How to Sell a Gun in Illinois

Illinois gun laws and Illinois gun control laws have their place, but lawmakers all too often get carried away with the best of intentions. When state legislatures pass laws meant to deter criminals from accessing guns, they inadvertently make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to engage in legal gun transactions. We at Cash My Guns hate to see honest Americans get tripped up by confusing gun laws, so we created an easy, safe and legal method for people to sell unwanted firearms. In this article we discuss how to sell a gun in Illinois, the relevant gun laws and the options available to Illinois residents.

What Is a FOID Card?

First, let’s get some terminology out of the way. When in engaging in gun transactions in Illinois, you’ll likely come across the term FOID Card. FOID Card signifies: “Firearm Owners Identification card – and residents need one to legally possess or purchase firearms or ammunition in the state. The applicable law has been in effect since 1968,[2] but has been subject to several subsequent amendments,” (Wikipedia).

How Do I Obtain a FOID Card?

Illinois gun laws graphic“The FOID card is issued by the Illinois State Police, with the application being submitted either online or via a paper application process.[3] Police first perform a check of the applicant on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), an electronic database maintained by the FBI,” (Wikipedia).

The application fee is $10. FOID Cards issued after June 1, 2008 are valid for ten years.

Reasons why someone may be denied their FOID Card:

• Felony conviction
• Subject of a protection order within last five years
• Domestic violence conviction within last five years
• Assault or battery conviction within last five years
• Adjudicated as mentally defective within last five years
• Patient of mental institution within last five years

Gun sellers may not knowingly sell a gun to a prohibited person, regardless if the prohibited person has a FOID Card or not.

What Is the Cool Down Waiting Period in Illinois?

“Illinois prohibits any person from delivering a firearm prior to the expiration of statutory waiting periods, which are currently 24 hours for long guns and 72 hours for handguns.1 Effective June 1, 2019, however, the 72-hour waiting period will apply to both long guns and handgun purchases.2

For transfers through licensed dealers and at gun shows, the Illinois Department of State Police must approve the transfer or inform the dealer of the applicant’s ineligibility within these time periods.3 The waiting periods begin to run at the time an application to purchase the firearm is made. “Application” is defined to mean “when a buyer and seller reach an agreement to purchase a firearm.”4,” (Giffords Law Center).

Venues for Selling a Gun in Illinois

Those wishing to sell a gun or a gun collection in Illinois have multiple methods at their disposal. In this section we look at the pros and cons to each gun sale method.

Cash My Guns:

Our process is easy, safe, discreet, legal and fast. We’ll always give you a great value for your unwanted firearm. We pay for your shipping supplies. We allow you to track your gun shipment during the entire process. Our customer service team will respond to you in minutes or hours, not days or weeks.

Once we agree on a price for your firearm, we mail you shipping supplies at no cost to you. Then you mail your firearm to us. Once we receive and confirm the identity of your firearm, we cut you a check!

Private Party:

Private party sales often result in a disparity between what is fair and what is desirable. Each party has a tendency to seek the “lopsided deal” without providing a solid rationale. In other words, it can be difficult for two private parties to agree on value. The location of the transaction can be contentious. One party may desire the transaction to occur in a public place, whereas the other party may wish to conduct the transaction at a private residence.

Following are some important requirements to keep in mind when engaging in private party gun transactions in Illinois.

“Any unlicensed seller of a firearm who seeks to transfer a firearm to any unlicensed purchaser must, prior to transfer, contact the Department of State Police (DSP) with the transferee’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card number to determine the validity of the transferee’s FOID Card.1 The seller must await approval by DSP before transferring the firearm. Approvals issued by DSP for the purchase of a firearm are valid for 30 days.2

There are certain exceptions to this requirement, including: 1) transfers as a bona fide gift to the transferor’s 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;3 and 2) transfers that occur at a federally licensed firearm dealer’s place of business, if the licensed dealer conducts a background check on the prospective recipient of the firearm and follows all other applicable federal, state, and local laws as if he or she were the transferor of the firearm.4

An unlicensed seller or transferor who complies with the law by determining the validity of a purchaser’s FOID card, will not be liable for damages in any civil action arising from the use or misuse by the transferee of the firearm transferred, except for willful or wanton conduct on the part of the seller or transferor.5
DSP is tasked with maintaining an Internet-based system for private sellers to use to determine the validity of a FOID Card prior to transferring a firearm to an unlicensed purchaser.6

Illinois has a separate private sales background check requirement at gun shows. See the Gun Shows in Illinois section for further information.

The following Illinois laws apply to all firearm sales, regardless of whether the seller is a licensed dealer:

• Illinois law prohibits any person from knowingly selling firearms or ammunition to individuals who are ineligible to possess a firearm or who do not hold a Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card. It is a Class 3 felony, for example, for any person to knowingly sell or give any firearm to any person who has been convicted of a felony.7 See the Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers section for information about FOID cards.
• Any person who transfers a firearm must keep records of all such transfers for a period of 10 years.8 See the Retention of Sales & Background Checks Records section for more information,” (Giffords Law Center).

