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Guide to FOID cards

SOURCE: http://www.isp.state.il.us/foid/firearmsfaq.cfm

DISCLAIMER: Answers provided to the following questions are meant only to give general guidance. The answers do not and are not meant to replace statutory language.
What is a FOID card?

The FOID card was created in 1968, by the FOID Act, as a way to identify those persons eligible to possess and acquire firearms and firearm ammunition as part of a public safety initiative in the State of Illinois. The FOID card is NOT a “conceal and carry” card.
Who needs a FOID card?

Unless specifically exempted by statute, any Illinois resident who acquires or possesses firearm or firearm ammunition within the State must have in their possession a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name. Non residents are not required to have a FOID card. New Illinois residents have sixty calendar days after obtaining an Illinois driver’s license or Illinois Identification Card to obtain a FOID card.
Where can I obtain a FOID application?

A FOID application can be downloaded from the Illinois State Police website or may be obtained at most retail stores where firearms are sold.
Why was the FOID application revised?

In 2007, the legislature amended the requirements for FOID applications. In order to reflect these changes, the FOID application was revised.
How much does it cost to apply for a FOID card?

As stated on the FOID application, the FOID processing fee is $10.00 and is non-refundable.
With recent changes to the FOID application, what new information am I required to provide?

Each applicant for a FOID card who is over the age of 18 shall furnish to the Department of State Police either his or her Illinois driver’s license number or Illinois Identification Card number.
I have applied for a FOID card, when should I expect to receive it?

The Department of State Police shall either approve or deny all applications within 30 days from the date the applications are received.
Do I have to sign my FOID card?

Yes. The statute (430 ILCS 65/6(a)) states the contents of a FOID card “shall contain the applicant’s name, residence, date of birth, sex, physical description, recent photograph, and signature”.
How long is my FOID card valid?

Unless otherwise prohibited, a FOID card shall be valid for a period of 10 years from the date of issuance.
Will I receive a notice that my FOID card will expire?

Yes. The Department of State Police shall, 60 days prior to the expiration of a FOID card, forward by first class mail an application which may be used to apply for renewal of the card. It is the obligation of the holder of a FOID card to notify the Department of State Police of any address change since the issuance of the FOID card.
At what age can I purchase a long gun? Handgun?

In Illinois you must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a long gun and at least 21 years of age to purchase a handgun.
I am under the age of 21, do I need a FOID card?

Not necessarily. The FOID Act exempts unemancipated minors while in the custody and immediate control of their parent, legal guardian, or other person in loco parentis to the minor as long as their parent, legal guardian, or other person in loco parentis to the minor has a valid FOID card in their possession.
I am under the age of 21, can I apply for a FOID card?

Yes. In addition to all other requirements, a person who is under 21 years of age must have the written consent of his or her parent or legal guardian to possess and acquire firearms and firearm ammunition. This includes having your application signed by a notary public. Also, he or she must not have been convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense or adjudged delinquent. The parent or legal guardian providing written consent must be eligible to possess a valid FOID card.
Will I be held responsible for my child who has access to a firearm?

Yes. Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/24-9) states:”(a) Except as provided in subsection (c), it is unlawful for any person to store or leave, within premises under his or her control, a firearm if the person knows or has reason to believe that a minor under the age of 14 years who does not have a Firearm Owners Identification Card is likely to gain access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parent, guardian, or person having charge of the minor, and the minor causes death or great bodily harm with the firearm, unless the firearm is:

  1. secured by a device or mechanism, other than the firearm safety, designed to render a firearm temporarily inoperable; or
  2. placed in a securely locked box or container; or
  3. placed in some other location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure from a minor under the age of 14 years.

(b) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $1,000. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) Subsection (a) does not apply:

    1. if the minor under 14 years of age gains access to a firearm and uses it in a lawful act of self-defense or defense of another; or
    2. to any firearm obtained by a minor under the age of 14 because of an unlawful entry of the premises by the minor or another person.”
Is a valid FOID card required to bow hunt or use a cross bow?

