Firearm Concealed Carry Act


What do businesses and employers need to know about the Concealed Carry Act?

On July 9, 2013, Illinois became the last state to allow the concealed carry of firearms.  The Firearm Concealed Carry Act allows licensed individuals to carry loaded, concealed firearms in public and to store them in their vehicles.  Although the provisions of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act were effective immediately, the Illinois State Police had until January, 2014, to implement the licensing process.  On January 5, 2013, the State Police started accepting applications on their website at https://ccl4illinois.com/ccw/public/home.aspx.

The Act defines a concealed firearm as a loaded or unloaded handgun carried on or about a person completely or mostly concealed from view of the public or on or about a person within a vehicle.  The Act prohibits taking concealed firearms into certain prohibited areas, including preschools and daycares, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, court buildings and other government buildings, and bars.  The Act does carve out a parking lot exception that allows a license holder to have a concealed firearm on or about his person within a vehicle in the parking area of a prohibited location.  In addition, a license holder may store a firearm or ammunition out of plain view within a locked vehicle in the parking area.  A license holder is also permitted to carry an unloaded, concealed firearm in the immediate area surrounding his vehicle for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving the firearm from the vehicle’s trunk.

Although private businesses can ban concealed firearms, the business must post a sign stating that concealed firearms are banned for the prohibition to be effective. The Illinois State Police approved sign must be posted at the entrance to the building, premises or real property.  The sign must be at least 4 inches by 6 inches.  The Illinois State Police have posted a PDF of the Concealed Carry Prohibited Area Sign on their website at https://ccl4illinois.com/ccw/Public/Signage.aspx.

It is extremely important that the sign comply with the State Police requirements.  If a 4” x 6” sign stating that concealed firearms are banned is not conspicuously posted at the entrance to the building or the business, a private business owner cannot prohibit employees and visitors from carrying concealed firearms on the property.  Moreover, because the Act creates a parking lot exception, private businesses may not ban concealed weapons from their parking lots.  Although employers who operate a business that is on the list of prohibited areas are not technically required to post signs, it is probably a good idea to post signs stating that concealed firearms are prohibited. 

Because the Act does not limit the liability of private property owners who allow concealed firearms on their property, employers and business owners should familiarize themselves with the Concealed Carry Act and evaluate their workplace policies.  The bottom line is that because of the potential liability, all business owners and employers should have clearly defined policies prohibiting employees from bringing concealed firearms into the building, carrying them in company owned vehicles or carrying them when they are visiting customers or clients.

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