A Review of Concealed Carry Legislation in Illinois

With Illinois becoming the final state in the union to pass concealed carry legislation, here is a quick look on what it took to get here, the application process, and what lies ahead.

Before December, 2012 the Illinois Compiled Statutes criminalized the possession of firearms outside a person’s abode, legal dwelling, or fixed placed of business. 720 I LCS 5/24 – 1 and 720 I LCS 5/24 – 1.6.

Under the Unlawful Use of Weapons statutes above, a person could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for possessing a firearm, pistol, revolver, or stun gun when not in their house, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business. The Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon statute allows for a number of “aggravating” factors where a person could be charged with a Class 4 felony for the first offense, a Class 2 felony thereafter with a second conviction receiving mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.


Two cases were in filed federal district court seeking an injunction against Atty. Gen. Madigan and Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn seeking to bar them from enforcing key provisions of the Illinois statutes listed above prohibiting public possession of firearms.

Both Shepherd v. Madigan and Moore v. Madigan were dismissed by their respective US District Court. Both Courts’ ruling were substantially based on two recent Supreme Court decisions, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. The City of Chicago.

Both Moore and Shepherd appealed to the 7th Circuit Court in Chicago, and both cases were merged for the purposes of argument and decision before a three-judge panel.  That panel issued a decision written by Justice Posner reversing the District Courts’ ruling in a 2-1 decision that was published December 11, 2012.  Which can be found in full here:  http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10665754353092136977&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr.

The 7th Circuit Court remanded these cases back to the district level with orders that those courts were to find the laws unconstitutional and issue permanent injunctions. The Circuit Court delayed these mandates for six months in order to give the Illinois Legislature time draft legislation regarding citizen’s right to carry firearms. That delay was set to expire June 8, 2013.

The State requested a rehearing in front of the full Circuit Court that was denied. With that the Illinois Legislature passed on May 31, the last day of the legislative session, a “shall issue” version of a concealed carry bill (HB-183). After that bill passed in both the House and Senate it was sent to Governor Quinn.  Quinn threatened and utilized an amendatory veto on July 2, 2013 to add provisions he felt were lacking.

Governor Quinn was unsuccessful in including the following provisions to HB 183:

  • Limiting an individual to having one concealed firearm with a single magazine of no more than ten rounds; and
  • Defining concealed as to have the firearm completely concealed instead of hidden; and
  • A third provision barring the possession of a concealed weapon at any place that serves alcohol.
  • Reversing any signage to state“concealed weapons allowed on premises” instead of “no carry”.
  • Provided that employers could refuse concealed weapons on their property and refuse to allow the safe harbor provisions.
  • Removed the safe harbor provision allowing people with permits to exit their vehicle and store their handguns safely in the trunk.

Those provisions and the Governor’s veto were overridden by both the House and Senate on July 9, 2013.

Application Process: Qualifications

The following qualifications necessary to obtain a five-year concealed carry permit:

  • The applicant must be an Illinois resident over the age of 21;
  • The applicant must have a valid FOID card 90 days after a qualified application has been submitted
  • The State of Illinois will not recognize any out-of-state licenses or permits but Illinois concealed carry permits will be available at an increased fee to any interested out-of-state applicant whose laws are substantially similar to Illinois. (At this time the Illinois State police have not established which elements of other states permits meet this substantially similar requirement.)
  • The applicant must pay $150 fee, $300 for non-resident of Illinois;
  • The applicant must be fingerprinted which will incur an additional fee;
  • The applicant must undergo 16 hours of training. That training will require a live fire complaint. Eight hours of the training can be completed if it is, “approved by the in the Illinois State police and recognized under the laws of another state or if the applicant is an active, retired, or honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces.”;
  • Written consent for the Department of the State Police to review and use the applicant’s Illinois digital driver’s license or Illinois identification card photograph and signature;
  • a head and shoulder color photograph in a size specified by the Department taken within the 30 days preceding the date of the license application; and


A person will be refused a concealed carry permit if he or she has been convicted or found guilty in Illinois or any other state of:

(A)        Any misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any person within the 5years preceding the date of the license application; or

(B)        2 or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, within the 5 years preceding the date of the license application; and

(4)        (Applicant) 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;

(5)        (Applicant) 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; and


Illinois HB 183 § 30.


An investigation into the background of each applicant shall be conducted to ensure compliance with the previous conditions.  The background check will include:

  • National Instant Criminal Background Check System of the FBI.


  • Review of all available local and state criminal history records including juvenile adjudications.
  • Federal, State and Local records as they pertain to wanted persons.
  • Federal, State, and Local records as they relate to domestic violence and protective orders.
  • Federal, State, and Local records as they relate to Mental Health.
  • Any and all other records in any jurisdiction that would prevent an individual from purchasing, possessing, or carrying a firearm under federal, state or local law.
  • The fingerprints collected as part of the licensing process will be checked against the ISP and FBI databases and will be recorded and filed.  An additional fee may be assessed to pay for this background check.


The application must be reviewed and either denied or approved within 90 days of receipt of the request.  All information obtained from the application process will be collected and stored for use by Federal, State, or local law enforcement, State’s Attorneys, the Attorney General and any other courthouse personnel.  Additionally, anyone carrying a concealed weapon must have a valid license on his or her person at all times.


Any law enforcement agency may object to the issuance of a license.  An applicant with 5 or more arrests or 3 or more arrests for “gang related offenses” in the previous 7 years will draw an automatic objection.  All objections will be reviewed by Concealed Carry License Review Board.


Places Where Concealed Carry Are Prohibited

HB 183 includes numerous locations that where handguns will still be prohibited.  Some of these banned locations are:

Schools and child care facilities, College and University campuses, Government Buildings (such as Courthouses and Libraries), Public playgrounds and parks, Bars, Public gatherings, Museums, Stadiums, and Zoos.

A safe haven provision is provided for and outlined in HB-183. This stipulation allows a person with a valid license to exit their vehicle while in the parking lot of one of the aforementioned banned areas, and place the firearm in the trunk or passenger compartment as long as it can be locked and not in plain view.  Be aware that three or more violations of carry a firearm into any of the prohibited places will result in a permanent revocation of that person’s concealed carry license.

What to Expect

Since the veto override, HB-183 provisions were effective immediately.  However, the Illinois State Police were given 180 days to effectuate the actual licensing process.  The ISP were also allotted 60 days in which to certify instructors and the training programs necessary to obtain a license.  This law only applies to “Handguns” which the legislature has defined as, “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.” Illinois HB 183 §5.  It specifically does not include tasers, machine guns, short barrel rifles or shotguns, or paintball/pneumatic guns.

We hope that this is informative and helpful to anyone that wishes to pursue a concealed carry permit.  At this time there is still a general ban on the carrying of loaded unlicensed firearms.  We would always suggest consulting with an attorney before any criminal or legal proceeding.


This article is for informational purposes only.


A full copy of HB-183 can be found at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/98/PDF/098-0063.pdf Sources: NRA-ILA (dailycaller.com); U.S. News; Daily Herald; Chicago Tribune; The Huffington Post, www.ilga.gov.