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Real estate agents grapple with Illinois' new gun law

By Mary Ellen Podmolik

Real estate for-sale and open-house signs could be accompanied by another placard in the spring housing market -- the state’s new, official ‘no guns’ sign.

With the state’s concealed carry gun law in effect, and the first 5,000 licenses in the mail, real estate firms are starting to grapple with a person’s ability to carry a concealed weapon into a real estate office, an agent’s car and a seller’s home.

The Illinois Association of Realtors late last week issued a consent form that real estate firms and their agents can present, if they choose, to sellers so homeowners can make it clear whether they would allow a potential buyer with a concealed firearm inside their property. If a seller decides to prohibit it, an agent would put the state-authorized sign, a drawing of a black gun with a red circle and line through it, outside the home during all showings and open houses.


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"Sponsoring broker assumes no other duty than those duties expressly set forth herein and disclaims any and all responsibility for any personal injury or property damage caused by any guest or invitee who enters your premises," the consent form also states.

“We’ll put up signage, but we’re not going to put the brokers in the position of frisking down people as they walk through an open house,” said John Kauerauf, an attorney for the 41,000-member trade group.

An association task force advises that firms devise a companywide policy for their agents but stops short of encouraging the use of the firearm consent forms.

Separately, Midwest Real Estate Data LLC , the multiple listing provider for the Chicago area, is considering adding a notation to all real estate listings about whether a homeowner would allow a potential buyer to carry a firearm into a home listed for sale.

In developing the consent form, the Realtors’ group found no examples of real estate groups in other states taking such steps, but members of its task force found little evidence that concealed carry was the hot-button issue in other states that it has been in Illinois, the last state to allow concealed carry of guns.

“Our offices, as a whole, we’d prefer people not come in with guns, especially if they’re having a bad transaction, if we’re showing them in our cars, and our sellers, our homeowners, would probably prefer people aren’t coming into their homes with weapons,” said John Matthews, managing broker of Baird & Warner, Oak Park.

However, he added, “If someone was coming in to do bad deeds, they could care less if the concealed carry sign was there or not. if it’s a comfort level for agents and homeowners, I would say put the sign out.”


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