Do Gun Free Zones Carry the Force of Law in Illinois?

Illinois has numerous gun-free zones. In addition, any Illinois property owner may declare their property as a gun-free zone as well. In some states, these “no gun” signs are a suggestion and may be ignored. In Illinois that is not the case!

The law in Illinois includes the following paragraph…

(e) Except as otherwise provided, a licensee in violation of this Act shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation is a Class A misdemeanor. The Department may suspend a license for up to 6 months for a second violation and shall permanently revoke a license for 3 or more violations of Section 65 of this Act. Any person convicted of a violation under this Section shall pay a $150 fee to be deposited into the Mental Health Reporting Fund, plus any applicable court costs or fees.

Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Act

As you can see, the violation of a gun-free zone in Illinois does carry the force of law in Illinois. Your best course of action is to avoid gun-free zones and spend your money elsewhere. It isn’t really worth thousands of dollars in legal fees. Is it?

Gun Free Zone Sign
Do Gun Free Zones Carry the Force of Law in Illinois?

What about Gun-Free Signage?

The Illinois law is very specific about the signage requirement for gun free zones in Illinois. Someone who wishes to prohibit concealed carry isn’t allowed to slap up any ol’ sign they want.

(d) Signs stating that the carrying of firearms is prohibited shall be clearly and conspicuously posted at the entrance of a building, premises, or real property specified in this Section as a prohibited area, unless the building or premises is a private residence. Signs shall be of a uniform design as established by the Illinois State Police and shall be 4 inches by 6 inches in size. The Illinois State Police shall adopt rules for standardized signs to be used under this subsection.

(Source: P.A. 101-31, eff. 6-28-19; 102-538, eff. 8-20-21.)

The JCAR administrative rules designating the sign design are as follows…

Pursuant to Section 65(d) of the Act, signs must be of a uniform design. The Department has adopted the following sign format. The background is white, with no text, other than the reference to 403 ILCS 66/65, and no other marking within the one-inch area surrounding the graphic design. The graphic design is a handgun in black ink surrounded by a red circle with a diagonal slash across the handgun. The circle shall be 4 inches in diameter. The black rectangle surrounding the image must measure 4 inches tall by 6 inches wide.

Section 1231.Appendix A Prohibited Area Posting

It is important to note that one can be arrested for any reason. All a police officer needs is reasonable suspicion that what you did might be against the law. It is unlikely the average police officer will understand the subtle nuances of the law and could arrest you for ignoring a non-compliant gun-free zone sign.

Illinois gun Free Zone FAQ

Do Gun Free Zones Carry the Force of Law in Illinois?

Yes. There are criminal penalties for carrying a concealed firearm in a gun free zone in Illinois which start at a misdemeanor and can include revoking your concealed carry license.

Is there specific signage requirements for the gun free zones in Illinois?

Yes. Illinois is very specific about the signage requirements in the gun free zones. The signs must be 4″x6″ in size, clearly and conspicuously posted, and of a uniform style and design. However, that doesn’t mean one ignoring a non-statutory sign can’t be arrested. You’ll likely win in court, but will cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees. We are literally guilty until proven innocent.

Who can post the gun free zone sign in Illinois?

Per the Illinois law it must be the property owner who posts the sign.

Learn more about Illinois Concealed Carry Training

Learn more about Defensive Pistol Training

2 thoughts on “Do Gun Free Zones Carry the Force of Law in Illinois?”

  1. I recently attended my CCL re-certification in May of 2022 where I was told that the signs no longer carry the rule of law.

    Has that changed since the writing of this post back in 2019?

    1. Whoever told you that the Illinois signs don’t carry the force of law gave you some very bad advice. Getting caught in a gun-free zone with your concealed carry pistol is a misdemeanor. If you don’t have a concealed carry license, it could be a felony.

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