Illinois Gun Laws: Concealed Carry License and Shall-Issue

shall issue, concealed carry, Illinois criminal defense attorneyThe state of Illinois has long been known for its strict stance on gun control. In fact, it was only after a federal appeals court found the state’s previous ban on carrying a concealed weapon to be unconstitutional that lawmakers passed the Firearm Concealed Carry Act in 2013. The Act made Illinois the last state in the union to permit the carrying of a concealed weapon, albeit with a significant number of restrictions.

Shall Issue vs. May Issue

In the gun control debate, one of the most commonly discusses points of contention is the specific language of concealed carry laws. Gun rights proponents, as one might expect, favor wording like that used in the Illinois concealed carry measure, which says “The Department [of State Police] shall issue a license to an applicant” who meets all of the statutory requirements. (Emphasis added.)  “Shall-issue” laws are in place in 42 states, and have been widely interpreted in a manner that eliminates most government decision-making in the process.

“May-issue” laws, on the other hand, are often preferred by strict gun-control advocates. Concealed carry laws with this type of language are currently in place in the remaining eight states and the District of Columbia. While some regions within may-issue states have been granting licenses in relative accordance with shall-issue principles, others will not. In general, the governing agency responsible for concealed carry permits retains discretion to deny an application even if the applicant meets the criteria for approval. The granting authority—usually the police—is often provided wide latitude over such decisions.

Criteria for Illinois Shall-Issue

Under the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act, an Illinois resident shall be issued a concealed carry license as long as the applicant:

  • Is at least 21 years old;
  • Possesses a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card;
  • Has not been convicted of a violent crime in the previous five years;
  • Has not been convicted of two or more violations of driving under the influence in the previous five years;
  • Is not currently party to an ongoing criminal case that could result in disqualification to own or possess a firearm;
  • Has not received residential court-ordered treatment for alcohol or drugs in the previous five years; and
  • Has completed appropriate firearms education and training.

Even with a valid concealed carry license, the law provides restrictions as to where a firearm may be carried. Concealed carry is prohibited in more than 20 types of buildings and locations, including schools, hospitals, government buildings, public festivals, and establishments that serve alcohol.

If you have been charged with a weapons offense, or simply have a question regarding the state’s gun control laws, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Arlington Heights. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule a free consultation today and get the answers you need from an experienced legal professional.

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