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Committee wants clarification on concealed-carry guidelines

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 5:25 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 11:21 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County Board committee wants to make sure proposed guidelines limiting county employees’ right to concealed carry would not run afoul of the new law.

The Management Services Committee on Monday deferred a recommendation on the new guidelines until the state’s attorney’s office can clarify rules forbidding employees from using their personal vehicles to perform official duties if a handgun is stored within.

Committee Vice Chairman John Hammerand, R-Wonder Lake, said some members had concerns that employees who kept their weapons in their locked cars, which is legal under the new law, could get into trouble if unexpectedly asked to drive somewhere as part of their job.

In the wake of concealed carry taking effect in the coming months, the County Board wants to set down rules forbidding employees who are not law enforcement from carrying handguns during their official duties.

Under the proposed rules, county employees and volunteers won’t be able to carry while on the clock, store their weapons in county-owned vehicles or use their private vehicles for county business if they contain firearms.

The concealed-carry law forbids carrying a concealed weapon into government buildings, but they can be stored in a locked car. The law forbids local governments from enacting their own additional restrictions.

The Illinois State Police will start to accept applications for concealed-carry permits Jan. 5.

State lawmakers earlier this year hashed out rules for carrying a concealed weapon in the wake of a 2012 federal appeals court ruling that struck down Illinois’ total ban on concealed carry. Illinois is the last state in the union that did not allow citizens some form of it.

The law allows Illinois residents to obtain a five-year concealed-carry permit for a $150 fee after completing a 16-hour training course, the longest of any state. Nonresidents must pay a $300 fee for a permit. Illinois does not recognize concealed-carry permits from other states, although the new law allows nonresidents passing through to keep their weapons in their cars if they possess them legally.

Besides government facilities and courthouses, carrying is forbidden in parks and at festivals, mass transit, schools and colleges, hospitals, stadiums, bars and dining establishments that make more than half of their revenue from alcohol sales.

Business owners can ban concealed weapons from their properties, but must place a sign designed by the state police at the entrance. However, the law allows people to store their weapons in their locked vehicles in parking lots where carrying is banned by law or by the establishment owner.

On the Net

You can learn more about the Illinois concealed-carry law and find a list of qualified instructors at the Illinois State Police website, www.isp.state.il.us/firearms/ccw.

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