Concealed Carry and Businesses

The concealed carry law will affect 3 types of businesses:

  1. Businesses that are already prohibited by law from allowing the carrying of loaded, concealed guns;
  2. Business that choose to prohibit customers and employees from carrying loaded, concealed guns; and
  3. Business that choose to allow customers and employees to carry loaded, concealed guns.

The legal implications of your business decisions on how to handle Illinois CCL should not be taken lightly. It is best to seek an attorney to discuss the specific needs and concerns of your business, as it is unwise to determine how to safeguard your business from liability without a comprehensive knowledge of the law.

How do I let customers know that guns are prohibited at my business? Are there any legal requirements for how to communicate this policy?

The Illinois State Police has established administrative rules consistent with the Illinois Concealed Carry Law regarding the design of the required notices prohibiting firearms for all businesses.  They have developed standard signage that any business owner can download and print directly from their website, and then post throughout their business to notify patrons of the restrictions.  The sign can be found here.

 

Do I have to allow my employees that are concealed carry license holders to carry loaded, concealed guns at work? 

The law only requires employers to allow guns if they are hidden in locked vehicles.  Employers may prohibit guns in other areas as long as the owner of the property agrees and the sign is posted.

 

If I choose to prohibit my employees from carrying guns at work, what are my legal requirements?  

If you are the owner of the property, the concealed carry law requires you to post a standardized notice prohibiting firearms that is consistent with the Illinois State Police standard requirements that can be found on their website.

If you are not the owner of the property where your business is located, it is recommended that you first work to establish an agreement with your landlord and then seek legal advice from an attorney as the court have not fully addressed whether these decisions are, indeed, entirely dependent on the property owner. (See above answer to “Who has the legal authority to prohibit firearms?”)

The concealed carry law requires business owners to post standard signage in all prohibited areas that advises entrants that carrying a concealed firearm on the premises is prohibited. A copy of the required signage can be downloaded here.

It should be noted that, while the statute specifically addresses the posting requirements, it does not address the manner in which you communicate or enforce this policy.  In that regard, it is recommended that you consult your attorney or ensure that the policy is implemented in a manner consistent with all other employee requirements.

 

Does the law require me to allow patrons to carry loaded, concealed guns on the premises of my business?

 You may prohibit guns on the premises of your business, so long as you first obtain permission from the owner of the property, and you post approved signage.  You must ensure that the owner of the property posts the sign or allows you to post the sign.  The types of businesses that are required to prohibit guns are listed here, but even if your business is not listed, you may still choose to prohibit guns on the property, so long as the sign is used.  Be aware that guns must still be allowed in locked vehicles in parking areas, event if the sign is posted.

The CCL states that “[t]he owner of private real property of any type may prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms on the property under his or her control.” In addition, it states that all prohibited areas, including self-designated prohibited areas, must post signage (unless the property is a private residence) advising entrants that carrying a concealed firearm on the premises is prohibited.

 

Who has the legal authority to prohibit firearms from being carried on the grounds of a business – the owner of the property, or the tenant?  If I am the business owner, but I don’t own the property, can I still prohibit concealed carry? 

Based on the Illinois’ CCL language, it is very clear that the owner of the property where they manage their business has the authority to prohibit firearms.  It states: “The owner of private real property of any type may prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms on the property under his or her control”

However, there are still many questions about the legal interpretation of this language, and what defines “the owner of private real property.”

Questions include:

  • Do you have to be the “owner” on the title?
  • What is meant by “private real property”?
  • What about an office building that is open to the public or located on public property?
  • Even if I am the owner of the private real property, what does it mean to be under my control? i.e. what if I lease the property to someone else?

At this point, no one really knows how these terms will be interpreted by the courts and it is recommended that businesses seek an attorney if they require answers to these questions.

In the meanwhile, if you have concerns about individuals carrying loaded, concealed handguns at your business, then it is encouraged that you workout an agreement with the property owner as soon as possible.

Additional Questions

Additional questions we have been asked about the concealed carry law and how it affects businesses:

  • If my business prohibits guns are we liable for enforcing this policy?  Do we need to conduct regular checks of employees or our business for guns?
  • If my business prohibits guns and an employee brings a gun to work, what are my rights as an employer to discipline them?
  • If I allow guns on the premises of my business, do I need to get a different type of insurance?
  • If an employee makes any threatening statements against another employee, do we have to handle those threats differently if we know they are a gun owner?
  • If my business prohibits guns and an employee brings a gun to work and shoots someone, what is our liability?
  • If my business prohibits guns and an employee brings a gun to work, what are my rights as an employer to discipline them?
  • If I allow guns on the premises of my business, do I need to get a different type of insurance?
  • If my business allows guns and someone carrying a loaded concealed gun displays disturbing behavior in my business or is making my customers uncomfortable, what are my rights to get them off the premises?
  • If I allow guns at my business and a customer shoots someone on the premises, what is my liability as a business owner?

The law as written is vague in answering these questions and no one can say for certain how the courts may interpret them.  The legal implications of your business decisions in this regard to these questions should not be taken lightly.  It is best to seek an attorney to discuss the specific needs and concerns of your business, as it is unwise to determine how to safeguard your business from liability without a comprehensive knowledge of the law.

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