Recently, Illinois enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, becoming the 50th state to authorize permit holders to carry concealed firearms. Before employers start running for the doors believing their places of business will become a haven for gun toting employees, there are a few items that need to be addressed.
The Act allows a license holder to carry a loaded handgun, concealed or partially concealed, on his person or in his vehicle. In order to obtain a concealed carry license, the individual must be at least 21 years old and have a current Firearm Owner’s Identification card. The applicant may not have been found guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor involving physical force or violence or have two or more DUI violations in the preceding five years. The applicant must not be subject to an arrest warrant and cannot have been in a residential or court-ordered treatment program for drugs or alcohol in the last five years. Finally, all applicants must complete 16 hours of firearm training and education.
The Act prohibits carrying firearms in:
- Any pre-school, daycare, elementary school, secondary school, college or university
- Any government building or court
- Any hospital, mental health or nursing home
- Any establishment where more than 50% of the gross receipts are from the sale of alcohol
- Public playgrounds or parks
- Public transportation
- Sports stadiums
- Amusement parks or zoos
The Act allows employers to ban employees and the public from bringing concealed weapons into the workplace by placing signs approved by the Illinois State Police at the facility entrance. The Act does not, however, permit an employer from banning an individual from carrying or storing a weapon in his or her vehicle on the employer’s parking lot, and a permit holder may not be prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon in the area immediately surrounding his or her vehicle for the express purpose of storing it or retrieving it within a vehicle’s trunk.
What does all this mean for an employer? Any employer that wishes to ban weapons from his or her place of business should immediately post approved signage indicating that concealed weapons are not allowed on the premises. Employers should also review their policies and procedures to include a “no weapons” policy. If an employee who is a permit holder is arrested and convicted for carrying a weapon in a prohibited area, his or her employment status should be carefully evaluated. Not following the letter of this law raises safety concerns.
For employers wishing to institute a policy banning weapons in the workplace, we have prepared a sample Concealed Carry Workplace Weapons Policy which is available on our website. We have been preparing employers to deal with the complex issues that employers will be facing with these dramatic changes in the law. Contact the experienced employment lawyers at Bellas & Wachowski Attorneys at Law for more information.