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