Gun Shop / Pawn Shop:

Obtaining a loan via pawning your gun will always come with a steep interest rate. Consigning your gun to a pawnshop via a shared-profit agreement can be fruitful, but the payout can take months. Selling your gun to a pawnshop might be fast, but you’ll only receive a maximum of 30% of the gun’s value. Oftentimes, you’ll receive much less than that. Further, pawnshops might require your fingerprints and other intrusive information. You might get a slightly better deal at a gun shop, but there, too, the gun shop has a vested interest in purchasing your gun for a low price and re-selling it for a high price.

Dealer regulations in Illinois are robust. Please visit Giffords Law Center to explore the nuances related to Federal Firearms License holders.

Gun Show:

Vendors at gun shows can be sharks when it comes to wheeling and dealing. Because there are so many opportunities at a gun show, vendors are often interested in conducting transactions quickly. You don’t want to be pressured into a transaction until you feel comfortable. Many opportunities may sound attractive, but you might experience choice paralysis. What if vendor-6 will offer you a better price than vendor-4? What about vendor-26?

Following are some important requirements to keep in mind when engaging in gun show transactions in Illinois.

“All sellers are required to conduct background checks on prospective firearm purchasers at gun shows in Illinois.1 Any person who is not a licensed dealer who desires to transfer or sell a firearm at a gun show must first request that the Illinois Department of State Police (“DSP”) conduct a background check on the prospective recipient.2 The DSP must assign a unique identification number to the transfer, if approved, which is to be provided to the transferor.3 Approvals are valid for 30 days.4 The unique identification number must be recorded by the transferor on the record of the transfer, which (like all transfer records) must be kept for a minimum of 10 years.5

“Gun show” is defined as “an event or function: (1) at which the sale and transfer of firearms is the regular and normal course of business and where 50 or more firearms are displayed, offered, or exhibited for sale, transfer, or exchange; or (2) at which not less than 10 gun show vendors display, offer, or exhibit for sale, sell, transfer, or exchange firearms.6 A gun show includes the entire premises provided for the event, including parking areas.7

Non-residents of Illinois cannot purchase handguns at gun shows, but may buy rifles or shotguns and ammunition for such long guns if they are residents of Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin or Kentucky, or are residents of another state with a valid non-resident hunting license.8 The non-residents of Illinois must not be otherwise prohibited by the laws of Illinois, their state of domicile, or federal law from purchasing or possessing such guns.9,” (Giffords Law Center).


There is a fee associated with creating a listing on their site. Creating the listing itself can be burdensome. Your gun will be one among many guns being sold by savvy sellers. If some aspect of the transaction or process gets confusing, this organization is known for extremely slow response times. Similarly, if an error occurs during the process, good luck wrangling a member of their customer service team.

Sell Your Gun to Cash My Guns

Sell your gun in Illinois graphicHave you ever wondered, “How to sell my gun in Illinois?” Cash My Guns makes it as easy as possible for you to sell your unwanted firearms at no cost. Whether you’re looking to downsize your private collection, you inherited unwanted firearms, you plan to move to a more restrictive state or any other reason, we would be honored if you would consider selling your firearm to us.

Our process is fast, legal and it delivers the best bang for your buck. We also take great pride in how we communicate with our customers throughout the process. We’re always available to address your questions via phone or online chat. Some online gun selling companies take days or weeks to get back to you. We measure the response time of our gun experts to our customers in minutes and hours, not days and weeks.

We professionally appraise every firearm that comes to us. We can also help you identify the gun or guns in your collection if you’re unsure of their makes and models. Our gun appraisals follow strict guidelines based on: make, model, metal finish, wood & composite finish, overall condition & functionality, rarity, and comparative sales. Our appraisals are always fair, and we are always willing to explain our value assessment upon request.

We pay for the shipping and transaction costs associated with selling a gun or gun collection. We pay to have the shipping supplies sent to you. Our firearm transfer methods are approved by the ATF and major shipping carriers. By using Cash My Guns, you save money in fees, not to mention the time and resources needed to sell a gun collection private party.

We allow you to track your gun shipment during the entire process. You can feel safe knowing that your firearm collection will arrive at our warehouse quickly, safely and that you get paid.

Once your gun or gun collection has been received, we send you a check for an agreed-to value. Not ready to ditch your whole collection? No problem! Dip your toes and explore our process by starting with the sale of one gun, but remember, you’ll get more bang for your buck when you sell in bulk!

Begin our safe, discrete and legal process here.

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The information contained on this website has been prepared as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice. has used reasonable efforts in collecting, preparing, and providing quality information and material, but does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, adequacy, or currency of the information contained in or linked to this website. Users of information from this website or links do so at their own risk and should consult their local firearm law resources and/or an attorney when engaging in selling a firearm. The cited information in this article was obtained on 03/26/19.”