Articles Tagged with Concealed Carry

sebastian-pichler-25154-copy-300x200Recently, a Chicago judge was charged with a Class B misdemeanor offense. Cook County Judge Joseph Claps was walking in the courthouse lobby when a gun fell out of his jacket pocket. The judge proceeded to pick up the gun and place it in his pants. Security cameras caught the incident on tape and the Sheriff’s office took a report.

Although Judge Claps’ weapon was registered, he was carrying the gun in a restricted area. Even though he has a concealed carry license, he is not permitted to have the weapon in the courthouse. He has since been placed on non-judicial duties pending investigation and trial. This means that Judge Claps will be confined to routine tasks, such as legal research and marriage ceremonies.

This incident has sparked a lot of questions regarding the security and regulations that take place in our courthouses. While some may blame the security guards for letting the gun pass through the scanners, this case is not that simple. There are several complex regulations that impact courthouse security. If you will be entering a courthouse in the near future, it is important to be up to date on these procedures.

The Illinois State Police issued emergency rules last week dealing with the Concealed Carry License Review Board’s (CCLRB) denial of concealed carry permits. The new rules were created after dozens of lawsuits and more than 200 petitions for review were filed by Illinois residents whose concealed carry permits were denied with no explanation.

Unfettered discretion over denials of concealed carry permits and a lack of transparency resulted in roughly 1,150 permits being denied. In Cook County alone, police have objected to 1,545 applications since January 2014, when the law went into effect.

Illinois Concealed Carry Law

Illinois became the last state to authorize concealed carry permits after a 2012 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled that the state’s ban against carrying concealed weapons was unconstitutional. The concealed carry law, which went into effect January 1 2014, allows law enforcement agencies to object to a permit application if the agency has “reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety.”

Law enforcement may also object to the granting of a permit if an applicant has:

  • 5 or more arrests, for any offense, within the 7 years prior to the date of application for a permit; or
  • 3 or more arrests, for any combination of gang-related offenses, within the 7 years prior to the date of the permit application

Once an objection is filed, law enforcement must provide the CCLRB with information that supports its objection. Under the law, this information, as well as all records of the CCLRB’s proceedings, are kept confidential and may only be released under a court order – thus the reason for the lawsuits.

Under the new rules, if the CCLRB feels that an objection should be granted, it must send the applicant a notice of the objection, the agency that made the objection and the reasons for the objection, within 10 days of its preliminary decision. The applicant then has 10 days to provide the CCLRB any information he wants the board to consider in regard to law enforcement’s objection. The CCLRB may choose to hold a hearing on the objection following receipt of the additional information.

It is heartening to see the State Police respond so quickly and forcefully to the concerns raised by those who have been denied a permit and to amend the rules to require the CCLRB to notify applicants of the basis for law enforcement’s objection. The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. If the CCLRB is going to have blanket discretion to deny applications – especially where objections may be made based on the number of arrests, not just convictions – applicants must know the reasons for the objection so that they can file a proper appeal.

It is difficult for applicants to successfully appeal a denial if they have no idea why the application was objected to in the first place, and requiring them to obtain a court order to release the CCLRB’s records is a commitment of time and financial resources many applicants may not be able to make. These new rules are a step in the right direction for safeguarding the rights of Chicago residents and Illinois citizens to own a firearm.  Continue reading

Illinois law enforcement began issuing permits earlier this year under the state’s new concealed carry law, and already it appears that law enforcement is singling out Cook County residents with any type of domestic violence history.

Police Objection to Illinois Concealed Carry Permit

The Illinois concealed carry law grants law enforcement the right to object to the issuance of a concealed carry permit if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the applicant is a danger to himself or others, or is a threat to public safety.

When the application review process began on January 5 of this year, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department opposed 217, or 1%, of those submitted because the applicants had a history of domestic violence or were the subject of protection order; that number has since risen to 581, or 2.5% of all applications received to date. Gun crimes were the next highest reason for objections, with 378.  An objection does not guarantee that the concealed carry permit will be denied; instead, it grants the police up to 90 days to submit information to the Concealed Carry Licensing Review board supporting their objection.

