Last Updated: October 14, 2017
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
Every state has its own set of gun laws, so it’s no surprise that the laws on concealed carry are different from state to state as well.
As states go, Illinois is not the most gun-friendly, but getting a permit for concealed carry is not as difficult as it may seem.
We’ll go over all the requirements and steps in getting your CCW permit and have you out defending your freedom in no time!
First Things First
If you already checked out our Illinois gun laws section, you’ll know that you need a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card to even be able to do anything related to firearms. If you want to be able to carry concealed in the state, you’ll also need to make sure you have a valid FOID card.
Once you’ve got the FOID card issue out of the way, you’ll be happy to know that Illinois is a shall-issue state. That means, as long as you meet all the requirements and fill out the application correctly, the state will issue you a permit, officially known as a concealed carry license (CCL).
So what’s Required?
Beyond the FOID card, there are a few basic requirements that you’ll have to meet in order to get a CCL.
To qualify for a CCL, you must:
- Be 21 or older;
- Have a valid FOID card; and
- Successfully complete a required firearms training course.
Non-residents can also apply for an Illinois CCL, but only states with concealed carry laws that are substantially similar to those of Illinois will be recognized. Basically, this means only non-residents from Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia qualify for an Illinois non-resident CCL.
Beyond those basic requirements though, you’ll also need to make sure you don’t fall into any of the prohibited categories that would automatically result in your application being denied. You will be automatically denied a CCL if you:
- Are prohibited under federal law from possessing or receiving a firearm (well, yeah);
- Have been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor involving the use of threat of physical force or violence to a person, in the last 5 years;
- Have been convicted or found guilty of two or more violations related to driving while under the influence, in the last 5 years; or
- Have been in residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the last 5 years.
Most of these requirements would likely disqualify you from getting a FOID in the first place, so you wouldn’t even be able to own a firearm, much less try to carry one concealed. Legally, anyway. Follow the law!
Train Like You Fight
The training requirement is not hard to meet, since you can only take the training from an approved instructor listed on the Illinois State Police CCL website.
The course itself is pretty basic, and will cover the topics of:
- Firearms safety;
- Basic principles of marksmanship;
- Care, cleaning, loading, and loading of a concealable firearm;
- All state and federal laws relating to the ownership, storage, carry, and transportation of a firearm; and
- Weapons handling.
In addition to the instruction, you’ll also need to pass a live fire exercise by hitting 70% of the targets. The course requires you to shoot 10 rounds from 5, 7, and 10 yards each, at a B-27 silhouette target. You probably shouldn’t miss at that range, but it never hurts to practice and make sure you can hit a target at those ranges. No point in carrying if you can’t hit anything with your gun!
The Waiting Game
Once you’ve completed your CCL application and made sure you included all the required information, send it in to the Illinois State Police site, and sit back and wait. It usually takes about 90 days for you to hear back, though if there are any issues with your application, it can take up to an extra 30 days for them to process it.
If your application is denied, you’ll need to pay attention to who denied it. If your application was denied by the CCL Review Board, then you have 35 days to appeal the decision. These denials are usually related to issues in your criminal history, so you’ll want to make sure you are aware of any potential issues that might disqualify you from getting a CCL.
If your application was denied by the Director of the ISP, then you have 60 days to appeal the decision. These types of denials are usually related to FOID eligibility, so you’ll need to look back at whether you have any issues for qualifying for a FOID card.
In both situations, when you are appealing your denial, you need to basically state why you think the denial is wrong, or provide whatever information was missing when you last submitted your application.
Once you fix the problem, or if you never had a problem to fix in the first place, you should hopefully have your CCL in hand, and all you need to do is remember to renew it every 5 years!
Where do you think you’re going?
Even with your CCL, there are still some places that are off limits.
You cannot carry a concealed handgun in:
- Schools and child care facilities;
- Colleges and universities;
- Government buildings;
- Public playgrounds;
- Public parks
- Bars, and any restaurant that gets more than half its profits from alcohol sales);
- Public transportation;
- Public gatherings such as festivals or parades;
- Sports stadiums;
- Zoos; and
- Any private property where the owner puts up signs prohibiting firearms.
In these situations, your best bet is to leave your handgun in a locked container in your car, ideally out of sight, so no one will try to steal it while you are running your errands somewhere firearms are prohibited.
One of the best things of getting a CCL is to be able to use it in other states too! The next time you’re on vacation, don’t forget to bring your CCL, and you can continue to carry your handgun just like you do back home!
An Illinois CCL is recognized in:
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
Most of these states are more gun-friendly than Illinois, so you might get used to the gun laws out there and not want to go back! You’ll want to take a look at our CCW guides for whichever state you’re planning on visiting, just to familiarize yourself with the gun laws on carrying while out there, and be aware of the differences you might need to be careful of.
If you’re visiting Illinois and have a CCW permit from your home state, then we’ve got some bad news. Illinois does not recognize CCW permits from any other states. You’ll have to leave your guns at home, and maybe just stick to the nice parts of the state.
That’s it! All you need to know about getting a concealed carry license from Illinois! Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance too!
And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out our Illinois gun laws page and brush up on your knowledge of general gun laws in the state!