John Roska, a lawyer with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, concludes his two-part series about the new law governing concealed weapons in Illinois. Here is a link to the first installment.
Q: How do I get a concealed-carry permit under the new law? What does it allow me to do that I can't do now?
A: Last week's column covered getting a concealed-carry license. This week's will cover what that license allows.
The new Firearm Concealed Carry Act creates a license that allows you to carry a concealed handgun. This concealed-carry license is new, and different from the old firearm owner's identification card needed to own a firearm.
Applications for concealed-carry licenses aren't available yet. But when they are, and the state police approve yours, you'll get a special license good for five years. You must then carry that license whenever you carry a concealed firearm.
Handguns are the only firearm you can carry with a license. That's basically anything "designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand." It's not a taser, BB gun, machine gun, or a sawed-off rifle or shotgun.
Specifically, the new law permits a licensee to "carry a loaded or unloaded concealed firearm, fully concealed or partially concealed, on or about his or her person." It also permits a licensee to "keep or carry a loaded or unloaded concealed firearm on or about his or her person within a vehicle."
How many can you carry? Can you "keep" a handgun in your car, if you're not there for it to "on or about" your person?
Time will tell, as will the rules the state police are supposed to develop, maybe.
The act lists 23 specific areas where concealed carry is still illegal, even with a license. Without oversimplifying too much:
— You can't carry on or into any building, real property or parking area of any private or public school, college or university; or child care facility, hospital, jail, sporting event, zoo, museum, airport, amusement park, casino or racetrack.
In state parks, concealed carry is legal on real property and trails. In other public parks, it's only legal on hiking or biking trails. At public playgrounds, it's not legal at all.
You can't carry into or onto any state government building or parking lot. Concealed carry is prohibited in courthouses and local government buildings, but not in their parking lots. (Federal law separately prohibits firearms in any federal building or "facility.")
Concealed carry is also prohibited at any public gathering or special event that requires a permit, and at any area subject to a special event liquor license.
Finally, concealed carry is prohibited, even if with a license, at any establishment that serves alcohol, "if more than 50 permit of the establishment's gross receipts within the prior three months is from the sale of alcohol." This extends to the establishment's building, real property, and parking lot.
The law says there's supposed to be a 4-by-6-inch sign posted anywhere concealed carry is illegal, so you know. Private businesses can also prohibit concealed carry by posting the same sign.
Some may say these exceptions don't leave much where concealed carry is legal. You should be OK driving on a street, or walking on a sidewalk. Exactly where, though, could get tricky.
If you have a concealed-carry license, but still violate the law, it's a maximum six months in jail, and $500 fine.
John Roska is a lawyer with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. You can send your questions to The Law Q&A, 302 N. First St., Champaign, IL 61820. Questions may be edited for space.