The report notes that there is crossover amongst the objection categories, as some applicants had arrests for more than one crime, prompting the objection. Thus it is unclear whether any of the 581 objected applicants had convictions or charges for other crimes, such as drug crimes or assaults, which would have bolstered law enforcement’s objection. But with domestic violence being the highest objectionable category, it appears that individuals with these histories are being targeted. This is especially troubling when the basis of the objection was an order of protection.

Illinois Orders of Protection Not Evidence of Crime

Orders of protection can be obtained in criminal court in conjunction with a criminal charge of domestic violence. But they are most often obtained in civil court. A petition for an order of protection can be filed even if there is no arrest for domestic violence. While domestic violence is a serious issue, the protection order process is unfortunately abused, sometimes for personal gain, and other times for retaliation.

If your partner or ex-partner tries to get an order of protection against you, you may decide against fighting it, instead choosing to distance yourself from the situation. But given the potential rights that can be taken away if the order is issued, this is the wrong mindset.

If an order of protection is issued against you, it could negatively impact your ability to get custody of your children. You may have to list it on future job and housing applications. You will also need to include it on the application for a concealed carry permit, and in just the short time the licenses have been available, law enforcement has been trying to keep guns out of the hands of anybody who has any type of domestic violence in their past, even a non-criminal order of protection. Continue reading

 Illinois’ concealed carry law, which passed the state legislature in July 2013, officially went into effect when the state police began sending out its first round of permits in late February. As of March 1, 2014, 5,000 license applications had been approved and were processed for mailing, and 46,000 applications had been received so far overall.

Illinois’ domestic violence laws prohibit an individual who is the subject of an order of protection (a restraining order) from possessing or acquiring a gun. The new concealed carry law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence – whether domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery or similar offense in another jurisdiction – from obtaining a concealed gun permit. But domestic violence advocates are worried that it doesn’t do enough to keep firearms out of the hands of perpetrators.

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Section 15 of the concealed carry law allows police to object to the granting of a permit if the applicant has been arrested for any reason five or more times in the seven-year period preceding the application. An objection postpones the decision of whether to grant a permit for 90 days. During that time the police forward all prior arrest information to the Board, which will then decide whether or not to issue the permit.

Because those charged with domestic violence are often repeat offenders with a pattern of escalating abuse, advocates are concerned that the “five arrests in seven years” prohibition is insufficient to protect victims.  Many domestic violence victims file for restraining orders but then drop them out of fear, or don’t take the next step of pressing criminal charges. In other cases, perpetrators are never prosecuted, even when an arrest is made because the victim ultimately refuses to cooperate out of fear. This “loophole,” then, would allow otherwise violent perpetrators to get their hands on a concealed carry permit.

Objections to the Applications

Since the law went into effect, sheriff’s departments in Cook and Lake Counties had opposed 237 out of 14,369 concealed carry permit applications because of domestic violence and orders of protection. The Chicago Police Department objected to 86 out of 3,186 applications. They did not say if all of the objections based on domestic violence and orders of protection exceeded the five times in seven years threshold. An objection does not guarantee that the concealed carry permit will be denied.

But proponents of concealed carry believe the law is fair, arguing that an arrest isn’t the same as a conviction. Prosecutors may choose not to press charges, and jurors may acquit a defendant, because they believe the claim of domestic violence was false. Punishing an individual because he was falsely accused would be unfair and a violation of his or her rights.

Individuals whose applications are denied have the right to appeal to the Board and, if the permit is still denied, then to the courts. Because some believe the law offers a loophole that will put firearms in the hands of those they believe are dangerous, the area is rife with the possibility of denials based on less than that threshold, in the hopes that the applicant will not file an appeal if the Board denies the application.

The appeal process will no doubt involve rehashing and dissecting those prior arrests, with the police arguing that your arrest history marks you as a violent repeat offender, and that allowing you a concealed carry permit would be dangerous to the public. Continue reading