After much political and legal wrangling, Illinois became the final state in the country to have a concealed carry law. Number 430 ILCS 66/ was passed last year and became effective very early this year.
That means folks desiring to carry a firearm in public can apply through the State Police for a permit, and, if one passes muster and completes required training, can obtain a permit and carry a concealed firearm. The operative word here is concealed. There was a huge rush among “gun folks” to go through the process and get a permit — many did, myself included.
A sidebar is that my wife and I moved after my CC permit was issued. I mailed a letter to the State Police that I had moved and asked to be advised regarding both CC and a Firearm Owners Identification Card. To update the address for a new FOID card, I filled out a provided form and mailed a check for $5 — the new card arrived shortly thereafter.
To update the CC, I had to go to the website, fill out new address information and submit $75 via a credit card — the new card arrived after a few weeks with an incorrect expiration date, which was not my mistake. I was advised in a subsequent letter containing a correct card that it was my responsibility to return the incorrect card, which I have done.
After nearly a year of Illinois CC, I caught up with an expert in the field of firearms, firearm training and law enforcement to find out how it seems to be going.
Mark Schumacher taught the CC class that I took at Shooting Sports, Moline. He has nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience and has been training law enforcement personnel in firearm handling and marksmanship for many years. He also handles firearm qualification for retired police officers' concealed carry.
“There have been some minor administrative changes to concealed carry,” he said, ”but nothing major. There is some political attempt to eliminate concealed carry and further limit what firearms can be carried. So far there have been no major court cases involving concealed carry.”
Where can't firearms be carried was my next question.
“First, concealed firearms can't be carried on any federal property or buildings or on any property or buildings under nuclear regulation, including parking lots, which is important,” he said. “There's a general parking lot exclusion on the following list of 23 areas where concealed carry is prohibited; but CC firearms can be secured out of sight in locked vehicles in those parking lots."
The following is a generalized list of where firearms cannot be carried; note that associated grounds are included. For specific areas or more detail, refer to the printed law. Also note that signs prohibiting CC are NOT required at these locations:
1) Public and private schools (including their parking lots) elementary through high school
2) Preschools and child-care facilities
3) Illinois government buildings and state parks
4) Court buildings
5) Local government buildings
6) Jails and prisons
7) Hospitals and nursing homes
8) Buses and associated facilities
9) Establishments where 50 percent or more of revenue is from alcohol, note that it is the responsibility of owner/operators to calculate that percentage and appropriately post CC prohibition, if necessary
10) Areas where a permit is required for a gathering such as a race or car show
11) Gathering areas when and where liquor is available such as a street festival
13) Parks and athletic facilities, however CC can take place on recreational trails
14) Cook County Forest Preserves
15) All college and university facilities
16) Gambling and horse racing facilities
17) Athletic stadiums, college and professional
20) Amusement parks
21) Zoos and museums
22) Nuclear facilities
23) Anywhere prohibited by Federal law
“The potential liability that comes with concealed carry is huge,” Schumacher advised. “You're responsible for any bullet fired until it stops. If you decide to carry a concealed firearm, I recommend that you practice, practice, practice with that firearm.
"If a situation arises where you wouldn't become involved without a firearm, don't become involved just because you have a firearm. Illinois law says a firearm can only be used under threat of death or great bodily harm to you or another. Think first of how to get away from a situation and how not to get involved with a firearm,” Schumacher said.
* Illinois trout season to open: The annual fall inland trout fishing season will open Saturday at some 50 locations across the state. Moline's Prospect Park Pond is the only Q-C site. Sites in the expanded Q-C area include Hennepin Canal parkway in Bureau County; Citizen's Lake, Monmouth; and Centennial Park Pond, Rock Falls. Note that an Inland Trout Stamp is needed to fish for these 80,000 trout. That income pays for the program.
Bob Groene is outdoors writer for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, he can be reached at email@example.com