In Illinois, gun owners are generally required to possess a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. The Department of State Police has the authority to revoke or temporarily suspend a FOID card if the holder loses his or her eligibility to possess guns.1 A person who receives a revocation notice must:2

  • Surrender his or her FOID card to the local law enforcement agency where the person resides. The local law enforcement agency must provide the person with a receipt and transfer the FOID card to the Department of State Police;
  • Complete a Firearm Disposition Record form which must disclose the make, model, and serial number of each firearm owned by the person, the location where each firearm will be maintained during the prohibited term, and if any firearm will be transferred to another person, the name, address and FOID card number of the transferee. A copy of this form must be provided to the person whose FOID card has been revoked and to the Department of State Police.3

A violation of these requirements is a misdemeanor. If a person who receives a notice of revocation fails to comply with these requirements, the local law enforcement agency may petition the circuit court to issue a warrant to search for and seize the FOID card and firearms in the possession of that person.4

A separate provision of Illinois law states that, if a person is convicted of a felony and receives a sentence of probation or a conditional discharge, the person must physically surrender at a time and place designated by the court his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and any and all firearms in his or her possession.5

If a person is charged with certain crimes, including forcible felony, stalking, domestic battery or any violations of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, a condition of release on bail must be that the individual surrender all firearms in his or her possession to a law enforcement officer designated by the court and surrender his or her FOID card to the clerk of the circuit court.6 The court may forego this condition if the circumstances of the case do not clearly warrant it or when its imposition would be impracticable.7 If the FOID card is confiscated, the clerk of the circuit court must mail the confiscated card to the Illinois State Police.8 All legally possessed firearms must be returned to the person upon the charges being dismissed, or if the person is found not guilty (unless found not guilty by reason of insanity).9

Firearm Seizure Act

Illinois law provides that any person can bring a complaint before a circuit court that a person possessing a firearm or firearms has threatened to use a firearm illegally. If the court is satisfied that there is any danger of such illegal use of firearms, it must issue a warrant requiring the apprehension of the person for appearance before the court, and authorizing the seizure of any firearm in the person’s possession. The court must order any firearm taken from the person to be kept by the state for safekeeping for a stated period of time no longer than one year. The firearm or firearms must be returned to the person at the end of the stated period.10

Firearms Restraining Orders (Extreme Risk Protection Orders)

In 2018, Illinois enacted the Firearms Restraining Order Act.11 Effective January 1, 2019, this new law will authorize a person’s family or household members,12 as well as law enforcement officers, to petition a circuit court for a civil order preventing a dangerous person from accessing firearms for up to six months.

In order to obtain a Firearms Restraining Order (FRO), the petitioner must file an affidavit or verified petition with the circuit court in the county where the respondent resides alleging that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. 13 In most cases, the court is required to hold a hearing on the matter within 30 days.

If the judge concludes that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the respondent is a significant danger with firearms, the court will issue a 6-month FRO prohibiting the respondent from possessing or receiving firearms for the duration of the order.14  If the court issues an FRO, it must also order the respondent to temporarily transfer to local law enforcement any firearms, FOID Card, or concealed carry license in his or her possession.15

In urgent cases, petitioners can request an emergency FRO by filing an affidavit or verified pleading with the court alleging that the respondent poses an “immediate and present danger” of causing personal injury to self or others by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.16  In such cases, courts are required to hold an ex parte hearing (without waiting for the respondent to receive notice of the hearing) on the same day the emergency petition is filed or the next day the court is in session.17  If the judge finds probable cause to believe a respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to self or others with firearms, the judge will issue an emergency FRO, which generally lasts for up to 14 days.18 If the court also finds probable cause that the respondent already possesses firearms, the court is also required to issue a search warrant directing a law enforcement agency to seize the respondent’s firearms. The court may, as part of that warrant, direct the law enforcement agency to search the respondent’s residence and other places where the court finds there is probable cause to believe he or she is likely to possess the firearms.19

Upon termination of the FRO, law enforcement holding any of the respondent’s weapons will return them to the respondent after performing a background check to ensure the respondent is legally permitted to possess firearms.

This law provides a standard process for respondents to request that an FRO be lifted and for petitioners to request that the FRO be renewed and extended by six months.20

Illinois law makes it a crime to knowingly present false information in an FRO petition.21

For more information about laws similar to the Firearms Restraining Order, visit our policy page on Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

For circumstances when the surrender of firearms are required pursuant to a court’s domestic violence protective order, see the “Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued” subsection of the Domestic Violence & Firearms in Illinois section.

Admission to Mental Health Facilities

Any mental hospital that admits a person as an inpatient pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code must confiscate any firearms in the possession of that person at the time of admission, or at any time the firearms are discovered in the person’s possession during the course of hospitalization.22 The hospital must, as soon as possible following confiscation, transfer custody of the firearms to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and give written notice to the person from whom the firearm was confiscated of the identity and address of the law enforcement agency to which it has given the firearm. The law enforcement agency must maintain possession of any firearm it obtains pursuant to this subsection for a minimum of 90 days, and then dispose of the firearm after that period pursuant to state law.23

Notes
  1. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8 and 430 ILCS 65/8.3. ⤴︎
  2. DSP must also send a notice of the revocation to all law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction to assist with the seizure of the person’s FOID card. 430 ILCS 65/3.1. ⤴︎
  3. 430 Ill. Stat. Comp. 65/9.5(a), (b). ⤴︎
  4. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/9.5(c), (d). ⤴︎
  5. 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(9). ⤴︎
  6. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/110-10(a)(5). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 165/0.01 et seq. ⤴︎
  11. See 2017 IL HB 2354 ⤴︎
  12. The Firearms Restraining Order Act defines eligible petitioners to include either a law enforcement officer or a “family member” of the respondent. The Act defines “family member” for these purposes to mean “a spouse, parent, child, or step-child of the respondent, any other person related by blood or present marriage to the respondent, or a person who shares a common dwelling with the respondent.” See Id., Section 5 (“Definitions”). ⤴︎
  13. Id., Section 40(a). ⤴︎
  14. In considering whether to issue a 6-month FRO, the court shall consider evidence including, but not limited to, the following:

    (1) The unlawful and reckless use, display, or brandishing of a firearm by the respondent.

    (2) The history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person.

    (3) Any prior arrest of the respondent for a felony offense.

    (4) Evidence of the abuse of controlled substances or alcohol by the respondent.

    (5) A recent threat of violence or act of violence by the respondent directed toward himself, herself, or another.

    (6) A violation of an emergency order of protection issued under Section 217 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or Section 112A-17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 or of an order of protection issued under Section 214 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 or Section 112A-14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.

    (7) A pattern of violent acts or violent threats, including, but not limited to, threats of violence or acts of violence by the respondent directed toward himself, herself, or another.

    See Id., Section 40(e). ⤴︎

  15. Id., Section 35(g) and 40(h). ⤴︎
  16. Id., Section 35. ⤴︎
  17. Id., Section 35(d), (e). ⤴︎
  18. Id., Section 35(i). ⤴︎
  19. Id., Section 35(f), (f-5). ⤴︎
  20. See id., Section 45. ⤴︎
  21. See id., Section 35(c) and 40(c). ⤴︎
  22. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-6(c). ⤴︎
  23. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-6(c). ⤴︎