On December 11, 2012, a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit invalidated Illinois’ total ban on carrying firearms in public for self-defense. House Bill 183 with Senate Amendments 5, 6 and 7 passed in the Illinois Senate on May 31 by a 45 to 12 vote, and the state House concurred with the Senate amendments by an 89 to 28 vote. This Tuesday, on the court-ordered deadline for Illinois to enact a law that would provide for the lawful carrying of arms, the state House voted 77 to 31 and the state Senate 41 to 17 to override the Amendatory Veto by Governor Pat Quinn (D) on House Bill 183, making concealed carry a legal possibility in the Land of Lincoln. Additionally, Governor Quinn attempted to push a trailer bill with even more restrictions on concealed carry, but it was summarily rejected, just as his deeply flawed amendatory veto was soundly overridden. More attempts by anti-gun extremists to restrict concealed carry and target responsible citizens will likely occur, but your NRA-ILA will continue to fight to ease restrictions on the law-abiding interested in self-defense, while addressing real solutions to crime, such as pushing for the prosecution of violent criminals.
The provisions in House Bill 183 were effective immediately upon the state legislature’s veto override; however, the Illinois State Police has an additional 180 days to implement the actual licensing process. In the meantime, the general ban on the unlicensed carrying of loaded weapons continues to exist. Below is an overview of the provisions in House Bill 183:
Concealed Carry Licensing:
- Five-year concealed carry permits will be issued to Illinois residents at least 21 years of age with a valid FOID card 90 days after a qualified application is submitted.
- Illinois will not recognize carry licenses or permits from other states at this time; however, non-resident Illinois Concealed Carry Licenses will be available with an increased fee of $300 if the interested applicant’s state’s concealed carry license laws are “substantially similar” to Illinois’. Illinois State Police must first establish which elements of other state’s permits meet the “substantially similar” requirement.
To qualify for a license to conceal carry, an Illinois resident must:
- Pay a $150 fee;
- Be subjected to fingerprinting for an additional fee in order to avoid delayed processing of one’s application;
- Undergo 16 hours of training (which includes a “live fire” component). Eight hours of prior training may be credited if it is “approved by the Department [of State Police] and recognized under the laws of another state or if the applicant is an active, retired, or honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces.”
An applicant will be disqualified if:
- Convicted or found guilty in Illinois or any other state of:
- 2 or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, within the last 5 years.
- A misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any person within the last 5 years.
- Applicant is the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution, or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification.
- Applicant has been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the last 5 years.
- Any law enforcement agency may object to the issuance of a license to an otherwise qualified applicant on the basis of reasonable suspicion that the applicant presents a danger to self or others or is a threat to public safety. Such an objection sends the application for review by the Concealed Carry Licensing Board, which consists of a total of 7 judicial, law enforcement, and mental health professionals appointed by the Governor. The Board generally will issue a decision in 30 days as to whether it has determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, if the applicant is eligible or ineligible for a license.
- HB 183 mandates that the Illinois State Police begin approval of certified firearms instructors and firearm training courses within 60 days of enactment. At that time, ISP will provide a registry of instructors and approved classes.
- The language of HB 183 contains comprehensive preemption of handgun and handgun ammunition-related local ordinances for anyone with a valid FOID card, and preemption of “assault weapon” bans enacted after July 19th (see here for more information). Regulation of laws relating to the concealed carrying of handguns is now reserved to the state.
- Illinois law now contains increased protection for those who are traveling with firearms, since the preemption of local firearms ordinances applies to all individuals with a valid FOID card who are transporting firearms in compliance with all state regulations. A personal vehicle is also a safe haven for transport of firearms by non-Illinois residents not otherwise prohibited from possession.
- In addition to the safe harbor found in one's vehicle, licensees who wish to store their firearm in the trunk of their vehicle while visiting an otherwise prohibited location may exit their vehicle while in the parking lot in possession of the firearm for the purposes of storing it in the trunk. They may also store the firearm in the passenger compartment of their vehicle in some sort of container as long as either the vehicle or container is locked and the firearm remains out of plain view.
Under HB 183 there is an extensive list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, even with a concealed handgun license. Three or more violations will result in a permanent revocation of license. The list of prohibited places includes, but is not limited to:
- Schools and child care facilities
- Colleges and Universities
- Government buildings
- Public playgrounds
- Public parks (trails excluded)
- Bars (and any restaurant deriving more than half of its profits from alcohol)
- Public transportation
- Permitted public gatherings, such as festivals or parades
Serious concerns remain about the implementation, cost and issuance of concealed carry licenses in Illinois. Your NRA-ILA will continue to update you on developments related to concealed carry in Illinois and fight to ensure that licenses are issued in a timely manner to those law-abiding Illinoisans interested in their inherent right to self-defense.