On July 9, Illinois lawmakers enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act (PA 098-0063) permitting private licensed citizens in Illinois to carry concealed firearms. The Act, which marks a drastic shift from Illinois’s long-standing ban on concealed firearms, will directly impact employers.
Under the Act, in order for employers to prohibit individuals who have a license from carrying concealed firearms into their private property, the owner of the property must “clearly and conspicuously” post a four inch by six inch sign in the entrance of the building indicating that firearms are prohibited on the property. Without a sign conforming to the Act’s requirements an employer cannot legally prevent an employee from entering the workplace carrying a concealed weapon—even if an employer has a workplace policy banning firearms—unless the employer falls within one of the exceptions discussed below. Thus, employers must ensure that they have both visibly posted signs that comply with the Act and well-structured workplace policies prohibiting employees and visitors from bringing weapons into their property.
The Act lists numerous types of “prohibited areas”—including pre-schools, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and certain establishments that serve alcohol, among others—in which it is illegal for licensed individuals to carry a concealed weapon. Employers that own or operate property that falls within any of these classifications do not need to post signs to prohibit employees from bringing concealed weapons onto their property—although it may be prudent to do so. These employers should nevertheless still have workplace policies in place preventing employees from bringing firearms into the workplace.
The Act also includes an expansive “parking lot exception.” Under the new law, employers cannot restrict employees—even in the above-listed “prohibited areas”—from carrying a concealed firearm into a parking lot or storing a firearm within a locked vehicle. Numerous states—such as, most recently, Alabama—have enacted “guns in the parking lot” laws that carve out a similar exception for individuals carrying concealed weapons.
Employers should immediately familiarize themselves with the salient provisions of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act discussed above and review their workplace policies concerning weapons, firearms, and safety. For further details on the requirements of the Act and its exceptions, see “New Firearm Concealed Carry Act Directly Impacts Illinois Employers.”