Weapons at the workplace. Is my business a weapons free zone or not, and whose decision is it?

During a chamber of commerce breakfast meeting on April 16 featuring Hinsdale, Darien, Westmont, Elmhurst and West Suburban chambers at Ashton Place in Willowbrook, attorney Rita Gitchell – partnered with Chicago-based Smith Amundsen – outlined information for businesses, owners and employees on the conceal and carry law. With the Concealed Carry Act now in effect in Illinois, and with DuPage County being the third highest county per capita in the state for residents requesting a conceal and carry license, businesses may have concerns or questions resulting from the new concealed-carry law.

Gitchell said it could be mandated by law if the business is weapons free, but, if it’s not mandated then the decision is supposed to rest with the owner of the property. Gitchell added lease agreements need to be looked at and the rule of concealed carry should be specified in the agreement. There are signs posted on some buildings and businesses that restricted concealed carry – illustrated by a handgun with a red line through it.

“If you are a private home owner, you don’t necessary have to post a sign, but you can tell people I don’t want guns on my property,” she said.

That’s the consideration for the business owner to have, and business owners should look at their insurance policy to see what they’re covered for in case of a concealed carry incident, Gitchell said. Owners also have to ask themselves if they want to make the workplace zero tolerance, and if so, that policy has to be put in place for employees to follow. She advised using common sense even after instituting a zero tolerance policy.

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