Step-by-step Chicago Firearm Registration

How do you legally acquire and register a firearm in Chicago? Here’s a step-by-step summary:

Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID)

A FOID is required for you to purchase or possess a firearm and ammunition in the state of Illinois. This absolutely should be obtained first. Illinois gun shops will not even let you touch a firearm without it. Out of state ammunition suppliers may ask for your FOID if shipping to you in Illinois.

Note: the FOID (nor any other registration from any state) do NOT authorize concealed carry. The FOID card is $10 and must be renewed every 10 years. There are no minimum age restrictions on applicants.

Online FOID Application to print and mail in.

To complete the FOID application you will need to send along a photograph of yourself measuring 1.25″ W x 1.5″ H. Do NOT send a Passport photo, your application will be rejected.

Although the Illinois State Police (ISP) have indicated their current processing time is more than 50 days Illinois state law requires the ISP to issue or deny your card within 30 days. If you do not have your FOID within 30 days, call your State Representative and advise them of the delay and ask them to call on your behalf. You can call the ISP as well, but expect to wait 60 minutes or longer.

Once you have received your approved FOID you can purchase your weapon, however residents of Chicago should consider waiting to purchase a handgun until they receive their Chicago Firearms Permit (CFP) because of the 5-day registration restriction.

You could choose to patronize a “local” gun shop, but you can purchase a handgun from anywhere in the country. When you purchase a firearm it must be shipped to a Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder, such as a gun shop. Expect to pay between $20 and $50 for this service.

Long guns (rifles and shotguns) may be purchased in Illinois or any neighboring state (IA, IN, WI, MO, KY) and transported by you personally back across the state line. Any state beyond those bordering states requires shipment to a FFL as noted above.

In all cases, the FFL holder must verify your FOID before delivering the weapon to you.

Another option would be to make a private purchase (any legal long gun or handgun) from an individual in the state of Illinois. In this case the seller is required to copy down your FOID information and retain this information for 10 years after the sale.

You could also purchase a handgun from a private party out-of-state but the weapon MUST be shipped to a FFL shop first.

Chicago Firearms Permit (CFP)

Chicago Police Department CFP Requirements

City of Chicago Residents MUST also have a CFP to legally own or possess a firearm within the city limits. A major component of receiving your CFP is to take an APPROVED CFP training class. Make sure the class you take is CFP approved before signing up. Expect to pay between $100 and $150 for a CFP class.

You will also need two passport-sized photos taken which you will submit with the CFP application.

There is a CFP Application PDF to download and print however it has been rumored that the city will only accept their original forms (on yellow card stock) which is available at the CPD HQ. Note that the application must be brought in person to 3510 S. Michigan (Chicago Police Department HQ). Note: The address on Kedzie no longer accepts CFP applications.

The CPD will take your finger prints, check your vision and take the application fee of $100. The initial CFP is valid for 3 years.

Chicago Gun Registration

Once you have a valid FOID and CFP you can now purchase a firearm. Any gun MUST be registered within 5 days of entering the city. The Chicago Police Department gun registration is $15/gun and you can’t register more than one firearm per 30 days.

CPD Gun Registration PDF to download and print however it has been rumored that the CPD will only accept their original forms which are also available at the CPD HQ.

Responsible Gun Ownership

The Chicago city ordinance places additional restrictions on your legal rights regarding your firearms. Although Illinois state law allows you to carry your weapon anywhere on your property (yard, garage, or porch), Chicago’s ordinance allows firearm use only INSIDE your home and not even your attached garage or outside your front door.

To move or possess the firearm beyond the confines of your living space Chicago requires that you have a CFP, the weapon be inoperable (i.e. disassembled), unloaded, in a case designed for gun storage and amunition stored in a separate case. Note that this differs from Illinois state requirements which only require a FOID and allow for ammunition to be in the same container as an unloaded firearm.

Illinois State Police Firearm Transportation Guidelines Download PDF

18 thoughts on “Step-by-step Chicago Firearm Registration”

  1. Couple of errors in the article:
    1. They do accept printed out forms for gun registration, I’ve done it many times.
    2. One _handgun_ every 30 days, you can buy and register as many long guns at the same time as you want.

  2. What I don’t understand about this process, is that, if one is to purchase, a what Chicago claims to be an “unsafe gun” , on accident and one then registers and is denied …. what happens then ? Seems backasswards to me ?????

