Understanding Illinois’ New Concealed Carry Law


With the enactment of the new Illinois Concealed Carry law on July 9, 2013, there are a lot of questions about when and where you can carry a concealed weapon once you have a License to Carry.

The first thing to know is that it is not a “CCW permit” as it is referred to in other states, but rather a “license to carry.” Obtaining an Illinois license to carry will take more training than any other state in the country, with 16 hours of class being required.

There are some people who will not need the full 16 hours of training, as active military and veterans will be credited with 8 hours. Also, those who have documented training from recognized organizations / trainers will be credited with up to 8 hours.

Everyone will have to take at least 8 hours, however. This eight-hour course covers the law and includes a shooting qualification to ensure that you know how to safely handle a gun and hit what you are aiming at.

With a license to carry in Illinois, you will be able to carry a concealed gun in many places, but there are also a lot of prohibited places where carrying can get you in trouble.

First of all, you cannot carry a concealed gun into buildings, property or parking areas of the following locations. Note however, that you CAN leave the gun in your car and are not breaking the law as long as you don’t get out of your vehicle with it loaded.

1) Elementary or secondary school, whether public or private

2) Pre-school or childcare facility

3) State buildings

4) Court buildings or buildings being used for a court proceeding

5) Local government building

6) Jail, prison, juvenile detention / correctional facility

7) Hospital, affiliate, mental health facility or nursing home, whether public or private

8) Train, bus or other public transportation funded in part / whole with public funds

9) Bars and any restaurant that serves alcohol which accounts for more than 50% of their sales

10) Permitted public gathering / event (pass-through exception)

11) Special Event Retailer’s Licensee location

12) Public playgrounds (No pass-through allowed)

13) Public parks (pass-through allowed if trail or bike path merely passes through, but is not totally within the public park)

14) Cook County Forest Preserves

15) College / University, whether public or private – ANY location

16) Off-track betting parlor, riverboat or gambling venue licensed by the State

17) Stadium, arena, or any collegiate or professional sporting event.

18) Public library

19) Airport

20) Amusement park

21) Zoo or museum

22) Nuclear Regulatory Commission facility – you may NOT have a firearm anywhere on their property, even in your car.

23) Any place prohibited by federal law.

The ability to leave the gun in your car, even in the parking area of a “prohibited area” is referred to as a “safe harbor.” Without this provision, you would actually be unable to carry concealed if you were dropping your children off at school, turning around in a parking lot, etc.

Finally, the “pass through” provision is very important, because without this you couldn’t leave your home with your gun if a street fair was being held on your block, and you couldn’t ride / walk on most bike paths, as they pass through parks.

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