It may surprise you, but Illinois was actually the last of the 50 states to adopt a concealed carry law, allowing residents in the Land of Lincoln to carry a gun in public.
This doesn't mean that there aren't limits to carrying a firearm in the Windy City, but thanks to recent changes in state laws, Chicagoans can pack heat on the street.
Illinois' Concealed Carry Law
Before 2013, it was illegal to carry a loaded accessible gun in Chicago. But in December 2012, a federal court struck down that law as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
The federal court gave the state of Illinois six months (and then a little more) from the time of its ruling to craft a new law, and in July the new Illinois law was passed.
This was despite the governor's veto and a spate of tragic shootings over the Fourth of July weekend which left 10 dead and 55 wounded, CBS News reports.
Limitations of the Law
While the law itself has not completely been implemented, even on its face, the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act requires gun owners to:
- Have a Firearm Owner's ID card
- Pass a background check,
- Take 16 hours of required firearms training, and
- Pay $150.
But even with a legitimate license to carry a concealed weapon in Chicago, keep in mind that you still cannot travel with your gun on your person while driving.
When Can Chicagoans Get a Permit to Carry?
While the law was passed in July, the Illinois law enforcement still has 180 days to create a permit application process, reports The Chicago Tribune. Without a permit, carrying a concealed weapon in public in Illinois is still illegal.
Fearing that it might be 2014 before the Illinois law is truly working, gun advocates tried this month to appeal to the federal courts to let them immediately carry concealed firearms, The Associated Press reports. Their appeal was denied.
So it should be legal to carry a concealed weapon in Chicago by 2014, assuming you have the proper license and comply with the law.