Illinois: House bills allow judges, prosecutors to carry firearms into courthouses; Senate version would still ban courtroom carry by judges

I mentioned last spring an effort in the Illinois Senate to allow judges to carry guns into their own courthouses but continue the practice of courtroom bans. Now the Illinois House is considering similar legislation.

Current law provides for a broad ban on guns in courthouses.

430 ILCS 66/65(a)(4) A [concealed carry] licensee under this Act shall not knowingly carry a firearm on or into…Any building designated for matters before a circuit court, appellate court, or the Supreme Court, or any building or portion of a building under the control of the Supreme Court.

HB 5518 would provide exceptions for a list of people, including

  1. correctional officers
  2. state trial and appellate judges
  3. federal trial and appellate judges
  4. State’s Attorney
  5. Assistant State’s Attorney with the consent of the State’s Attorney

HB 5792 would provide a narrower exception

  1. state trial judges (Circuit and Associate Circuit judges) would be allowed to carry both in the courthouse and into courtrooms
  2. prosecutors (State’s Attorney and Assistant State’s Attorney) would be allowed to carry in the courthouse but would have to store the firearm in a storage locker provided by the sheriff or chief judge when entering a courtroom

HB 5792 differs in the treatment of judges vs. the Senate version (SB 1637) which would allow judges to only carry into a courthouse but would maintain the ban on carrying into a courtroom.

HB 5518 and HB 5792 are in the House Rules Committee. SB 1637 is in the Senate Assignments Committee.