Illinois lawmakers lift prohibition on carrying concealed guns

Historically, Illinois has long been known as a state with extremely strict gun laws. In fact, in the past even some hunters and sportsmen faced severe weapons charges in Illinois due to their gun ownership and carrying practices. In addition, up until very recently, Illinois was the last state in the entire country to have a complete ban on carrying concealed weapons.

However, with the passage of a new bill – otherwise known as the Firearm Concealed Carry Act – lawmakers in Illinois have now made it possible for qualifying gun owners to carry their firearms without fear of being charged with weapons charges.

Specifically, the bill stems from a federal appellate court decision last December that ruled that Illinois’ ban on carrying concealed weapons was unconstitutional and required the state to pass a conceal-carry law by this summer.

Interestingly though, even with this court ruling, creating the new conceal-carry law in Illinois was not without controversy. For instance, Governor Quinn initially vetoed the gun bill in hopes that additional limits would be added by lawmakers – although the Illinois legislature eventually overrode this veto with votes of 77-31 and 41-17 in the Illinois House and Senate, respectively.

Details of Illinois’ conceal and carry gun bill

It is important to note, however, that not everyone who lawfully owns a gun in Illinois will be able to carry a concealed weapon under the language of the new law – gun owners will need to apply for a conceal-carry license.

In order to be eligible for a conceal-carry license in Illinois, applicants need to not only have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID), but also complete prerequisite firearms trainings and be at least 21-years-old.

In addition, applicants will be ineligible if they are currently subject to any pending arrest warrants or proceedings that could ultimately result in disqualification to possess or own a gun, or if they have been in treatment for drug or alcoholism within the last five years. Lastly, applicants may be denied a license if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving violence or physical force in the last five years, or if they have had two DUIs within the last five years.

Once approved, conceal-carry licenses will be valid for five years. In addition, license holders will be able to carry their conceals firearms on their person without having to worry about weapons charges as before. However, if you have already been charged with a weapons offense, it is important to contact an experienced weapons charge defense attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help outline what your rights and options may be given your particular circumstances.

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