Frequently Asked Questions
DISCLAIMER: Answers provided to the following questions are meant only to give general guidance. The answers do not and are not meant to replace statutory language.
If you have additional questions, please call (217) 782-7980.
What are the Illinois Waiting Periods?
Pursuant to Illinois law, 720 ILCS 5/24-3, sellers must withhold delivery of a long gun, rifle or shotgun, for 24 hours and a handgun for 72 hours from the time the application for purchase has been reached. Violation of that provision is Unlawful Sale or Delivery of Firearms and is a Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 1-3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Illinois State Police have been fielding an increase in requests for clarification on how to abide by the waiting period and when it begins.
According to 720 ILCS 5/24-3(g) the waiting period of 24 or 72 hours does not begin until after its application for purchase has been made. The statute defines "application" as:
"For purposes of this paragraph (g), "application" means when the buyer and seller reach an agreement to purchase a firearm."
In People vs. Hurtado, 208 Ill.App.3d 110 (2nd District, 1991), the Second District Appellate Court took the position that "application" was a "request". The court said:
"We therefore conclude that the legislature intended that the term "application" have the meaning of "request" and the statutory requirement is an informal request to purchase a firearm. Since we believe the legislature intended that "application" mean "request," we shall use the terms "application" and "request" interchangeably. "
Illinois statute picks up on the Court's reasoning in Hurtado, and formalizes that there is in fact intent to buy a firearm by virtue of an agreement. The statute does not spell out what needs to be in the agreement, or the manner in which it is to be memorialized.
ISP concludes that the waiting period to purchase a firearm as defined under state law, 720 ILCS 5/24-3(g) begins when the buyer and seller reach the "agreement" to purchase the firearm and that agreement may be formalized in a number of ways. As the FFL will be required to answer any questions raised by ATF inspectors as to how the waiting period was observed, ISP suggest that FFLs memorialize the agreement in some form that is verifiable and consistent with each purchaser. Here are a couple of questions that have been raised:
NOTE: This is the interpretation of the Illinois State Police. Individual FFLs may have their own policies and procedures to observe the waiting period.
When a customer has a gun shipped from another FFL or out of state, when does the waiting period begin? The waiting period starts when the agreement is reached with the seller. It need not be the FFL making the transfer of the firearm. If the firearm was paid for and/or shipped from another FFL, the waiting period began prior to when the FFL conducting the transfer received the firearm.
Can a customer call up and order a firearm over the phone, then come in and pick up the firearm later? The waiting period begins when the buyer and seller reach an agreement. FFLs need to document how the waiting period was observed. The documentation needs to be verifiable and consistent with each purchaser.
What happens if a customer orders a firearm, and when he comes into pick it up, ISP issues something other than an approval on the FTIP? The actual transfer of the firearm cannot take place until there is an approval from the FTIP system, regardless of when the agreement was reached. If the FFL receives a transaction number, they cannot complete the transfer until they receive an approval.
Do FFLs have to wait when transferring firearms between FFLs? There is no waiting period between retail FFLs. And Curio and Relic (C&R) FFLs are exempt from the waiting period for those firearms that appear on the ATF&E C&R list and fall under the C&R license.