Information for Illinois residents who are new to buying guns

For those who have never purchased a firearm before, the process might be a little daunting, but it is not as bad as you think. Each state in the USA has its own gun laws and rules for making a firearms purchase. While some gun owners think Illinois has the toughest gun laws in the country, that is not true. We are not the worst; California, Maryland, and New Jersey make our state look good.

Illinois has something that other states do not have – the F. O. I. D. card. FOID stands for Firearms Owners Identification. This card, issued by the Illinois State Police (ISP), allows citizens to purchase, possess, and transport legal firearms and ammunition. The ISP issue the card after conducting state and federal background checks. Once issued, the card is valid for ten years. Applicants must be Illinois residents and include their Illinois Driver’s License or State ID card number on the application. Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parent’s signature on a notarized form. The parent must have or be eligible to have a FOID card.

You can apply for your FOID card at GAT Guns.  We have two computers dedicated to FOID applications.  There are no paper applications – it is all done online. We will assist you in doing the application and will take the necessary ID photo. We also can do the notarized form for applicants under 21.

Card holders must show their card when purchasing firearms and ammunition and must have the card in their possession while transporting firearms and ammunition. For more information on the FOID card and other related firearms questions, visit the ISP’s website at

Once you have your FOID card, you may purchase a firearm. When you are approached by a sales associate in a gun store, you must show your card in order to handle any firearm.

Minimum age for purchase: Illinois residents 18 years of age may purchase rifles and shotguns (called “long guns”); Illinois residents 21 years of age may also purchase pistols and revolvers (called “handguns”).

Waiting Period & Background Check: Illinois law requires a 72 hour waiting period for long guns and handguns, provided that your background check has been approved. These waiting periods are held to the minute, so if your purchase receipt says the release time is June 3, 2018 at 4:15 PM, you must wait until that time.

Federal law requires a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, for all firearm purchases. The ISP conducts the background checks in Illinois. The buyer’s background is checked at both state and federal levels in Illinois. The system is not always “instant”; sometimes we get delays due to various reasons. This is no reflection on the buyer’s background – usually just that the system is busy. We will not release a firearm unless we have an approval for the transaction from the ISP.

Paperwork: The federal laws require a BATFE form 4473 for each firearms sale made to a person who does not have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). This form contains information about the person who is buying the firearm, the Driver’s License number and expiration date, the FOID number and expiration date, and the description of the firearm(s) being purchased. In addition, GAT Guns requires that you fill out our Hold Harmless Agreement. The entire process takes about 15 to 20 minutes. You will also receive a brief demonstration of the operation of the firearm.

The only information we give to the ISP is the buyer’s FOID number, date of birth, and whether the purchase is for a long gun, handgun, or both. The ISP does not get the make, model, serial number or any other information on the firearm.

Receipt Copies: Upon request for a receipt to be printed, you will need to present a FOID or Driver’s License or other similar identification. The fee per unique receipt is $25. If you are purchasing copies of many receipts at the same time, there may be price breaks. Additionally, the receipts can be picked up in store or mailed to the address on the receipt. We cannot mail receipts to an address given over the phone.

Residency Requirements: You must be a resident of Illinois to take possession of a handgun, however residents of states that physically border Illinois (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin) are allowed to purchase and take possession of long guns. The 72 hour waiting period applies. Resident Aliens (non-US citizens) are allowed to purchase firearms; a green card or equivalent paperwork with ARN or I-94 listed must be presented.

Release of the firearm to the buyer: The buyer must show their identification at pick-up and sign the 4473 and the final register receipt. Illinois law requires firearm owners to keep receipts for a period of ten years from any firearm transaction. For example: You buy your gun on January 10, 2020. You must retain the receipt until January 10, 2030.

Transporting a firearm: The ISP has a pamphlet  titled “Transport Your Firearm Legally” that is available for download from the ISP website. 

Straw Purchase: Attempting to buy a firearm for another person, who is not legally able to purchase or possess one, is considered a Straw Purchase. This is an illegal activity and is punishable as a Federal Crime. “Don’t Lie For The Other Guy” is a national campaign to prevent the illegal purchase of firearms.

Firearms that are legal in Illinois: Each state has its own laws which cover the firearms that may be legally purchased or possessed in that state. Also, some counties and cities have their own laws.

Full-Auto firearms are illegal in Illinois. Full-auto, also called machine guns are allowed for law enforcement only. Some states do allow private ownership of these firearms; however a special license from the federal government is required.

Firearms registration: Illinois has no provision for registration of firearms; however some communities have their own laws. Check with your town’s municipal codes.

Firearms Training: Training is not required by the state to purchase a firearm.  GAT GUNS offers training for new gun buyers.  See the Training page for information.

Concealed Carry: Illinois now has concealed carry. GAT TRAINING has classes, does finger printing, and ID photos – your one stop shop for the ILLINOIS CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT.  Open carry is allowed only when hunting.


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  1. Store Hours:
  2. Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
  3. Saturday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  4. Sunday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Note: The Ranges Close 1/2 Hour Before The Store Closes

Holiday Hours:

  • New Years Eve - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • New Years Day - 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
  • Easter - CLOSED
  • Memorial Day - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • 4th of July - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Labor Day - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Thanksgiving - CLOSED
  • Christmas Eve - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Christmas Day - CLOSED

GAT Guns Training accepts Credit Cards.