    1. You can start by reading the Chicago gun ordinance on the Chicago Police Firearm portal and find the definition of “assault” weapons that are not allowed. There is also a link to the list of “unsafe weapons”. But just because a firearm is not on the unsafe weapons list does not mean it will be allowed. The firearm must still not have any “assault weapon” features outlined in the ordinance (e.g. pistol grip on semi auto shotgun, handgun magazine > 12 rounds, barrel length limits, etc).

      https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/About%20CPD/Firearm%20Registration

      Then if you want to be certain you can call the CPD gun registration desk and provide them with information on the firearm you would like to purchase and they should be able to provide you with the needed info (they seem to be willing to help out).

      Worse case, after all of that, you submit a firearm registration and it is rejected, you have a right to appeal or remove the firearm from the city within a set number of days (the ordinance at the CPD portal link provides the details).

      It is definitely not a straight forward, quick or cheap process.

  3. i have a gun but it has been stuck locked away in a safe i worked for an armour company thats how i got it its in my name but i can open the safe to get to it but plan on opening it soon

  4. I purchased a shotgun months ago that is stored at my parents house currently. When i get my cfp and the date i bought it and the “posessed by me in chicago on…” date are different, that will not lead to my application to be denied correct? I brought it back until i had time to obtain my cfp. Thanks!

    1. Ryan, Based on my understanding (not a lawyer)that should not be an issue. However, if you want to play it safe, in the ‘possessed by me in Chicago’ line you could put “currently stored in suburbs pending permit approval”. I called the CPD gun registration desk and they said I could write “at dealer pending approval”. Since I left my at dealer after paying for required 24 hours plus a couple of weeks since it was a haul to get back out to burbs to pick up. I just made sure I had serial number to submit registration application.

      So you need firearms permit first, the submit gun registration certificate.

      Again, that is based on my understanding to be sure you should contact CPD gun desk.

      https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/About%20CPD/Firearm%20Registration

  5. Just came back from applying for the Chicago Firearm Permit (CFP) today.
    First, the address for doing everything is 3510 S. Michigan Ave., Room 1027 SE, Chicago IL 60653. Finding on street parking was easy. They are open 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Monday – Friday.

    Second, you must use their yellow (CFP) form period! The copy I made on white card stock was not acceptable. They will give the official form to you to fill out there.

    Third, a little tricky requirement on the instructions on filling out the application, # 11 A copy of the Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance (MCC 8-20) is required. They make sure you include it. They look for it and then give just give it back to you.

    Forth, they not only take your finger prints, but your hand prints and palm prints.
    The whole process took about 45 minutes at 9:30 am. Hope this helps.

  6. I live in Chicago. My next door neighbor has a few unregistered firearms at his house and wishes to sell me one. If I buy it, I want to register it. If I give him a copy of my FOID card, CFP, and draw up a transfer document, then wait 72 hours to take possession will there be a problem? Would he run into problems if I put him on the registration form?

  7. Ok I bought a used pistol. Have valid foid and cfp. Brought into city march 13th, on march 15th my firearm was put into police eveidenc due to a bogus assult charge. I didnt have it registerd, but was still in the 5 day period. The assult charge was dropped but the judge is thinking about not giving me my firearm back. It was legally possesed I. Chicago since I was In the 5 day period rightand the judge should have ordered it back since it was legally possesed?

  8. What happens if as a Chicago resident with valid CFP and FOID card I buy more than one pistol at an estate auction? How do I register them legally?

  9. This is dumb! The State say’s you can have a gun but Chicago say’s you can have one but we need your money and we are going to make it costly. I wouldn’t have a problem with this if the penalty for not having this CFP was stiffer. The criminals don’t get permits only law abiding citizens do! With obtaining the FOID and CFP, there is no reason not to have a concealed and carry Ordinance in Chicago. Next Mayor election we should make this a issue, I don’t like being a walking or driving powerless victim!

  10. DO THE CROOKS HAVE TO PAY THIS MUCH MONEY TO HAVE A FIRE ARM THAT THEY STOLE . DO THEY HAVE TO SEND YOU A PHOTO ID. AND DO THE CROOKS HAVE TO TAKE A COURSE IN THE USE OF A FIRE ARM, AND HOW MUCH AM I GOING TO HAVE TO PAY A GOVERNMENT BABY SITTER TO SIT WITH ME AND MY GUN ? i THINK YOUR RULES ARE RIDICULOUS. NO OTHER COUNTRY HAVE RULES AS STUPID AS THAT. ALL THIS IS, IS ANOTHER SCAM TO FLEECE THE PUBLIC , i DON’T OWN A GUN AND I AM NOT ABOUT TO KISS YOUR BLEEP TO OWN ONE.

  11. Question: Now that the concealed carry law was passed, are Chicago residents no longer required to get a CFP?

  12. From what I understand you just need your FOID card. No more CFP and no more useless City gun registrations. “Assault” weapon ban is another subject.

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