The answer depends on what you mean by “licensed.”

Illinois law requires gun owners to possess a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued by the state. There is an exception, however, for non-Illinois residents. In that case, you do not need an Illinois FOID if you are licensed to carry a firearm in your home state. An Illinois appellate court has interpreted this to mean that you must actually have a valid license from a regulatory body in your home state. The mere fact that your state allows citizens to possess firearms is not enough.

In People v Wiggins, the defendant was charged with Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon. A Texas resident, he did not have a valid Illinois FOID. Defendant argued that since his home state of Texas does not require a license to own firearms, he was thus licensed in Texas for purposes of Illinois law. The court disagreed. The court reasoned that the non-resident exception only applies to non-residents who have complied with an official state process for licensing in their home state.

Illinois law does make an exception for non-resident hunters when their home state does not require licensing.

If you have been charged with a firearms or similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Perhaps you are covered by one of the FOID law’s exceptions. Perhaps the police lacked probable cause to stop you or make an arrest. If so, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the results of any illegal search or arrest.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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