The Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act (the “Act”), which took effect on July 9, 2013, includes several provisions that directly affect non-residential building owners, landlords, tenants and property managers. Building owners and tenants should be aware of their rights and obligations under the Act now that the State of Illinois permits citizens to carry concealed firearms.
The Act does give building owners authority to prohibit persons from entering their property with a concealed firearm. The Act specifically provides that “the owner of private real property of any type may prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms on the property under his or her control.” In order to exercise this right, building owners “must post a sign . . . indicating that firearms are prohibited on the property.” Signs stating that the carrying of firearms is prohibited must be “clearly and conspicuously posted” at the entrance of a building, premises, or real property where such activity is prohibited. The Act charges the Illinois State Police with adopting rules and standards for such signs.
The new legislation should prompt landlords, property managers and tenants to consider several issues. For example, do landlords want to prohibit the concealed carrying of firearms on their property and in their buildings? If so, they should consider what policies to adopt and where to post the signage in order to prohibit such activity. In addition, landlords and property managers should review their standard lease rules and regulations to ensure that they implement the concealed carry policies of the landlord. Even though Illinois is the last state to permit concealed carry of firearms, the Act may be a good opportunity for landlords to review their standard lease provisions in other jurisdictions. Tenants also should review lease rules and regulations to ensure that they know their obligations with respect to their premises and to ensure that a landlord’s concealed carry policies are consistent with those of the tenant.
The Act also imposes a new obligation on businesses which derive a substantial portion of their revenues from the sale of alcohol. The Act provides that no person shall carry a concealed firearm in or onto “any building, real property, and parking area under the control of an establishment that serves alcohol on its premises, if more than 50% of the establishment’s gross receipts within the prior three months is from the sale of alcohol.” The Act goes on to provide that “the owner of an establishment who knowingly fails to prohibit concealed firearms on its premises or who knowingly makes a false statement or record to avoid the prohibition on concealed firearms is subject to penalties” of up to $5,000. Restaurant and bar owners should be aware of this new obligation not only because of the potential fines but also because of implications to their liability insurance coverage. For example, a restaurant owner’s liability insurance may preclude coverage where someone is injured and the restaurant owner has not met its obligations under the Act.