The Illinois General Assembly adopted concealed firearm carry legislation on May 31, 2013. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit had earlier invalidated Illinois's law and imposed an early June deadline for legislative action. The Firearm Concealed Carry Act (the "Act") will become law immediately upon Gov. Quinn's signature.
Financial institutions and other employers need to be aware of limitations the Act places on their control of the workplace. Although early drafts of the bill endorsed the employer's right to prohibit firearms in the workplace, the Act, as adopted, carves parking lots out of that right. Specifically, an employer may prohibit firearms within the workplace, including parking lots, by posting a sign to be designed by the Illinois State Police. However, persons with concealed carry permits will be allowed to carry within their own vehicle in a parking lot. The Act provides that licensed employees
shall be permitted to carry a concealed firearm on or about his or her person within a vehicle into the parking area and may store a firearm or ammunition concealed in a case within a locked vehicle or locked container out of plain view within the vehicle in the parking area. A licensee may carry a concealed firearm in the immediate area surrounding his or her vehicle within a prohibited parking lot area only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving a firearm within the vehicle's trunk, provided the licensee ensures the concealed firearm is unloaded prior to exiting the vehicle. For purposes of this subsection, "case" includes a glove compartment or console that completely encloses the concealed firearm or ammunition, the trunk of the vehicle, or a firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container. Section 65 (a-10)(b).
This provision precludes the employer's ability not only to prohibit stored firearms locked in private vehicles, but also provides that licensed employees may carry loaded firearms within their vehicle, store that firearm within a "case" in the vehicle, and carry their unloaded firearm "in the immediate area" surrounding his or her vehicle for purposes of storage in or retrieval from the trunk. "Immediate area" is not defined, but if the storage or retrieval requirement is strictly enforced, it should be limited to an area the size of a parking space. Case is defined to include a glove compartment or console, the trunk, and a firearm box or container.
Although it probably will be several months before the first concealed carry licenses are issued, financial institutions should immediately consider adopting firearm policies to define licensed employees' rights and obligations within the workplace. To review your policies, contact Mike Gifford or Mike Lied.