Recent Changes to Chicago's Gun Laws

Updated on 08/11/2023 / Under

While the second amendment allows us to own guns, gun violence is prevalent throughout the United States. However, it tends to be most heavily concentrated in large urban areas such as New York City. Despite the myth that Chicago and Oak Park are America’s murder capital, the city actually has very strict possession of firearm regulations and gun violence is still an issue. Chicago and Oak Park are known for violent crime and gun bans, but both Chicago and Texas are the same with gun deaths.

These regulations help keep the overall violent crime rate low, but the underground black market for firearms continues to thrive. Illinois was the last state to allow residents to carry concealed firearms with frequent background checks. Chicago's reputation for having strict handgun laws is rooted in its ban on handguns in 1982.

Chicago gun charge lawyer Alex Ktenas

Receiving a gun charge can be a serious offense. Contact the best criminal defense lawyers in Chicago today for a free consultation or to ask any questions about the recent changes to Chicago's gun laws at Ktenas Law!

Overview of Chicago Gun Laws and Statistics

Gun violence kills more than 36,000 Americans every single year, and another 100,000 are injured from gun violence. The Supreme Court is dealing with new Gun Laws every day. "Judges should no longer consider whether the law serves public interest enhancing public safety," said Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court.

Gun violence is a national problem, and Chicago is not exempt from it. Chicago has a lower murders per capita rate than many smaller U.S. cities. San Francisco and New York do more to ban guns than Chicago. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Chicago was ranked 14 out of 50 major metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) for population size in 2017.

guns laying on a table, Changes to Chicago's Gun Laws

It is illegal to purchase a firearm without a FOID license from an authorized dealer. However, if you already own one, you may keep it at home. If you want to buy another, you need to get a permit first. Sadly, most do not go and get their concealed firearm license. The Supreme Court says you cannot conceal carry unless you have a valid FOID license.

Different types of firearms and ammo require different legislation. "Open carry" refers to the carrying of firearms openly without a permit; "vehicle carry" refers to carrying a firearm inside a car or truck. As of now, there are no laws prohibiting the possession of firearms such as an AR-15-style rifle in Illinois.

The Chicago Sun-Times stated that the state of Illinois is the first state to ban untraceable "ghost guns". Some of the tougher gun laws in Chicago is the ban on assault weapons. Victims of gun crimes have strong opinions on the laws, such as having an extreme guide on gun control measures.

Private gun sales must conduct universal background checks before selling guns. When a gun is being transported it must be put in a specific shipping box. A waiting period exists between purchasing and taking possession of a gun. And if someone petitions the court to seize a gun from someone who has been determined to be "immediately dangerous," then the gun owner may lose his/her right to own a gun.

What are some recent changes to Chicago's Gun Laws?

On January 1st of 2019, the Illinois legislature passed several new gun control measures. These were intended to make it harder for individuals to get a gun and easier for police officers to confiscate them from individuals they deem to be dangerous.

1. You now have up to 72 additional days to wait before you can legally possess the weapon you just bought.

2. Under the previous law, if a person had an expired FOID they could not legally possess firearms until they received a replacement. However, under the current law, if a person has an expired FOID, they may continue to lawfully possess firearms until they submit a new FOID request.

3. On July 5, the Firearms Restraining Orders Act took effect. Under this new law, judges may issue an order for up to six months prohibiting someone from having access to their firearm if they believe there is imminent danger of harm to themselves or others.

There are three major changes affecting Chicago and Oak Park's firearm regulations in 2019, but there are several minor amendments too. For instance, hospitals will now be required to report involuntary psychiatric admissions to the state.

FAQ: How do I beat a gun charge in Illinois?

Prior to 2019, people were able to petition the court for an Order of Protection regarding FOID and firearms, however, that right was only granted to those living within the city limits. In 2019, that restriction was removed and the right was expanded to include hospitals and churches. If you are searching for a so-called "real solution", Chicago will teach you that there is not a "real solution". The majority of firearms come from other states.

What Will Stricter Gun Laws do to Reduce Gun Crime in Chicago?

Stricter gun laws have come into play since the 2016 election. Heller Chicago and other municipalities were legally pressured into changing their laws. On June 28, 2010, in the case of, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the handgun bans of Chicago and Oak Park to be unconstitutional. On July 12, 2010, a new Chicago law went into effect allowing the possession of handguns with some restrictions. Other states set a minimum age for possessing handguns or unlawful weapons.

Chicago has strict possession of handgun laws, including an outright ban on certain firearms. However, these laws were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, and the state of Illinois later passed a law allowing for concealed carrying of firearms. It is also important to know that Chicago has one of the highest rates of illegal firearms possession among major cities in the United States.

hand guns and a rifle, Changes to Chicago's Gun Laws

This means that even though Illinois has some of the strictest firearm regulations in the country, guns can still be acquired by criminals. Some stricter gun control laws were made in 2020, this is supposed to help reduce the risk of gun-related crimes.

Concealed and Open Carry?

A Concealed Carry License is a document that allows you to legally carry a concealed weapon in most states. The carry of firearms in public is a big deal in Chicago. Your city council crafted every law perfectly. According to the Chicago Tribune, some states require applicants for the concealed-carry permitting process to undergo background checks by local law enforcement agencies, but others don't.

Chicago also has lost or stolen firearm reporting. A "concealable" weapon is defined by the state as a loaded or unloaded gun carried on or about one's body completely or mostly hidden from sight. If the gun is on your person inside a car, it also counts as a "concealable" weapon. A "shall issue" law requires the issuing authority to grant an application for a permit to any applicant who meets the legal requirements.

Some of the most experienced gun owners don't get their concealed carry licenses. To obtain concealable weapons permit in the United States, you must complete 16 hours of firearm safety instruction from an instructor who has been approved by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The state of Illinois must approve or deny a concealed carry permit within the 120-day waiting period.

However, any police department can refuse to issue a driver's license if they believe that the person applying for one is dangerous to themselves or others, or poses a threat to public safety. You will also be denied a concealed permit if you have a felony or an act of domestic violence on your record. Domestic abusers are turned away. Other states may allow different laws for the possession of firearms, but Illinois requires strict permitting to carry a gun in public.

FAQ: Is a gun charge a felony in Illinois?

There are several types of gun offenses in Illinois. Possessing a weapon without a permit, license, or certificate is considered a misdemeanor. Unlawful use of a weapon is a felony. Possessing a weapon by a minor is a Class A misdemeanor. Possessing a weapon after having been convicted of a felony is a Class 3 felony.

Contact an Experienced Gun Law Attorney Today

There will always be crime in Chicago, and if you've been charged with a gun crime, you must get legal representation immediately. You have the right to remain silent, and we're here to protect your constitutional right to due process.

Need to talk to a gun law attorney today? Contact Ktenas Law at (312) 756-8652 for a free consultation.