How to Sell a Gun in Illinois

How to Sell a Gun in Illinois

How to Sell a Gun in Illinois

The process to sell a gun in Illinois is fairly straightforward but does requires some hoops to jump through.  You can not simply sell the gun to anyone off the street, and does require the same waiting period as if you were to buy a gun from a licensed dealer. Nothing within this posting is to be considered legal advice and all questions should be directed to your criminal defense attorney.

The process for private party purchases of guns in Illinois requires the same waiting period as buying a gun from a dealer. It is my personal layman opinion that the waiting period starts from the time the agreement is made, for example: You call me and say I want your gun, we agree on a price by phone, and you pick it up in 1-3 days. 1 day for long guns, 3 days for handguns. Some people will use the ISP FOID check date and time stamp as the date and time of agreement. Others will say that the waiting period starts when payment has been made. You should consult your criminal defense attorney if you have a question.

A bill of sale is required, and you must keep that bill of sale for 10 years. Illinois also requires that you verify the FOID by using the website or by calling 217-524-3847. You will be provided with a transaction number, and minimum write this number onto your bill of sale. However when I sell a gun in Illinois I also print and keep a copy of the transaction number issued as proof that I did check the validity of the FOID. You will also be given the option of printing a bill of sale using the ISP website, however my bill of sale includes more information than the bill of sale provided by the ISP.

The bill of sale for the sale of a gun in Illinois, must include at minimum:

  1. Date of Sale.
  2. Name of Buyer.
  3. Address of Buyer.
  4. Agreed Sale Price for the gun.
  5. Make, Model & Serial Number.

I like to save the physical copy of the bill of sale, as well as scan into my computer. Also, because I am anal. I will place both FOID cards with the gun and take a picture of the gun with FOID cards.

It is often said that this law regarding the FOID background check, is “a law without teeth.” As written there is no criminal penalty for not checking somebody’s FOID when you sell your gun in Illinois. However I prefer verify the FOID anyways to protect myself from possible civil liability incase the gun is misused at some time in the future.

If you are selling your gun to a licensed dealer, at their place of business, the waiting period does not apply and there is no need to verify the FOID of the licensed dealer.

Also there are exceptions for transfers to heirs or as gifts to family. Meaning, you do not need to run the FOID check for family (family is described as husband, wife, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law,    son-in-law, or daughter-in-law.)

This applies to gun shows, where private sellers whish to sell their gun in Illinois.

<P”>In addition, a person who wishes to sell their gun in Illinois may not knowingly sell their gun to a prohibited person, even if the prohibited person has a FOID card.

If you reside in cook county and are selling your gun, you must also notify the county.

This applies regardless if you are selling your gun to a private buyer or to a licensed dealer. If you are the seller and reside in Cook County, you may not simply avoid filing this document by selling outside of Cook County. it doesn’t work that way.

You may also want to contact your local police department to see if your village/city has any specific requirements. if they tell you they do, ask them to provide a link to the statute in writing. I once heard a Chicago police officer state that sales from Chicago residents outside of Chicago city limits requires a FFL, but have never ever been able to find an ordinance that references this mis-information.



Thomas Kral

Thomas Kral is an avid gun rights advocate being involved in the movement in Illinois since 2012 and became one of the very first Concealed Carry instructors to be certified by the Illinois State Police in 2013.

Thomas is also a proud father and husband, having said, "The only things more important than 2nd Amendment issues and gun rights are my wife and kids."


  1. Great information thanks . I would just like to comment that i find it disturbing that there is a FOID requirement to own or transport a gun or ammo in Illinois. I have always followed the law with regards to the FOID card and have owned and shot shotguns since a teenager. That doesn’t change the fact that how the FOID requirements made into law is beyond me …very intrusive and doesn;t curb criminals. Just my 2 cents.

  2. It really helped when you mentioned that I wouldn’t have to verify with an institution when I sell my firearms to a licensed dealer and that there is no waiting time. My father passed away last month, and we plan to sell his firearms since no other person in the family uses weapons. So I appreciate you for educating us about the procedure of selling guns. Thanks!

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