SPRINGFIELD — University officials are prepping for the advent of Illinois' new law allowing citizens to carry loaded weapons in public.

On Wednesday, an attorney for Southern Illinois University advised the institution's Board of Trustees that even though weapons won't be allowed on university campuses, they will have some policies to make.

For example, universities will have to decide whether to establish rules about allowing employees to carry weapons in university vehicles.

They also could consider designating a special parking lot on campus in which people with firearms can park their vehicles, Southern Illinois general counsel Luke Crater told trustees during a meeting in Springfield.

The new law, which went into effect Tuesday, brings Illinois in line with the rest of the nation when it comes to allowing concealed weapons.

Gun owners would have to undergo background checks, 16 hours of training and pay $150 for a permit. The state has 180 days to get a permitting system in place. The first permits could be issued within about 90 days after that.

Although it could be April 2014 before the first permits are handed out, Crater told trustees not to delay.

Southern Illinois President Glenn Poshard said he is directing university officials to begin discussing any possible changes in mid-August.

Under the new law, guns will not be allowed on campus property, including classrooms, labs, hospitals, athletic venues, sidewalks and parking areas.

But each university campus in Illinois is laid out differently, meaning the policies could differ slightly at Southern Illinois and the state's other facilities of higher education.

"There will be nuances between our SIU campuses," Crater said.


I'm the city editor at the Quad-City Times. You can reach me at dbowerman@qctimes.com or 563-383-2450.