Illinois Requires Background Checks On All Gun Sales


Starting January 1, all gun sales in Illinois will be subject to background checks, as part of a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday.

The Illinois Gun Safety and Responsibility Act closes a loophole that excludes private gun sales, including those made online. Currently, only firearms purchased at a licensed firearms dealer or at a state gun show are subject to background checks.

Anyone who wishes to purchase a gun must apply for a firearm owners identification (FOID) card, which is obtained only after police screen the applicant’s health and criminal records. When purchasing a gun, the gun seller will be required to call a state hotline to confirm the validity of the FOID card before the buyer is permitted to buy the gun.

The new law also requires all gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to local police within 72 hours. Stolen guns are frequently used in gang activity, as well as guns bought privately and then sold to gang members.

This past weekend, 4 people were killed and 15 were wounded as a result of gun violence in Chicago. Just last night, a seven year old boy was wounded by a bullet while he was carrying his bike into his home.

Quinn has advocated tougher gun laws, to the ire of conservative legislators. He scolded state legislators after they voted to override his veto of a lax concealed carry bill in July. He recommended tighter restrictions, including requiring guns to be “completely” concealed, not just “partially”, and prohibiting concealed weapons in locations that sell alcohol, such as bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

According to the Brady Campaign, only two other states, California and Rhode Island, require background checks for all gun purchases. Nationally, support for universal background checks remains high. Despite this, the Senate voted against a measure that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and online purchases.

Marina Fang is an intern for ThinkProgress.