By Mark A. Lies II and Craig B. Simonsen

Illinois has just enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, PA 98-63, July 9, 2013. Accordingly, in response to the fact that employees may be carrying weapons, Illinois employers have to ask themselves “are the Company’s policies and procedures up-to-date.”

It will take some time for the State to begin issuing conceal carry permits. Items needed to be completed to facilitate the Act are the creation of an application system, identifying and authorizing firearms trainers and firing ranges to carry out the required sixteen hour training courses mandated by the Act. A Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board must be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate, to be composed of seven members to hear application licensing cases.

The Act includes twenty-three prohibited areas for concealed carry permits. The prohibited areas include establishments where alcohol sales account for more than 50 percent of annual sales, any elementary or secondary schools, any portion of a building that is used as a child-care facility, any community college or university, and any stadium or arena of a collegiate or professional sporting event. In addition, weapons cannot be carried public at gatherings such as parades and festivals, Cook County forest preserves, casinos, stadiums, public parks, libraries, museums or zoos. No loaded weapon can be brought aboard public transportation.

Illinois State Police will need to run background checks, including fingerprint searches, on all applicants. Under the Act police and prosecutors can object to a conceal carry  permit on several grounds if they believe a person is a danger to themselves or others. Objections can be filed if a person has had mental health issues, or has been arrested five or more times in the previous seven years, or had three or more arrests gang-related charges. Applicants may also be rejected for two or more convictions related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if they have undergone residential or court-ordered treatment for substance abuse in the last five years.

For Illinois employers it is time now to act to update your policies and procedures to speak to and address the reality of armed employees. Company policies can be tailored to prohibit weapons on company properties or while doing company business.