The sign affixed to the door at EvenFlow Music and Spirits in downtown Geneva tells the message loud and clear – firearms are not welcome.
In light of the state's new concealed carry law, which recently went into effect, the restaurant has posted a sign approved by the Illinois State Police. Businesses have the right to do so under the new law.
On Jan. 1, people in Illinois were allowed to apply for the right to carry guns in their pockets or purses. A handgun carried on or about a person must be concealed from view of the public or on or about a person within a vehicle, according to the new law.
The signs depict a gun circled in red with a slash through the center, similar to a no-smoking sign. Only people with state firearms owner identification cards will be allowed to apply for concealed-carry permits.
"I personally don't think a person should conceal a gun inside a restaurant or a bar," EvenFlow co-owner Mike Knuth said. "It's a casual environment. You should already feel safe. When you go to a restaurant or a bar, you should feel comfortable and not feel you have to carry a weapon."
The signs also are prominently displayed at schools and government buildings. The law, among other provisions, bars guns from government buildings and requires municipalities to post standardized signs that have been approved by the Illinois State Police.
Among the places where guns are banned under the new concealed carry law are schools or child care facilities, government buildings, courts, correctional facilities, hospitals, mental health facilities or nursing homes, public transportation, airports and public playgrounds, parks and athletic facilities.
The rules regarding restaurants and bars, however, are not as straightforward. Under the law, guns are banned in "any building, real property and parking area under the control of an establishment that serves alcohol on its premises, if more than 50 percent of the establishment's gross receipts within the prior three months is from the sale of alcohol."
Knuth said it would have been helpful if the state included instructions with the sign on what he should do if someone tries to bring a concealed weapon into his restaurant.
"I'm not going to frisk everybody that comes into the door," he said.
Lt. Pat Gengler, spokesman for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, said he sees the signs as a way to remind people where guns are prohibited.
"Because it is such a new thing, it will help remind those people who get a license and choose to carry," Gengler said. "It's the individual's responsibility. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should do it."
Beyond the signs, those doing business at the Kane County Judicial Center, the Kane County Courthouse and the Kane County Circuit Clerk's Office first have to pass through a metal detector. In addition, security officers stationed at the buildings are armed.
Gengler said he couldn't remember the last time someone tried to bring a weapon into one of those buildings and ended up getting caught by the metal detector.
"Once in a while, you get someone bringing in a pocket knife," he said.
Kane County board members have been talking about whether to adopt the state's concealed carry law as written or to make it more restrictive.
County board member Melisa Taylor, R-Sugar Grove, said at a meeting last month that the policy must be consistent throughout the county’s buildings.
Want to know more information about Illinois' new concealed carry law? Visit https://ccl4illinois.com.