Comparing Illinois and Indiana Gun Laws: Possession and Purchase

As the debate over gun reforms continues, we take a closer look at several laws already on the books in Illinois and Indiana.

Posted: May 24, 2018 10:58 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - As the debate over gun reforms continues, we take a closer look at several laws already on the books in Illinois and Indiana.


News 10's Heather Good spoke with two experts on each side of the border to compare.

Bill Brown is a deputy with the Clark County Sheriff's Office, a firearms instructor and is an expert on Illinois gun law. Chris Wrede is a Terre Haute City Court judge and is an expert on Indiana gun law.

Even though they share a border, Indiana and Illinois gun laws are vastly different in some big ways.

Wrede explains, in Indiana, a person does not need a permit to have a firearm.

Illinois residents do need a permit.

Brown says, "In the state of Illinois, they have to have what's called a FOID card. Firearms Owner Identification card. We are the only state in this country where that's required."

FOID cards are issued through the Illinois State Police Department. To get one, Brown explains, a person must answer questions for a background check.

He says, "It asks you about misdemeanor convictions, felony convictions, mental issues, if a person is having any kind of mental issues, mental health adjudications or things of that nature is what they're looking for."

If approved, you must carry the FOID card with you anytime you are in possession of a firearm.

Brown explains a person must be at least 21-years-old to get a FOID card unless they get a signature from a parent who already has a FOID card.

People convicted of a felony or violent misdemeanor cannot get a FOID card. If a person already has a FOID card and is later convicted the state police will revoke the card.

When it comes to buying a firearm from a licensed dealer buyers have to fill out a Firearms Transaction Record, also called ATF Form 4473. Buyers have to do this in every state.

In Indiana, once the form is processed and approved the buyer can walk out with the gun. Wrede explains there are two other possible outcomes. When the form is submitted a buyer could get a "delayed" response. This could happen for various reasons and means more time is needed to approve the application. If there is no response after 72 hours, the seller can transfer the gun to the buyer. The form could also be denied. Wrede says most approvals happen within seconds if done electronically and sometimes minutes if done over the phone.

Wrede says, "Indiana allows civilian transfer of firearms, or ownership of firearms, without having to go through the 4473 form."

According to Brown, the same is true for Illinois private sales.

The difference in Illinois is, once again, a buyer must have that FOID card.

In Illinois, there is a 72-hour waiting period before a buyer can pick-up a handgun after getting approval. There is a 24-hour waiting period before a buyer can pick up a long gun after approval. It is the same regardless if a seller is a dealer or a private citizen.

This is only a snapshot of the laws regarding gun sales and there are more differences regarding how guns can be carried. News 10's Heather Good will have more on this in a report Friday night on MyFox10 and News 10 Nightwatch.

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