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On July 9, 2013, the Illinois Legislature overrode the Governor’s veto to enact the Firearm Concealed Carry Act (“the Act”), which went into immediate effect. The Illinois State Police was then given a period of 180 days before concealed carry license applications were to be made available. The Illinois State Police issued the first licenses in February 2014, and up to 400,000 people are expected to apply for a license by the end of this year.
The Act authorizes a concealed carry license holder to carry a loaded or unloaded handgun, fully concealed or partially concealed, on or about his or her person. In addition, a concealed carry license holder may keep or carry a loaded or unloaded concealed handgun on or about his or her person within a vehicle.
In order to obtain a concealed carry license, an individual must:
1. be at least 21 years old;
2. have a valid firearm owner’s identification card;
3. have not been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor involving physical force or violence or two or more DUI violations within the preceding 5 years;
4. not be subject to a pending arrest warrant for a disqualifying criminal proceeding;
5. not have been in residential or court ordered treatment for alcohol or drugs within the preceding 5 years, and
6. complete 16 hours of required firearm training education.
There are over twenty types of “prohibited areas” where concealed carry licensees are prohibited from carrying a firearm. These areas include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. a preschool or child care facility;
2. a public or private elementary or secondary school;
3. an establishment that serves alcohol on its premises, where more than 50% of the establishment’s gross receipts within the prior 3 months is from the sale of alcohol;
4. any building or real property that has been issued a special event retailer’s license under the Illinois Liquor Control Act; or
5. any building, classroom, laboratory, medical clinic, hospital, artistic venue, athletic venue, entertainment venue, officially recognized university related organization property, and real property under the control of a public or private community college or university.
If an employer owns or operates property that meets the definition of a prohibited area, that employer must post a sign at the entrance stating that the carrying of a firearm is prohibited. Even if an employer’s premises do not constitute a prohibited area, any employer may choose to prohibit the carrying of firearms on its premises. An employer that makes this election must post a sign stating that carrying of firearms is prohibited on its property. The Illinois State Police has issued an approved sign, a template of which is available for download at the Illinois State Police’s website. Employers should also address the issue of firearms within their employee handbooks.
One potentially problematic issue for employers relates to the carrying of firearms in an employer’s parking lot. The Act allows a concealed carry licensee to store firearms in his or her vehicle when parked in his or her employer’s parking lot, even if the employer has chosen to ban firearms on its premises. A concealed carry licensee can also carry a firearm in the immediate area surrounding his or her vehicle for the purpose of storing or retrieving a firearm from within the vehicle’s trunk, as long as the firearm is unloaded. This means that although a licensee can be barred from bringing a firearm into the workplace, he or she can still keep a firearm locked in his or her vehicle in the employer’s parking lot.
If you need any additional information regarding the Act, contact the WilliamsMcCarthy attorney with whom you work.