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A provision in state law that permits concealed firearms to be brought onto school grounds in vehicles has raised concerns with the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board, which has asked lawmakers to amend the law.

Section 65(a)(1) of the Illinois Concealed Carry Act “rightly prohibits firearms on school property, including school parking lots,” the board wrote in a letter to members of the Illinois General Assembly.

“However,” they point out, “subsection (b) unreasonably qualifies this prohibition by allowing concealed firearms stored in vehicles parked in school lots.”

The board contends that allowing guns to be brought onto school grounds in trucks and cars “significantly jeopardizes” the board’s efforts to ensure the safety of students and staff.

“Any risk of a child entering a car that contains a gun,” the board writes, “is a risk we do not want nor should be forced to take.”

The letter asks the General Assembly “to take any and all actions necessary to amend subsection (b) to extend the complete prohibition of firearms on all public and private school property, including school parking lots.”

Here is the complete text of the letter that was sent today:

“Dear Members of the Illinois General Assembly,

“The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board is writing to submit our strong concern about the impact the Illinois Concealed Carry Law has on our schools.  Specifically, we believe that Section 65 of the law, specifying the areas in which concealed firearms are prohibited, does not go far enough to enable us to ensure the maximum safety of our approximately 7,500 students and 1,000 employees.

“Section 65(a)(1) of the Illinois Concealed Carry Act rightly prohibits firearms on school property, including school parking lots. However, subsection (b) unreasonably qualifies this prohibition by allowing concealed firearms stored in vehicles parked in school lots. This runs counter to all that we, and several other school districts, understood the law to represent in exempting school property and grounds from the licensed carry of guns. Additionally, in our opinion, it completely contradicts the creation and enforcement of a School Safe Zone that is part of our state code and was passed unanimously by the General Assembly in early 2012.

“The first and foremost responsibility of a school board is to work with our administration to ensure the safety of our students and our staff.  The lawful allowance of guns on school property, even with the protections that subsection (b) seemingly provides, significantly jeopardizes our ability to do this.  The motive need not be malicious. Any risk of a child entering a car that contains a gun is a risk we do not want nor should be forced to take.

“We believe that all school property, including school grounds and parking lots, should be exempt from the Concealed Carry Law regardless of where or how those guns are stored.  We ask you to take any and all actions necessary to amend subsection (b) to extend the complete prohibition of firearms on all public and private school property, including school parking lots.”

The letter was signed by Board President Tracy Quattrocki, Vice President Richard Rykhus, and members Suni Kartha, Eileen Budde, Candance Chow, Katie Bailey, and Claudia Garrison.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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2 Comments

  1. An unreasonable request

    While the sentiment is good, this is an unreasonable request, as it then removes legal protection for ccw holders such as parents and workers who need to visit the school grounds but have no other alternative to temporarliy store their weapon while on school grounds for otherwise legitimate purposes, such as picking up their children.

    If a ccw holder who necessarily carries for self-protection is to be deprived of their right to do so simply because they have to pick up a child on the way home from work, will the school shoulder liability for that person's safety?

  2. Expansion of Concealed Carry Prohibition To Parking Lots
    D65 ought stick to the business of trying to educate kids and keep their noses out of the concealed carry statute. The legislature went through a contentious debate in drafting the law and not everyone was pleased with the result…which means that we got a balanced bill. There is no justification for going back and trying to rewrite the bill due to the school board’s paranoia and inciting parents on the issue has the school board getting involved in political issues that are outside of their primary mission. Perhaps they would be better off trying to encourage the police to enforce the laws we already have.

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