* The Chicago Tribune editorialized on the secrecy surrounding denials of concealed carry permits...
So far, the state has handed out 62,258 permits, denying some 1,620 for not following the rules or failing to meet some requirement. The Tribune’s Kim Geiger and Dahleen Glanton reported that local authorities have opposed some 2,400 applications (more than half of the objections coming from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart), and 809 individuals have been rejected. Overall, Illinois has not been stingy with licenses.
But some of those who were turned down say they don’t know why — and can’t find out. One is Michael Thomas, of Chicago, a former Air Force reservist who was honorably discharged. “I have never been arrested or convicted for any offense, either misdemeanor or felony, in the state of Illinois or any other state,” he said in a letter to the Illinois State Police. But neither the state police nor the board will tell him why he was refused.
So the National Rifle Association is suing the state on behalf of 194 rejected applicants. It argues that the opaque process denies them due process, because they are not informed of the basis for the decision or given the chance to challenge it.
We don’t often say this, but the NRA has a point. We supported giving the state some discretion in handing out permits to carry loaded guns in public. Local law enforcement officers often know of risks (such as gang associations) posed by particular people who have not been convicted of crimes. Common sense argues for erring on the side of keeping firearms away from anyone who poses a discernible danger.
* As did the SJ-R…
But the law also allows the agency to object to an application even after those requirements have been met. The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, made up of people with federal, state and local law enforcement backgrounds, reviews the agency’s objections in private, and the state police says the board doesn’t have to explain its reasons unless ordered to do so by a court.
* So, the coppers have come up with some new rules…
Under the new rules, persons denied a concealed carry license will learn the reason, and be told what law enforcement agency made that determination. They then have to hurry to find evidence that proves they’re not a danger to themselves or others or a threat to public safety — they get ten days to make their case to the board.
It’s not clear, though, if the new rules will satisfy gun rights’ groups demands for due process, or what it will mean for the ongoing litigation.
The new rules are here. They’re inadequate. Giving applicants just ten days to respond and keeping all hearings closed to the public just aren’t good ideas.