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