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Firearms & FOID Cards: Firearms Prohibitions

There are certain triggering events that lead to what is referred to as a "firearms prohibition." Sometimes these prohibitions can be imposed by federal law, while other times a prohibition will be imposed by state law. Only Illinois requires a Firearm Owner's Identification (or "FOID") card. This article will summarize events giving rise to firearms prohibitions. Later articles will explain the difficulties with seeking relief from those prohibitions, and what can and cannot be done when someone is subject to a prohibition.

A person can become subject to a federal firearms prohibition when he or she:

  1. is convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence;
  2. becomes a fugitive from justice;
  3. is an unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance;
  4. is adjudicated a mental defective or has been admitted to a mental institution;
  5. is an unlawful alien or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
  6. has been discharged dishonorably from the armed forces;
  7. has renounced his or her citizenship; or
  8. is subject to a court order entered after participating in a hearing that prohibits harassing, stalking, or threatening of an intimate partner or that partner's child and that either (a) includes a finding that the person is a credible threat to the protected party or (b) prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force against the protected party[i].

A person can become subject to an Illinois firearms prohibition, be denied a Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card, or have his or her FOID card revoked when he or she:

  1. is or becomes subject to a federal firearms prohibition;
  2. has been a patient in a mental health facility within the past 5 years;
  3. has a mental disability, an intellectual disability, or a developmental disability;
  4. is subject to an Order of Protection, a No Stalking Order, or a similar court order
  5. is convicted of a misdemeanor involving the use or threat of force within the past 5 years;
  6. has 2 or more DUI's within 5 years;
  7. has an outstanding arrest warrant for a disqualifying criminal offense;
  8. has received either residential or court-ordered substance abuse treatment within the past 5 years;
  9. has been positive for a drug not prescribed to him or her;
  10. is convicted of Battery, Assault, Aggravated Assault, Domestic Battery, Aggravated Domestic Battery, or a Violation of an Order of Protection, a No Stalking Order, or a similar court order; or
  11. poses a danger to anyone, including public safety[ii].

What to do—and what can be done—after you are subject to a firearm prohibition, federal or state, can be difficult, but solutions for getting your FOID card back after are presented in another article.

Copyright © 2017 by Brendan Bukalski

The information provided in this column is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as legal advice or interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. As a general rule, all specific legal problems should be handled by an individual's attorney. All rights reserved. Any copying, duplication, or commercial use of the information contained in this column is strictly prohibited without prior permission.


[i] See 18 U.S.C. 922(g).

[ii] See 430 ILCS 65/8.