Illinois’ concealed carry legislation allows people who want to carry a concealed weapon the freedom to do so, but with this freedom comes additional burdens and responsibilities as they must exercise greater situational awareness in order to remain in compliance with the law.
The concealed carry legislation is found at 430 ILCS 66 et. seq. and is 168 pages long. The few pages I want to focus on can be found in Section 65 of the Act and concerns prohibited areas. A more accurate title for this section of the code would actually be potentially prohibited areas because, in most instances, the areas listed below would only trigger a violation for the individual if there is proper signage. If the no-weapon allowed sign is properly posted and you are in a restricted area, then it would be a violation for you to knowingly be in that area with your concealed weapon.
The geographic areas of restriction are extremely broad as you will see. In fact, it would be much easier to say where you could lawfully carry, rather than list the areas where you cannot. I have linked to the exact text of Section 65 elsewhere on my webpage but here I have taken the liberty of offering you a simplified version of the list:
- any school,
- any daycare,
- any property of the executive or legislative branch of state gov.
- any property run by the judiciary system,
- any property of local government,
- any jail,
- any hospital,
- any public transport,
- any bar,
- any large public gatherings requiring a license,
- any property where a Special Event Retailers License (Liq. Control Act) will issue,
- any public playground,
- any public park,
- Cook County Forest preserve,
- any property connected with a university or college,
- any gambling facility,
- any sporting event (college or pro),
- any library,
- any airport property,
- any amusement park,
- any zoo,
- any museum,
- any nuclear facility*,
- any place where it would be prohibited by federal law.*
- an individual’s private home (no sign required).
*Can’t even store the weapon in the vehicle in the parking lot. – Don’t even bring it with you.
Section 65(b) of the Concealed Carry legislation offers a sort of safe-harbor provision and practical answer to the predicament many will find themselves in when they learn they need to go into a restricted area. Under Section 65(b) you would be allowed to return to your vehicle and store the firearm or ammo in the vehicle. Here are the requirements: 1) weapon must be unloaded, and 2) weapon must be stored in a glove compartment/trunk or other type of enclosure in a locked vehicle.
What about these signs?
The Illinois State Police has recently published the statutorily approved signage, which is available for printing. Very soon we will see these signs going up absolutely everywhere – posted, “clearly and conspicuously at the entrance”. At least until licensees get used to spotting these signs and begin to develop a second sense of what is off limits, they will need to keep their eyes open or else run the risk of being in violation of the law.