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Businesses can ban weapons, even as concealed carry law takes effect

January 17, 2014
The longtime absence of a concealed carry law in Illinois helped lead to nearly 10,000 Chicago-area residents applying for licenses in the first days since the new law took effect Jan. 1. No permits have been issued yet.
The law making Illinois the last state in the nation to allow people to carry concealed weapons requires 16 hours of training by a licensed instructor. Lombard concealed carry instructor Ed Bryant, a pastor at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, said he has "all the students he can handle" right now for training required for concealed carry permits.
Business owners can elect to forbid firearms from their premises, but only after posting an Illinois State Police approved sign, in accordance with the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Refer to Section 65 (Prohibited Areas) of the act for more information on statutory requirements for signage as well as where concealed weapons are prohibited.
The 4-by-6 sign is available for download at
Concealed carry licensees who are denied from taking their firearm into the building still can have it in their cars, but only if the handgun is stored in a case within a locked vehicle or locked container out of plain view.
If a business owner or employer wants to prohibit only employees from carrying in the workplace, they should not post the required sign, as doing so makes the location a prohibited place. Rather, the matter should be addressed through appropriate employment policies.
Under the state act, "handgun" does not include shotguns or short-barreled rifles, or stun guns or tasers.
As applications for concealed carry permits continue to pour into Illinois authorities, officials are expressing concerns over background check requirements, new databases are being created, and lawmakers already are attempting to tweak and change the law.
The Illinois State Police is receiving more than 1,000 applications a day for the concealed carry license. That flood of applications is sparking concern, as police departments across the state are worried the demand may mean they are unable to effectively screen out applicants with a history of violence or mental illness.
The Cook County Sheriff’s office reportedly already has identified about 120 applications it plans to contest since the online application process was opened to most state residents Jan. 5. 
Chicago Police Department officials, locked in a battle to control high-profile gang violence, said they, too, are worried about keeping up with the flood of applications, while downstate sheriff’s departments said they might not have the capacity to meet the new law’s vetting requirement in the time allowed.
The problem is, in part, that while the new law that requires background checks, local law enforcement agencies were not given any additional money.