The state of Illinois has long been known for its strict policies on gun ownership, particularly in regard to handguns. In fact, Illinois was the last state in the country to enact a law permitting the possession of concealed weapons. The law, however, represented the state’s legislative reaction to a 2012 federal appeals court ruling that a complete ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional and violated the second amendment rights of citizens. The court provided a 180-day window within which the state legislature could craft an acceptable measure that balanced public safety interests with citizens’ rights.
Requirements for a Concealed Carry Permit
Passed in 2013, and going into effect in 2014, the Firearm Concealed Carry Act provides guidelines for permit eligibility. To be eligible, an individual must:
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Currently possess a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and continue to meet the requirement for possessing a FOID card;
- Have not been convicted of a violence-related misdemeanor in the previous five years;
- Have not been convicted of two or more DUI violations in the previous five years;
- Not be the subject an existing warranty, ongoing prosecution, or proceeding that could disqualify him or her from owning or possessing a firearm;
- Have not received residential or court-ordered substance abuse treatment in the previous five years; and
- Have completed appropriate education and training requirements.
One of the more interesting aspects of the concealed carry law, as it was passed, is the specific language it contains. The law explicitly states that “the Department [of State Police] shall issue a license to an applicant” (emphasis added) meeting the necessary criteria, within 90 days in most cases. The use of the words “shall issue” creates the statutory expectation that an eligible individual will not be denied a license.
In limited situations, a concealed carry permit may be denied on the grounds that an applicant is a danger to himself or herself, others, or to public safety. Because of the language in the law, however, such cases must be considered very carefully by the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board to ensure sufficient justification exists to deny the application.
Responsibilities of Permit Holders
Once a permit has been granted, the holder must carry the permit on his or her person while in possession of a concealed weapon. If he or she is stopped by law enforcement for any reason, including a traffic violation, it is the permit holder’s responsibility to inform the officer that he or she is currently possessing a concealed firearm. Upon the officer’s request, the holder must produce his or permit, disclose the location of firearm, and to allow the officer to secure the weapon for during the stop.
Violations of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, including possessing a concealed firearm in statutorily restricted places, are very serious. If you are facing weapons charges related to the carrying of a concealed firearm, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer. As a former Will County prosecutor, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is committed to helping you protect your rights and will work with you in minimizing the impact to your future. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free, confidential consultation today.