SPRINGFIELD – Texas became the 46th state to allow handgun owners to openly carry their weapons. Illinois is one of the four remaining states that does not allow gun owners to openly carry.
Illinois became one of the last two states to allow licensed handgun owners to legally carry weapons on them in July 2013 – however, the weapons must remained hidden from the public eye.
According to the state's 10-page Senate Republican Caucus' concealed carry online handbook,
A concealed firearm is "a loaded or unloaded handgun carried on or about a person completely or mostly concealed from view of the public or on or about a person within a vehicle. No 'open carry.'
They also define a handgun as any device "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."
There is an array of restrictions on where concealed weapons may be carried, the resource says.
"The following areas will prohibit the carrying of a concealed weapon:
- Schools, including elementary, secondary, and pre-schools and child care facilities (Operators of a child care facility may possess a firearm, but must keep it in a locked container any time a child is present in the home)
- State property, including the executive, legislative and judicial branches (except designated hunting areas or buildings where firearms are permitted by the Dept. of Natural Resources)
- Local Government buildings
- Adult or juvenile detention centers, priors, jails or other correctional institutions
- Hospitals, mental health facilities and nursing homes
- Buses, trains and other forms of public transportation, as well as buildings, property or parking lots under the control of a public transportation facility
- Bars (defined as any establishment that serves alcohol, if more than 50% of its gross receipts are from the sale of alcohol)
- Public gatherings and special events on property open to the public that requires a permit issued by a unit of local government (street fairs, “taste of” events, festivals, etc.)
- Any building or property issued a Special Event Retailers License for the sale of alcohol
- Any public playground
- Parks, athletic fields under the control of a city or park district (does not include a trail or bike path, if only a portion of the trail or bike path includes a public park)
- Property under control of the Cook County Forest Preserve District
- Public and private universities and colleges and community colleges, including classrooms, athletic venues, hospitals, laboratories, performance halls and galleries, as well as parking areas, sidewalks and common areas
- Gaming facilities, horse racing tracks and off-track betting parlors
- College and professional sports facilities
- Amusement parks
- Zoos and museums
- Nuclear power plants or other facilities regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (no vehicle “safe haven”)
- Any area where firearms are prohibited by federal law (no vehicle “safe haven”)