No. A bow and arrow nor is a cross bow defined as a firearm.
How do I legally transport a firearm on my person or in my vehicle?

In order to comply with the Criminal Code, the Wildlife Code, and the Firearm Owner’s Identification Act, when transporting a firearm, it must be:

  1. broken down in a non-functioning state; or
  2. not immediately accessible; or
  3. unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.
I have a “conceal and carry” permit issued by another state. Is the permit recognized in Illinois?

No. Illinois does not recognize “conceal and carry” permits from any state. Both non-residents and residents are subject to Illinois’ law, restrictions, and penalties.
How do I transport a firearm through an Illinois community with an ordinance that prohibits firearms or handguns?

Illinois’ Unlawful Use of Weapons law does not preempt local ordinances from banning firearms. Persons carrying or transporting firearms through such communities could be subject to local firearm ordinances. It is recommended that you contact local authorities regarding their firearm ordinances.
If a non-resident is coming to Illinois to hunt and would like to bring their firearm, how do they legally transport it?

Non-residents must be legally eligible to possess or acquire firearms and ammunition in their state of residence. In order to comply with the Criminal Code, the Wildlife Code, and the Firearm Owner’s Identification Act, when transporting a firearm, it must be:

  1. broken down in a non-functioning state; or
  2. not immediately accessible; or
  3. unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.
Is it legal to have ammunition in the case with the firearm?

Yes, so long as the firearm is unloaded and properly enclosed in a case.
What is the definition of a firearm according to the FOID Act?

“Firearm” means any device, by whatever name known, which is designed to expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas or escape of gas; excluding, however:

  1. any pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun which expels a single globular projectile not exceeding .18 inch in diameter or which has a maximum muzzle velocity of less than 700 feet per second;
    (1.1) any pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun which expels breakable paint balls containing washable marking colors;
  2. any device used exclusively for signaling or safety and required or recommended by the United States Coast Guard or the Interstate Commerce Commission;
  3. any device used exclusively for the firing of stud cartridges, explosive rivets or similar industrial ammunition; and
  4. an antique firearm (other than a machine-gun) which, although designed as a weapon, the Department of State Police finds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is primarily a collector’s item and is not likely to be used as a weapon.
Do I need a valid FOID card for a muzzleloader or blackpowder gun?

Yes. In Illinois, muzzleloaders and blackpowder guns are considered firearms.
What constitutes an unloaded muzzleloading firearm?

According to the administrative rules associated with the Wildlife Code, the definition for an unloaded muzzleloading firearm is as follows: “Removal of percussion cap or removal of prime powder from frizzen pan with frizzen open and hammer all the way down or removal of prime powder from flashpan and wheel un-wound or removal of prime powder and match with match not lit shall constitute an unloaded muzzleloading firearm.” (17 Ill. Admin. Code, Sec 660.30)
Can a person who has been convicted of a felony in the state of Illinois ever be eligible for a FOID card?

Applicants who have been convicted of a felony are ineligible to receive a FOID card. However, an appeal procedure is available in accordance with 430 ILCS 65/10. Contact the ISP Firearms Services Bureau at (217) 782-7980 for further information.
Is a person who has been convicted of domestic battery/ domestic violence eligible for a FOID card?

According to Federal and State laws, anyone who has been convicted of domestic battery/ domestic violence is ineligible to possess a FOID card. This prohibition also applies to police officers and those in the military. Contact the ISP Firearms Services Bureau at (217) 782-7980 for further information.
If a person is subject to an active Order of Protection, are they eligible for a FOID card?

According to Federal and State laws, anyone who is subject to an active Order of Protection may be ineligible to possess a FOID card. Contact the ISP Firearms Services Bureau at (217) 782-7980 for further information.
Does Illinois have a waiting period for firearm purchases and does it apply to private sales?

Yes. Illinois law requires withholding the delivery of a concealable weapon (i.e. a handgun) for at least 72 hours and a rifle, shotgun, or other long gun for at least 24 hours. This applies for gun dealers and private sales.