Concealed Carry Act
Illinois’s new Firearm Concealed Carry Act presents most businesses with at least two issues. First, businesses must decide whether to allow customers and other visitors to bring firearms into their stores or offices. Second, they must decide whether to allow employees to bring firearms into the workplace.
Passed on July 9, 2013, the Act permits the concealed carry of firearms and requires the Illinois State Police to begin accepting applications for licenses to carry concealed weapons in 2014. The Act prohibits firearms in some facilities, such as hospitals, schools, colleges, government buildings and most bars, but all other private businesses must allow firearms unless the business posts a sign at its entrance stating that firearms are banned from the property.
A business, however, may not prohibit licensed visitors or employees from bringing firearms to the business’s parking lot, as long as the firearms are secured in a locked vehicle or in a locked compartment within the vehicle.
Addressing employment-related issues raised by the Act is more complicated. For example, the Act is silent on whether an employer may allow firearms in parts of its facility but not others.
Other questions facing employers include:
May an employer prohibit an employee from bringing a firearm into a vehicle owned or supplied by the employer or into the businesses or homes of the employer’s customers?
What is the employer’s potential liability if it allows employees and others to bring firearms into the workplace?
If an employer prohibits firearms in the workplace, what steps must it take to enforce the ban?
What potential liability does an employer face if an employee is injured as result of an employer’s failure to enforce a firearms ban?
Will an employer’s worker’s compensation insurance rates increase if it allows firearms in the workplace?
If an employer leases all or part of its facilities and the lease prohibits the presence of firearms, does the Act override the terms of the lease?
May an employer allow firearms and still comply with its OSHA obligation to provide a safe workplace?
The Act does not answer any of these questions. The answers therefore likely will be obtained only through additional legislation and litigation.