Lawyers Helping Clients With CCL Questions in Chicago and Throughout the State
Any person who wishes to carry a concealed firearm in the state of Illinois must first obtain a Concealed Carry License (CCL), with extremely limited exceptions. The process of obtaining a CCL can be challenging, as the laws that pertain to firearms ownership and possession in Illinois are among the strictest in the country. At Williams & Nickl, LLC, our experienced attorneys are equipped to help you protect your Second Amendment rights and to remain in full compliance with the law.
Concealed Firearm Basics
Most of the state statutes that address carrying a concealed firearm in Illinois are contained in the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act (430 ILCS 66). The Act specifies that a “concealed firearm” is a handgun, either loaded or unloaded, carried on or about a person and that is mostly or completely hidden from public view or on or about a person or in a vehicle.
A “handgun” is defined as any device that is designed to expel a projectile by means of an explosion, expansion of gas, or escape of gas and that is meant to be held and fired in one hand. By law, a handgun does not include machine guns, shotguns, rifles, stun guns, paintball guns, and many BB and pellet guns.
Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License
The Firearm Concealed Carry Act states that the Illinois State Police “shall issue” a CCL to any person who meets the requirements set forth in the law. Once issued, the CCL is valid for five years. To meet these requirements, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card
- Not have any felony convictions
- Not have any domestic violence convictions
- Have never been admitted involuntarily to a mental health facility
- Have never been legally found to be developmentally or mentally disabled
- Have no pending orders of protection
- Have no pending arrest warrants or active criminal cases for a crime that would make you ineligible upon conviction
If any of the following apply, you must wait at least five years to restore your CCL eligibility:
- You are convicted of a violent misdemeanor offense.
- You are convicted or receive court supervision for two or more DUI offenses.
- You are admitted to a mental health facility as an impatient.
- You are treated for alcohol or drug use.
- You are determined in outpatient treatment to be a danger to yourself or others.
Assuming that you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you will then need to:
- Pay a $150 processing fee
- Complete at least 16 hours of handgun training approved by the Illinois State Police
- Submit to fingerprinting
- Waive confidentiality and privacy rights regarding court records and mental health records
- Submit a photo taken within the last 30 days
- Provide a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification number
Once you have been issued your CCL, you must have it on your person whenever you are carrying a concealed firearm. Your license, however, does not allow you to carry a concealed handgun anywhere you want. By law, you are prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm in, on, or at:
- Public transit, including trains and buses
- Pre-schools, primary schools, and secondary schools
- Colleges, universities, and trade schools, unless authorized by the institution
- Childcare and daycare facilities
- Playgrounds and municipality-controlled pubic parks, excluding bike paths
- The Cook County Forest Preserve
- Any establishment at which 50 percent of gross revenue comes from alcohol sales
- Local or state government buildings
- Hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities
- Sports arenas and stadiums
- Museums, amusement parks, and zoos
- Casinos, racetracks, riverboats, and off-site betting locations
- Nuclear facilities
- Private property, at the owner’s discretion (Non-residences must have a sign indicating the prohibition.)
Most prohibited locations are not mandated to have signs indicating that concealed firearms are prohibited. Therefore, it is important to know and understand the restrictions, as you could be arrested and charged with a weapons violation for carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area.
With the exception of nuclear facilities, you are allowed to drive into a prohibited area with your firearm as long as you store the weapon in your vehicle properly. “Stored properly” means that the weapon is stored in a case and out of plain view. Your vehicle must also be locked or the case must be stored in the trunk, and your vehicle must be in a parking lot. You may only leave the vehicle with your unloaded firearm in the process of taking it to your trunk.
Common CCL Violations and Criminal Penalties
- Concealed Carry in a Prohibited Area: One of the most common CCL-related violations is carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area. A first offense is a Class B misdemeanor, and you could face up to six months in jail. A second offense is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. A third offense is also a Class A misdemeanor and will result in your CCL being permanently revoked.
- Concealed Carry Without a CCL: You must have a valid CCL on your person anytime you carry a concealed firearm, with the exception of your own property or that of another with that person’s permission. You also do not need to carry your license if the firearm is broken down, non-functioning, unloaded, in a case, and not easily accessible. A violation of this requirement is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.
- Failure to Disclose CCL or Location of Weapon to a Police Officer: During an investigative or traffic stop, an officer may ask whether you have a Concealed Carry License. If you are asked, you must disclose that you have a CCL and show it to the officer if it is present. You must also notify the officer that you have a weapon in your possession or vehicle, as well as where the firearm is. Failure to do either of these is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense and Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.
- Concealed Carry While Intoxicated: You may not carry a concealed firearm if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 or higher or while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Any trace of an illegal drug is enough to be considered impaired. A first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. A second offense is also a Class A misdemeanor and results in a six-month suspension of your CCL.
- Possessing a Revoked CCL: If your CCL is ever suspended or revoked, or your renewal is denied, you must surrender your physical CCL within 48 hours to a law enforcement agency near you (police station, sheriff’s office, etc.). Failure to do so is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
- Petty Offenses: Several other CCL violations are non-jailable petty offenses, including failing to notify the State Police when you change your address or failing to report a lost, stolen, or destroyed CCL. Both of these violations will result in a $150 fine.
Concealed Carry for Non-Illinois Residents
Illinois law does not offer reciprocity regarding the concealed carry laws in other states. This means that a CCL from another state does not allow a person to concealed carry in Illinois. A non-resident with an out-of-state CCL is permitted to transport a weapon through Illinois in his or her vehicle but the weapon must stay in the vehicle and out of plain sight. If the vehicle is unattended, it must be locked. A non-resident must also notify law enforcement during a stop of the presence of the firearm.
A resident of another state is allowed to apply for an Illinois concealed carry license, as long the concealed carry laws in the person’s home state are similar to those in Illinois. A non-resident must pay an application fee of $300, and he or she is subject to the same requirements as Illinois residents.
Contact Us for Help
If you have additional questions about concealed carry laws in Illinois, contact the office of Williams & Nickl, LLC. Call 312-335-9470 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team today. We serve clients in and around Chicago and throughout Illinois.