Contributed by Brandon Anderson
It is now official. As a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Moore v. Lisa Madigan (see my December 2012 “HIT THE DECK!” blog), Illinois has enacted a comprehensive concealed carry law (Firearm Concealed Carry Act or “Act”). Last week, Governor Quinn used his veto pen to make various changes to the Act (including but not limited to prohibiting firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol, and prohibiting license holders from carrying more than one firearm at a time). However, both chambers of the Legislature voted on July 9, 2013 to override the changes. The Department of State Police now has 60 days to develop the required training program and will begin accepting permit applications within 180 days.
Now, let’s get down to business—figuratively and literally (if you are looking for a summary of the licensing requirements, try: http://www.isp.state.il.us/firearms/ccw/ccw-faq.cfm). In December 2012 when the Seventh Circuit issued its ruling, the cliff-hanger question was to what extent the legislation will impact a business’s right to maintain a firearm free workplace. We now have the answer.
The Act specifically provides that “[t]he owner of private real property of any type may prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms on the property under his or her control.” In order to do so, the owner must post a sign indicating that firearms are prohibited on the property (unless the property is a private residence, in which case no sign is needed). The Act requires that the signs must “be of a uniform design” as established by the Department of State Police and “shall be 4 inches by 6 inches in size”. The signs must be “clearly and conspicuously” posted at the entrance of a building or premises. As additional information regarding the signage and other rules become available, updates will be posted to the ISP’s website.
Regardless of a private property owner’s right to prohibit the carrying of a concealed firearm on the property, the Act does indeed carve out an exception that allows license holders to carry a concealed firearm on or about their person or in their vehicles in the parking area of a property that prohibits concealed firearms. License holders can also store a firearm or ammunition “concealed in a case within a locked vehicle of locked container out of plain view within the vehicle in the parking area.” The Act goes on to provide that license holders can even carry a concealed firearm in the immediate area outside of their vehicles, but only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving the firearm within the vehicle’s trunk and only if the firearm is unloaded.
All businesses should be considering three issues at this point. First, who will be regulating the carrying of concealed firearms in the workplace (i.e. does the business own the property, and, if not, will the landlord be implementing its own policy)? Second, assuming the business intends to regulate the carrying of concealed firearms, what policy or handbook changes need to be implemented? Third, if the business is going to entirely prohibit carrying concealed firearms on the premises, where can the proper signage be obtained?
Once again, be sure to check back frequently for some additional guidance on these issues…