for review by the Concealed Carry Licensing Board, which consists of a total of 7 judicial, law enforcement, and mental health professionals appointed by the Governor.  The Board generally will issue a decision in 30 days as to whether it has determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, if the applicant is eligible or ineligible for a license.  

Now, there are certainly additional questions as well as more in-depth looks into such things as who is not allowed to possess a gun, and what public places do or do not allow them. We will be going over those in specific articles, later on, due to the complexity of some of the situations. For right now, however, we have a wonderful FAQ page on our Illinois site with a lot of helpful information.

If you have specific questions that you would like covered in future articles about Illinois’s open carry laws, shoot us a comment below, and we will make sure to add them to future reports.

Information compounded from the NRA and Illinois state legal texts.


Leave a Comment