For a number of reasons, Illinois keeps a close watch on legal gun owners. The state is home to a robust illegal gun trade in which dozens of low-level smugglers are arrested each year. In Chicago, many crimes are committed using weapons obtained illegally either in "downstate" Illinois or outside of the state's borders. The Illinois State Police works closely with both the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI to manage the state's gun problem. In fact, the state legislature has passed several laws that restrict gun ownership and use. Although these laws are similar to those found in several other states, they are enforced very strictly in Illinois.
The Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card is one of the hallmarks of this enforcement drive. Any Illinois resident who wishes to purchase or obtain a firearm must firm apply for one of these cards. Although the Illinois State Police is currently in the midst of expanding its firearm licensing operation, its resources remain fairly limited. As such, the application process often takes several months.
If you're applying for an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card, you'll need to keep several things in mind. First, the ISP maintains strict eligibility requirements for license-holders. Any prior felony convictions or "adjudicated convictions" that occurred when you were a minor could disqualify you from obtaining your license. "Adjudicated convictions" typically include felony crimes that carry reduced penalties for minors. Some violent misdemeanors, including domestic battery or simple assault, may also disqualify you from consideration.
In addition, your licensing application will be subject to intense cross-checking. You'll need to fill it out completely and double-check it for missing fields and errors. Even a single blank line or spelling error could delay your application for weeks. The Illinois State Police maintains a list of common errors that can deny or delay these applications. These include missing signatures, incorrect driver's license information and unchecked demographic-information boxes.
If you're under the age of 21, you'll need written permission from your parent or legal guardian to apply for your Firearm Owner's Identification Card. Both you and your guardian must be eligible to possess a firearm in Illinois. If your guardian is determined to lack the proper qualifications to obtain his or her own Firearm Owner's Identification Card, your application will be denied until you turn 21. You'll also need to include a $10 licensing fee with your application.