How Illinois' Concealed Carry Law Works

The recently passed law allowing Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons has an immediate effective date. But, what exactly does immediate mean?  Who can qualify for a concealed carry license? What are the details? We decipher Illinois' new concealed carry law here:

Effective Immediately
By law, the Illinois State Police (ISP) has 180 days from July 9, 2013 to make concealed carry applications available to the public. That's about 6 months, putting the deadline in the first half of January 2014. The ISP has indicated applications will be available on its website by January 5, 2014.

After a receiving a correctly completed qualified application the ISP has 90 days, provided the applicant provides a full set of fingerprints in electronic format, to issue or deny a concealed carry license. If fingerprints are not submitted, the ISP has an additional 30 days to complete the background check and process the application.

Qualified applicants who provide fingerprints and have no objections filed with the Concealed Carry Licensing Board should expect to obtain a concealed carry license by the 2nd half of 2014.

License Qualifications
To qualify for a concealed carry license in Illinois an individual must meet the following criteria:
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a currently valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card, or meets the requirements for the issuance of a FOID Card and is not prohibited by law from possessing or receiving a firearm
  • Has not been convicted or found guilty in this State or in any other state of:
    • a misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any person within the 5 years preceding the date of the license application; or
    • two or more DUI violations within the 5 years preceding the date of the license application; and
  • Is not the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution, or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm
  • Has not been in residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the 5 years immediately preceding the date of the license application
  • Has completed firearms training and education component required by this legislation
  • Fingerprints are optional, but ISP can take an additional 30 days to process application if no fingerprints are submitted. 

Applicants must complete 16 hours of training, including firearm safety, principles of marksmanship, care and cleaning of firearms, and instruction on lawful and appropriate interaction with law enforcement while carrying or transporting firearm. On September 7, 2013, the ISP will begin approval of certified firearms instructors and firearm training courses. A registry will be posted on the ISP website at that time. 
  • Training requirement shall include live fire exercise, of at least 30 rounds, fired at a B-27 target from specified distances, with at least 70% accuracy.
  • Up to 8 hours of approved training previously completed by the applicant, or training received in the military by active, retired, or honorably discharged U.S. Armed Services member counts toward the training requirement. 
  • Renewal application requires 3 hours of training, plus re-qualification on the firing range.
  • Courses to be approved and instructors certified by ISP starting 60 days after effective date.

Concealed Carry Licensing Board
The Concealed Carry Licensing Board is comprised of 7 members, appointed by the Governor and coinciding with his/her term. No more than 4 members can be from same political party.  The board must represent geographic diversity with 3 commissioners from the 1st Supreme Court District (Cook County) and 1 commissioner from each of the other 4 Districts.

A majority vote is required to find an applicant eligible or ineligible, or to request additional information from the applicant or law enforcement.

The Board will only consider applications when:
  1. Law enforcement has objected to the applicant; OR 
  2. Where the applicant has 5 or more arrests for any reason, that have been entered into the Criminal History Records Information (CHRI) system, within the 7 years preceding the date of application for a license, or has 3 or more arrests within the 7 years preceding the date of application for a license for any combination of “gang-related offenses” (defined in the bill with reference to specific Criminal Code offenses)
If the Board determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the applicant poses a danger to himself or herself, others, or a threat to public safety, the Board shall find the applicant ineligible for a license; if not, the applicant is eligible. (“Preponderance of the evidence” means that the proposition has been shown to be more likely true than not true. This is the standard of proof required to be met by the plaintiff in most civil cases.)

Fees are payable to the Illinois State Police (ISP). Here is the breakdown:
  • New Concealed Carry License: $150
    • plus, ISP is authorized to charge an additional fee for conducting criminal history records check of fingerprints, not to exceed the actual cost (currently $31.50)
  • Renewal: $150
  • Replace Lost or Stolen License, or Change of Address: $75
  • Nonresident License: $300

Q&A with the Illinois State Police
How will Illinois State Police (ISP) officers and local law enforcement respond to citizens who are carrying weapons?
The ISP will continue to enforce the law in effect. Citizens cannot lawfully carry concealed weapons without a valid Illinois Concealed Carry License. Citizens who carry firearms without a Concealed Carry License issued by the ISP are subject to arrest. All Illinois residents seeking to obtain a Concealed Carry License must have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. Out-of-state residents are exempt from the FOID card requirement.

Who needs an Illinois Concealed Carry License?
Everyone who wants to carry a concealed firearm on his/her person in Illinois is required to have an Illinois Concealed Carry License except current peace officers and retired police officers eligible under the Illinois Retired Officer Concealed Carry (IROCC) Program. 

Are out-of-state Concealed Carry permit holders granted reciprocity in Illinois?
No. Out-of-state residents who want to carry a concealed firearm on his/her person must obtain an Illinois Concealed Carry License to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in Illinois. In order for out-of-state residents to be eligible for an Illinois license, their state’s concealed carry license laws must be substantially similar to those of Illinois. The Illinois State Police will establish rules to identify the elements necessary to meet the substantially similar requirement.

However, out of state residents are granted a limited exception to lawfully carry a concealed firearm within a vehicle if they are eligible to carry a firearm in public under the laws of his or her state or territory of residence and are not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law.

If the non-resident leaves leaves his/her vehicle unattended, he or she shall store the firearm within a locked vehicle or locked container within the vehicle.
What type of a firearm will I be allowed to carry concealed?
Concealed firearm means a loaded or unloaded handgun carried on or about a person completely or mostly concealed from view of the public or on or about a person within a vehicle.

Handgun means any device which is designed to expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas, or escape of gas that is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.

Handgun does not include:
  • A stun gun or taser
  • A machine gun
  • A short-barreled rifle or shotgun 
  • Any pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun which expels a single globular projectile not exceeding .18 inch in diameter, or which has a maximum muzzle velocity of less than 700 feet per second, or which expels breakable paint balls containing washable marking colors.