koehler75x75After a court order, months of negotiations, a last-minute veto by the governor and other complications, Illinois finally has joined the other 49 states to allow people to carry concealed weapons – provided they meet a series of carefully constructed safeguards meant to protect the public.

"This is a good day for supporters of the Second Amendment," Koehler said. "Despite some last-minute roadblocks put up by the governor's office, I think we ended up with a very reasonable law that will keep concealed weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill."

The issue moved to the forefront this year after a federal court ruled that Illinois' status as the only state in the union without a concealed carry statute is unconstitutional. Had the legislature not acted, unrestricted concealed carry would have become law. However, home rule municipalities (like Peoria) would have been able to set their own rules governing concealed carry, potentially creating a difficult-to-navigate patchwork of rules that would not have kept the public safety or served the needs of supporters of the Second Amendment who want to take advantage of concealed carry.

(UPDATE: The Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus has a list of frequently asked questions at its website.)

The new law, which will go into effect once the State Police have put in place some important rules and procedures, establishes the following:

  • The State Police shall issue concealed carry licenses to applicants who meet all of the requirements of the law.
  • To qualify, an applicant must:
    • have a FOID card
    • be at least 21 years old
    • not have a conviction for a violent misdemeanor in the past five years
    • not have two or more DUI convictions in the past five years
    • not have a warrant out for his or her arrest or be subject to any prosecution that could disqualify him or her from obtaining a FOID card
    • not have been in residential or court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment within the past five years
  • Applicants must pass a 16 hour training course and pay a $150 fee.
  • If an applicant meets all the criteria for a license, law enforcement may object to an application if they believe that the applicant presents a danger to himself or herself or others. These objections will be reviewed by a seven-member board appointed by the governor.
  • All applications must be approved or denied within 90 days.
  • Licenses will be valid for five years. License holders must take an additional three hours of training and pay a renewal fee to renew their licenses.
  • Concealed weapons cannot be carried in the following locations:
    • schools
    • preschools and child care facilities
    • government buildings
    • courts
    • correctional facilities
    • medical facilities
    • public transportation
    • bars
    • public gatherings (though licensees may pass through to reach their home, workplace or vehicle)
    • special events at which alcohol is served
    • playgrounds
    • parks
    • colleges and universities
    • gambling facilities, including casinos and horse tracks
    • stadiums
    • libraries
    • airports
    • amusement parks
    • museums, zoos and aquariums
    • places prohibited by federal law
    • private property where the owner has posted a sign indicating that firearms are prohibited
  • Concealed weapons can be stored in locked containers in locked vehicles in the parking lots of prohibited locations.
  • Carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited.
Category: Press Releases

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