Illinois Passes Law Authorizing Individuals To Carry Concealed Weapons, But Employers May Prohibit Weapons On Premises They Own

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On July 9, 2013, the Illinois legislature overrode Governor Pat Quinn's veto and passed Illinois' first law authorizing individuals with the right to carry concealed weapons in public provided they obtained a concealed weapons license from the Illinois Department of State Police (DSP). The law has a number of exemptions that prohibit the carrying of firearms in various locations, including public buildings, health facilities, and child-care facilities.  The law also permits "owners of real private property of any type" to prohibit most individuals from carrying firearms on their premises, provided they have legally compliant notices on their premises to that effect.  The DSP is charged with developing sample notices that comply with the law. The new law also provides the DSP 180 days from the effective date of the law to prepare and make available to the public applications for a "concealed carry" license, and 90 days to process applications once they are submitted.  The DSP has stated that it is unlawful for any individual to carry a concealed weapon without a license.  Because it appears unlikely that such licenses will be issued in 2013, employers do not need to take any immediate action in response to this law.  We will keep you posted with respect to regulations or other guidance provided by the DSP that are relevant to employers, including proposed language for notices that employers should use if they want to bar employees and others from carrying firearms on their premises.  We will also keep you posted on steps employers may be able to take to bar weapons if they lease, rather than own, their premises.