Gun In Your Car in Illinois WITHOUT a Carry License? What is Legal?

As long as you have a FOID* card, you can have your gun in your car, in the passenger compartment, with the ammunition at the ready. This shocks a lot of people, since there are a lot of misconceptions about the law.

There are three legal ways to transport your gun in your car.

  1. It must be not immediately accessible, OR
  2. Broken down in a non-functioning state, OR
  3. Unloaded and enclosed in a container.

Let’s look at the how these three are defined. Remember that only ONE of the three conditions has to be met for it to be legal.

“NOT IMMEDIATELY ACCESSIBLE” is a very vague term, which has been interpreted differently in the past by courts, and is interpreted differently by a lot of police officers.  While  the trunk of your vehicle is certainly “not immediately accessible,” it is understood by most police to be “out of easy reach.”  Pretty vague.  Better be nice to the police officer! And the gun had better be unloaded if it is in the passenger compartment, not matter how far out of reach it is…

“BROKEN DOWN IN A NON-FUNCTIONING STATE” is pretty easy for a semi-auto.  Remove the slide.  For a revolver, this is more difficult.


“UNLOADED AND ENCLOSED IN A CONTAINER” is now more well defined than it was in the past.  The Illinois Supreme Court Diggins decision made it clear that a vehicle’s center console or a glove box, as long as it is closed (LATCHED, but locked is not necessary) is legal, as long as the gun is unloaded.  Put a magazine in the gun, even if you don’t chamber a round, and you are looking at a felony.

The easiest thing to do is get an Illinois License to Carry, then it can be on or about your person and loaded!

*FOID cards are not required for non-residents.