Conceal and Carry Laws Possibly Becoming More Lenient, Even in Illinois

Conceal and carry laws generally are becoming more lenient across the United States. An estimated four to seven million people have conceal and carry permits, and the 2011 National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill proposed in Congress, would allow citizens with conceal and carry permits in one state to have that license recognized in another state that allows residents to carry a concealed weapon.

The legislation, however, excludes Illinois because Illinois does not give its residents conceal and carry rights. Five congressmen from Illinois support an amendment to the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act that would grant citizens with conceal and carry permits from other states the ability to carry in Illinois, even though the right is currently not recognized in the state.

The District of Columbia also does not permit residents to carry concealed weapons. However, the proposed amendment would allow D.C. residents to obtain a permit in another state and have the permit recognized in D.C. as well.

States with conceal and carry laws usually require applicants to go through background checks and safety training. Many states, however, have loosened their regulations on conceal and carry permits in recent years. In fact, Arizona has declared that requiring any type of permit to carry a concealed weapon violates its state constitution.

In contrast, Illinois currently does not allow residents to carry concealed weapons. Illinois gun laws state that only people with valid Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) cards may transport guns, and only if the gun is not loaded and is enclosed in an appropriate case. Someone who transports a gun in a container other than a gun case may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, and carrying an uncased, loaded gun may result in state felony charges for unlawful use of a weapon.

If the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act becomes law and an amendment is made to grant citizens with conceal and carry permits from other states the right to carry in Illinois, the restrictions on gun ownership and transport in Illinois would be considerably relaxed. The Act passed the House of Representatives in November, and is up for consideration in the Senate next before it could be sent to President Obama for signing.

If you have questions about gun laws in Illinois or are facing state felony charges for unlawful use of a weapon, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for more information.