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Going to the library? Leave your gun in the car : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Going to the library? Leave your gun in the car
Oswego Police brief library board on conceal carry rules

by Lyle R. Rolfe


Two Oswego Police Officers met last week with Oswego Public Library District Board members to discuss a provision in the state's new conceal car law that prohibits the carrying of firearms on public library property.

Sgt. Jason Bastin and Patrol Officer Frank Sterioti said only law enforcement officials are permitted under the law to carry firearms on library property.

The library district operates the Oswego Campus Library on Jefferson Street at Main Street in downtown Oswego and the Montgomery Campus Library at 1111 Reading Drive in Montgomery.

Sterioti said he, as an on-duty officer, and any retired police officer are excluded from the law. But no library employee or board member is allowed to carry a firearm onto the library property, he said.

Sterioti said this includes all library property, not just inside the buildings.

He said any person with a concealed carry permit can drive into the parking lot with the gun on his person, or in the vehicle, but he cannot exit the car with the gun except to place it into the trunk of the vehicle. Any ammunition must be unloaded at the time, he said.

"Someone with a convertible might want to put it in the trunk. Otherwise, they probably would put it in the glove box or the console area between the seats so it would be out of sight," he said.

It would be illegal for the person to walk away from the car with the weapon on his person, he added.

However, a person with a concealed weapon and a permit, would be allowed to walk across the sidewalk or other public right-of-way areas of the library if he or she were walking to a location past the library. But entering the parking lot or other library property would be illegal, Sterioti said.

According to the law this applies to all firearms and ammunition as well as other weapons.

A four by six inch state-approved sign of a pistol with a red circle and slash across it must be posted at all library entrances as designed by law. This sign shows that firearms are not allowed on the property, Sterioti said.

Library officials said they were aware of the law but asked police officers to attend their meeting to explain the law and answer any further questions.

Sterioti said residents who want to receive a concealed carry permit in Illinois must go through a 16-hour training course spread over two days to learn the proper procedures for handling and using a weapon. They also must pass a background check, he said.

The concealed carry permit they will receive covers only handguns, not rifles, shotguns, tasers or other weapons, he noted.

Sterioti said he would recommend calling the police if any employee or library patron sees someone in the library or on the property with a firearm, concealed or in the open.

"You can do what you want, but it if were me and I was unarmed, I would prefer to call the police," he added.

The caller should provide a good description of the person, where they are carrying the gun, where they are located on the property and their vehicle if possible, he said.

Residents were able to apply for concealed carry permits on Jan. 1 and it takes about 90 days for approval, so the state will start issuing concealed carry permits in early April, Sterioti said.

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