Know the Laws: Illinois
UPDATED October 23, 2012
Below is information about state gun laws in Illinois. A restraining order or criminal conviction may make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun. However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply. To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages. Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area.
Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. To find help in your area, please go to the IL Where to Find Help page.
In these gun laws pages, we refer to both "federal gun laws" and "state gun laws." The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.
If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, it will not really matter to you if he violated federal or state law (in other words, you do not need to be able to tell the police which law he violated). The local police would likely arrest the abuser for violating either law and then after he is arrested, the police would hand the case over to the state prosecutor or the federal prosecutor to bring the criminal case against him. If he is breaking both state and federal laws, he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.
The reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law and you can better protect yourself. Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws. Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well. You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.
Throughout these gun law pages, we will refer to gun laws that make it illegal for someone convicted of a felony to have a gun. A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. Under IL state law, a felony is a crime that is punishable by death or a sentence of one year or more in a penitentiary.* However, you cannot always tell if someone was convicted of a felony only by looking at the amount of time s/he actually served in prison since sentences are often reduced or pled down. If you are unsure if the abuser was convicted of a felony, you might want to talk to the prosecutor who handled the criminal case against the abuser to find out or go to the courthouse and search the conviction records.
* 720 ILCS 5/2-7