November 5, 2014
By: Adam Dauksas
Last Fall, Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd. alerted its clients as to the requirements of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which generally permits Illinois citizens to now carry concealed firearms in public. As the law has begun to take effect, however, there have been some common questions that the Firm has received:
Can a person drive onto a school’s parking lot with a concealed firearm and store it in their vehicle?
Yes. While the law makes it illegal for a licensed individual to carry a concealed firearm on or into the property of a public school, there is a limited exception regarding parking lots. A person may drive onto the parking lot of a public school with a concealed firearm in their vehicle and store it in a “case” out of plain view, inside of the locked vehicle. The law defines a “case” as a glove compartment or console that completely encloses the firearm, the trunk of the car, or a firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container. In addition, the law provides that a person may carry a concealed firearm “in the immediate area” surrounding their vehicle within a school’s parking lot but only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving it from the vehicle’s trunk; provided, however, the concealed firearm must be unloaded prior to exiting the vehicle.
Where do the signs that a school is required to post need to be located?
Signs stating that the carrying of firearms is prohibited must be clearly and conspicuously posted at the public entrances to school buildings, administrative offices, athletic fields, and parking lots (notwithstanding the exception noted above). The signs, a printout of which can be found here, must also be at least 4 inches by 6 inches in size.
Has the Illinois State Police Department issued any additional guidance about the “clear and present danger” reporting requirement?
Yes. The State Police have promulgated an administrative rule that addresses this issue, as well as made available a form and instructions for how school administrators are to report their determinations of students who constitute a “clear and present danger.” This form must be sent directly to the State Police within 24 hours of the determination being made. In addition, the administrative rule provides that reporting must be made consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).
If your school district has any additional questions concerning the Firearm Concealed Carry Act or needs assistance in drafting its policy regarding “clear and present danger” reporting, contact Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd.