Can you transport your firearm through gun free zones?

A common question is about transportation of a firearm (not carrying) through a gun free zone in Illinois.  The answer depends who you ask and if the gun free zone is a federally prohibited area such as a post office.

My opinion (this is not legal advice) is that you may TRANSPORT through most gun free zones in Illinois, but may not CARRY through gun free zones. Like I said it depends who you ask, I know some instructors who say you can’t and when I questioned this they said because they didn’t want to give bad advice – I said they are giving bad advice either way. But let’s examine what the law says…
(430 ILCS 66/65)
Sec. 65. Prohibited areas.
(a) A licensee under this Act shall not knowingly carry a firearm on or into:

The Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act says CARRY, it does not say TRANSPORT. Furthermore, if you don’t have a license but only have a FOID, you are absolutely able to TRANSPORT through these areas, because it says a LICENSEE, so it only makes sense that licensees may also TRANSPORT.

There is a distinct difference between “Carrying” a firearm and “Transporting” a firearm. Illinois law generally allow for transporting of firearms if the firearm is broken down in a non functioning state, OR unloaded and enclosed in a case OR not immediately accessible. Unloaded and enclosed in a case is the most common form of firearm transportation.

Furthermore, to legislative intent. Rep Brandon Phelps, who was the sponsor of the concealed carry bill and a major champion for gun rights in Illinois, said In the May 23rd, 2013 House Judiciary Committee Hearing, during the legislative process that became the Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act…
“Public Transit, right now, is out. But you can still carry an unloaded firearm in your briefcase, backpacks, fanny packs, things of that nature, and it’s consistent with current law as well.”
By the way, I would never recommend anyone do this unless they are trying to be the test case, because we have had no test case yet. If you do it be aware, you might get a ruling named after you. I for one would not personally hesitate to TRANSPORT through most gun free zones. Gun Free Zones prohibited by the Federal government are another story. You may make your own decision.

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