For a long time, a lot of people in Chicago grew into adulthood thinking that only cops and criminals had guns. After all, we all see police with their openly-worn sidearms on a regular basis and we constantly hear from the media about the criminal misuse of firearms in news reports. If you’re not part of the gun culture, you probably don’t hear much about the many law-abiding everyday gun owners.

While most know that everyday residents may own firearms, some are intimidated or fearful of the process to become a legal gun owner. Or they may not even know who to ask or what questions to ask.

At Guns Save Life, we defend your right to defend yourself. Like it or not, a firearm is the great equalizer when it comes to self-defense.

An attacker’s size, youth and physical abilities do not matter if his intended victim has a gun. Even if the attacker has a gun, an armed victim can still fight back and win. See the inset story about a Chicago gun owner and concealed carry holder attacked by a man in an alley. When his attacker produced a gun and started shooting, the good guy produced his own gun and stopped the attack cold.

Empower yourself.
By becoming a gun owner, you too can empower yourself. With some basic training, you will gain confidence in your ability to safely handle a gun and better use it to protect yourself, your children and your family from violent criminals roaming our streets.

It starts with a FOID card (for now).
The road to legal gun ownership in Illinois begins with a Firearm Owners ID Card. Visit the website. The “FOID Frequently Asked Questions” link there has a crash course in the facts about the FOID card, who is eligible and the application process.

In short, anyone legally in America, age 21 and over, who are not prohibited by state or federal law is eligible for a FOID card. Those under 21 may receive a FOID card with a parent or guardian sponsor who themselves are eligible for a FOID card.

For reformed felons or those individuals who have past issues (mental or substance abuse) that may have caused them to be ineligible for a FOID card, the state has an appeals process. That process is detailed at length on a link from the bottom of that FOID Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Once you have submitted your application for a FOID card (the state charges an $11 fee to apply or renew for a 10-year license), the Illinois State Police will review the application. If everything checks out, you’ll likely have your brand new FOID card in about two to three weeks.

Image via NPR.

PRO-TIP: You don’t need a FOID card to take training. Take an NRA Basic Pistol class or something similar at a local range while you wait for that FOID card. These are affordable and chock full of good information, including safety.

A little training will also help you become a more informed consumer, so you don’t spend money for something that won’t work well for you because of its size, weight (or lack thereof), action type or other considerations.

Let’s go shopping!
Once your FOID comes in the mail, it will be time to go shopping.

Admittedly, some may be intimidated by a gun store or a range. They may think that gun stores are chock full of racist rednecks. Quite to the contrary, you will likely find gun store staff very welcoming to everyone regardless of their skin color, nation of origin, religion or lack thereof, or sexual orientation.

Interestingly, minorities and women now make over half of firearm purchasers.

Still intimidated by “gun stores?” Take a ride to a SCHEELS, Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas where you an browse with relative anonymity in a huge store.

If you have questions or want to learn more about gun ownership, or how to become a gun owner in a friendly, welcoming environment, come out to any of the Guns Save Life monthly meetings, including the one in Chicago Heights which is held on the last Sunday of the month.

At any of our GSL meetings you will find enthusiastic gun owners and oftentimes more than a few experienced firearm instructors more than happy to answer questions, offer advice, and also share their experiences and recommendations with a smile.

Information on the addresses, dates and times is located on the front cover of each issue of GunNews. You need not be a member to attend, and you don’t have to eat. Although at the January 30, 2022 meeting, the first $500 in food orders are free… so bring your significant other and/or your kids and come out and join us.

3 thoughts on “*YOU* can become a gun owner in Illinois”
  1. I’m located in Athens, Illinois, I applied for my FOID card BACK IN 2013.. Where subsequently after paying the 10.00 charge I was denied due to me admitting MYSELF to memorial hospital in Springfield for postpartum depression, where I was happily released, I was no danger to anyone nor myself I just needed a break. I have a written release stating from the doctor that my mental state was just fine… But I was denied my constitutional right for a FOID card .. Being a law abiding citizen, and looking after the safety of myself and my week old daughter… I asked for help… And this is the thanks I get even today at over 16 years ago, it is held over my head, I’m not under a doctor’s care, I’m not depressed but I was nearly killed being robbed and need the right to protect my self and my 3 teenage children… what can I do?

    1. First of all, always have “situational awareness” everywhere you go especially in group or large populated gatherings. Talk to your legislators, find one that is not anti-firearm mentally to fight for your constitutional civil rights. You might go ahead with an NRA certified basic firearm course which also could include a basic shotgun and rifle hunting instruction to be familiar with all types of firearms so you feel comfortable being around and handling firearms and ammunition. If you can find a civil rights attorney that would take up your denial of constitutional rights, good luck. Law abiding citizens should never be denied their Rights.

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