Concealed Carry in Parks in Illinois – What Does the Law Allow?

There is a provision in the Illinois Concealed Carry law that says that public parks and playgrounds are Prohibited Areas, but it is important to understand that there are ways you can live with this.

First of all, you can legally “pass through” any park if you are on a bike trail or walking path that passes through the park.  That is, if only a portion of the trail or path is in the park, you are okay to carry on that trail or path.  A good example is the Illinois Prairie Path.  It is located in the Chicago suburbs and runs 61 miles through more than 10 parks across three counties, and you can carry on that path. This provision is spelled out in 430 ILCS 66/65 (a) (13).   Now mind you, if the path or trail you are on is totally contained in the park, that is another story.  But if you are passing through, you are legal.

Another thing to realize is if you want to walk your dog, you can still go to the park and walk on the public sidewalk. 430 ILCS 66/65 ( c ) states that if you are on a public right of way that touches or crosses a prohibited area, you are fine.  So the public sidewalk along the street is just fine.  Your dog can do its business on the grass on either side of that sidewalk and be totally happy while you are still legal with your concealed firearm.

Is this a perfect law? No.  Can it be a pain in the rear end at times? Sure.  But by understanding the law, you will see that it is very livable. And, the Second Amendment is on the move, even in Illinois, so you can expect that changes are in the works.


How Well Do You Know the Laws Governing Concealed Carry in Illinois?

(Answers below)

These questions all apply to a person with an Illinois License to Carry

1)You can always have your gun with you in your car legally, except in the parking lot of a Federal facility or a Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulated facility. (True/False)

2) If your FOID is revoked, you must turn your guns in to the Police. (TRUE)  (FALSE)

3) If you sell a gun to an Illinois resident, you must run their FOID card using the Illinois State Police Website and retain the record, along with the receipt, for 10 years. (TRUE)  (FALSE)

4) If you give a gun to an Illinois resident, and no money changes hands, it is not necessary to run their FOID card using the Illinois State Police Website.  (TRUE)  (FALSE)

Federal Laws:

5) Transferring (selling or giving) a firearm to a resident of another state requires that you use a Federal Firearms Licensee. (TRUE)  (FALSE)

6) It is legal to have a gun in your car in the parking lot of a federal building. (TRUE)  (FALSE)

7) It is legal to carry concealed in a National Park (but not the buildings) as long as you are legal to carry in the state where the National Park in located. (TRUE)  (FALSE)

8) Your License to Carry is recognized and you are legal to carry in your car on the property of a federal facility or a facility managed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (TRUE)  (FALSE)



1) True.  In Illinois, your car is a safe harbor, but this does not apply to federal / nuclear facilities.

2) False.  You must turn in your FOID card to the police, but your guns can be given for safekeeping to anyone with a FOID card.

3) True.  This became effective January 1, 2014.

4) False.  A transfer of a firearm, whether a gift or a sale, requires that the FOID be checked.

5) True.  This is an interstate transfer of a firearm.

6) False. Park your car on the street and not in the parking lot if you have your gun with you.

7) True.  Just remember that you cannot bring your gun into the buildings.

8) False.  This question is repeated because it is important to remember that the Federal government isn’t impressed with our Illinois License to Carry.

Want to see Quiz #2? Click Here

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Illinois Concealed Carry – Is it Really Worth It?

I hear a lot of people complaining about the “Prohibited Areas” where you are not allowed to Carry in Illinois and some people will even say “It’s not worth it.”  However, these people are looking at the hole instead of the donut, as a quick look at the law will easily prove.  It is DEFINITELY worth it to get your License to Carry!

Now don’t get me wrong; I would change the list of Prohibited Areas in a heartbeat if I could. But realistically, how many of the “22 Areas” are even relevant to most of us in our daily life? Let’s look.

First, it must be noted that the vehicle “Safe Harbor” provision allows us to carry (or keep our gun) in our car anywhere except Federal Facilities (and no state law can trump Federal Law).

So, which of the following Prohibited Areas is really unreasonable or will ‘cramp your style’ on a daily basis? I will venture a guess and say that few of us can complain too much about the first six:

  • Prisons
  • Courtrooms
  • State or Local Government Buildings,
  • Nuclear Facilities 
  • Airports

The next six Prohibited Areas is more likely to be objectionable to those of us who want to carry, but on a daily basis it is probably no big deal (make no mistake about it, I would change it if I could… But does it REALLY affect most of us on a daily basis?):

  • Bars (venues that make most of their money from serving alcohol)
  • Libraries
  • Zoos / Museums
  • Riverboat Casinos and Horse Racing tracks or betting parlors
  • Stadiums / Arenas

That leaves the following areas where I would think we would prioritize changing the law:

  • Parks and Playgrounds
  • Public Transportation
  • Public Permitted Events, like carnivals or festivals
  • Colleges and Schools
  • Childcare Facilities
  • Amusement Parks
  • Hospitals
  • Cook County Forest Preserves (sorry for those of you who live in Cook County)

All in all, the Illinois Law is a great leap forward and, while we need to continue to work to refine it, we want and need as many Illinoisans as possible to exercise their rights! The more that do, the louder our voice becomes and the better the laws will get.

Guns Prohibited

Gun In Your Car in Illinois WITHOUT a Carry License? What is Legal?

As long as you have a FOID* card, you can have your gun in your car, in the passenger compartment, with the ammunition at the ready. This shocks a lot of people, since there are a lot of misconceptions about the law.

There are three legal ways to transport your gun in your car.

  1. It must be not immediately accessible, OR
  2. Broken down in a non-functioning state, OR
  3. Unloaded and enclosed in a container.

Let’s look at the how these three are defined. Remember that only ONE of the three conditions has to be met for it to be legal.

“NOT IMMEDIATELY ACCESSIBLE” is a very vague term, which has been interpreted differently in the past by courts, and is interpreted differently by a lot of police officers.  While  the trunk of your vehicle is certainly “not immediately accessible,” it is understood by most police to be “out of easy reach.”  Pretty vague.  Better be nice to the police officer! And the gun had better be unloaded if it is in the passenger compartment, not matter how far out of reach it is…

“BROKEN DOWN IN A NON-FUNCTIONING STATE” is pretty easy for a semi-auto.  Remove the slide.  For a revolver, this is more difficult.


“UNLOADED AND ENCLOSED IN A CONTAINER” is now more well defined than it was in the past.  The Illinois Supreme Court Diggins decision made it clear that a vehicle’s center console or a glove box, as long as it is closed (LATCHED, but locked is not necessary) is legal, as long as the gun is unloaded.  Put a magazine in the gun, even if you don’t chamber a round, and you are looking at a felony.

The easiest thing to do is get an Illinois License to Carry, then it can be on or about your person and loaded!

*FOID cards are not required for non-residents.