Concealed Carry is now the law in Illinois. Recent news articles have reported that some 5000 Conceal Carry permits have been approved and mailed to new permit holders.
As an attorney, I wanted to share my opinion with you in a simple question and answer format. See also, the important disclaimer at the end of this article.
Question: As a landlord, can I prohibit my tenants from keeping firearms in their apartment?
Answer: No. The United States Supreme Court has consistently maintained that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to keep a firearm in their home. Further, the Illinois Concealed Carry Act now gives Conceal Carry permit holders the right to carry firearms outside of the home. Put the two of these together, and I believe that the tenant with a Concealed Carry permit also has a lawful right to carry that firearm from his car directly to his apartment, and from his apartment directly to his car. Same thing goes for a Concealed Carry permit holder entering or leaving the building on foot: directly from the entrance to the apartment, and directly from the apartment to the exit. I believe that any attempt by a landlord to interfere with these scenarios would be unenforceable.
Question: As a landlord, can I prohibit my tenants from carrying firearms in common areas of the building, such as a laundry room, party room, swimming pool or health club?
Answer: Yes, so long as it does not does not interfere with it does not interfere with the right of the tenant to carry directly to and from his apartment, as discussed in the answer to the previous question. And any prohibition would need to be specific to a particular place (e.g. the laundry room, etc.) and not to a particular person.
Question: As a landlord, can I carry a gun while going about my business as a landlord, doing such things as collecting rents, showing apartments, and tending to repairs?
Answer: Yes, if you have a Conceal Carry License.
Question: As a landlord, can I prohibit firearms from a Leasing Office or Management Office, whether on-site or off-site?
Answer: Yes, you could if you wanted to.
Question: As a landlord, can I prohibit firearms from being carried into a vacant apartment, or model apartment, that is being offered for rent?
Answer: Yes, you could if you wanted to. But you would also want make clear to any potential renters that this prohibition would no longer apply once they, or anyone else, was using the apartment as their personal residence.
Question: As the landlord, can I allow some tenants to have firearms, but not others?
Answer: Don’t even go there. Conceivably, it might be possible to articulate some type of class, condition, or standard, but if the party denied was a protected party under the Fair Housing laws, this is almost a guaranteed invitation to be sued under the Fair Housing laws. If you went the other route and merely said (for example) that I don’t want a particular person (I’ll call him Joe) to be able to carry firearms (because "everybody knows" Joe is a troublemaker), this route is fraught with trouble as well. Joe will claim that he applied for, and was issued, a Concealed Carry permit, so therefore the State of Illinois found him qualified to concealed carry. So just exactly who are you and what is your basis from denying Joe his right? You wouldn’t want to have to explain that one to a Judge.
Question: As the landlord, could I deny an application of an otherwise qualified applicant to rent one of my apartments strictly on the basis that the applicant has been issued a Concealed Carry Permit?
Answer: No. The mere fact that someone is a Concealed Carry permit holder is not, in and of itself, a valid reason to deny a rental application.
Question: What about condominium associations?
Answer: In my opinion, you could go through all the questions and answers above, and substitute "condominium association" for "landlord" and the answers would all be the same.
In conclusion, let’s keep the big picture in mind: 49 other states have had Concealed Carry for a long time, largely without any problems. Law-abiding citizens with guns do not cause problems; criminals with guns cause problems.
Disclaimer: This newsletter is only intended as a general discussion of a current topic. It is not intended as specific advice to any specific individual, including you or anyone else you may forward this email to. It is not intended to start, or further, any type of attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice for a specific situation, you should consult a qualified attorney. The information contained in this newsletter is believed to be correct at the time it was written, but laws can and do change. All citations to legal authority were intentionally omitted in the interest of brevity. If you have read this far into a disclaimer, you are either a lawyer or an insomniac. In either case, you are hereby advised that pursuant to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, this newsletter is Advertising Material.
Reposted with permission from the author, Bruce Theobold of Lakefront Realty Group in Chicago.