Illinois’ New Conceal Carry Law-What Now?
Illinois is the last state to legislate conceal carry. Appropriately interpreted by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, I call it the Citizens’ Militia gun rights act.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vetoed legislation for conceal carry in Illinois, blasting them for negotiating away public safety to appease the National Rifle Association. (NRA). In December 2013, a federal appeals court ruled the state’s ban on carrying concealed firearms was unconstitutional. Governor Quinn put up a good fight to prevent conceal carry from becoming Illinois law. In the end, the NRA won.
“Despite my objections, members of the General Assembly surrendered to the National Rifle Association in the waning days of session and passed a flawed bill that allows people to carry guns in establishments that serve alcohol, and allows people to carry unlimited guns and unlimited high-capacity ammunition magazines,” the governor said in a written statement. “It was wrong on May 31 and it’s wrong today.”
Some good did come out of it. The legislation allows for business owners to ban firearms on their property as long as they post signs indicating they don’t allow guns. I saw such a sign yesterday posted on a bank.
In the aftermath of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Gov. Pat Quinn appeared on national television and declared that Illinois doesn’t have a “stand your ground” law like Florida and “we don’t want it.” Illinois has justifiable homicide statute. Some say it is generic, saying that a person who is attacked is justified in using deadly force “only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.” Lawyers depend on decisions by the Illinois Supreme Court.
The case law is well established in jury instructions in Illinois criminal court cases in which a defendant claims self-defense. It notes that “a person who has not initially provoked the use of force against himself has no duty to attempt to escape the danger before using force against the aggressor.” This case law however, mainly applied to homes and businesses because Illinois did not have a conceal carry law. Illinois has long had a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) law in place.
Collen Daley, executive director for Chicago-based Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “You hear time and time again stories from Downstate that it’s the one thing they’ve wanted for years and years and years, but in Cook County, when we did polling, people don’t want concealed-carry,” she said. “The majority of voters weren’t in support of it. It goes to what we knew all along. It’s not on the top of the list. They don’t think carrying a gun will make them safer.”
Historically, areas of Illinois such as Cook County have owners of firearms who carried in their car and on their person, even without concealed carry law. It’s a street-law system. There are people who trust cops, and those who do not. There are people who trust the judicial system, and those who do not. In cases where people shoot or kill others in self-defense, they don’t wait around for the cops to arrive. The shootings or deaths end up in crime statistics.
In January 2014, the Illinois State Police released a county-by-county breakdown of the 23,000 plus gun owners who have applied since online enrollment began in January 2014 for permits to carry their handguns in public places.
Illinois has 102 counties, the largest per capita being Cook County which includes Chicago.
In terms of raw numbers, Cook County has the most concealed-carry applications of any county, with 5,305. However, weighed against its overall population of 5.19 million people, the rate of applications comes in last.
According to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis, current applications are mostly from people who reside in small towns where murders happen once every 50 to 100 years and the worst crimes are meth labs.
Before getting into requirements for a conceal carry license in Illinois, I would like to address why counties in Illinois whose worst crimes are meth labs, have more citizens per capita applying for conceal carry.
Will County has 1,759 permit applications so far, more than any other collar county. DuPage County is second among collar counties with 1,589 applications so far. Lake County comes in third, with 1,164 applications.
The tiny county of Cumberland, located in east-central Illinois, has 56 applications out of 11,048 residents. “I’m shocked about it,” said Tom Bauguss, mayor of Greenup, a farming community that is the county’s largest town with 1,516 residents.
Crime of any sort is a rarity in Cumberland County, where residents report frequent sightings of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who visits during Downstate hunting forays.
“In Greenup, I can’t remember the last murder,” the mayor said, adding that he doesn’t even own a gun.
State Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, was the lead architect of legislation that opened the door for concealed-carry in Illinois and is among the 23,000-plus who already have sought a concealed-carry permit, saying once he is licensed, he intends to carry an XDS .45-calibur handgun.
Low crime rates notwithstanding, Phelps said it’s not surprising that rural and mostly crime-free pockets Downstate might be moving more quickly for the permits than Cook County. Told of Cumberland County’s top-of-the-heap status, Phelps joked, “Now, there won’t be any criminals stopping through there committing crimes any more.”
“Any more”?? No, Representative Phelps. Cumberland County’s crime statistics are 3.02% property, and .54 for violent crimes. A shooting that made headlines was for Kevin D. Morlan, a man who lived in the county. He was not stopping through.
State Rep. Brandon Phelps’ comment demonstrates that he believes a conceal carry license deputizes citizens to make the decisions of, and take actions like, law enforcement. It’s an attitude of citizens’ militia rather than self-defense. What Rep. Phelps should have said is that recruitment by the Klu Klux Klan is taking place in his district, as well as other Illinois counties.
The total population of Cumberland County is about 11,048. It is;
In October, 2013, a Ku Klux Klan leader said his organization is making great strides in recruiting members from the New Lenox area. “All I can tell you is we’re recruiting and we’re having great success,” said William J. Spears, the “Imperial Kaltrop” of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the “Realm of South Carolina.”
“They have nothing to be afraid of,” Spears said of the people of New Lenox. “I think they should feel very safe the Klan is conducting neighborhood watches.”
New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann was less than enthused by the prospect of a KKK neighborhood watch coming to town. He never encountered the Klan before, even during his time as the Chicago Ridge Chief of police.
New Lenox has a population of about 24,715 that consists of;
In February 2013, residents in a small town in Grundy received recruiting letters from what appears to be the Ku Klux Klan. They say they have no idea why they are being targeted but are doing their best to ignore it.
Cell phone pictures and video given to WGN in Chicago show the letters that are being thrown onto lawns throughout the small town of Mazon, IL. The letters are sealed in a zip lock bag and weighed down with a small stone. The title reads “Wake Up White America.” The town’s population is about 800. The residents say they are surprised and have never seen anything like this. Don Plott and some of his family members discovered the letters earlier this week. He says they have been throwing them away as soon as they find them. “As a community we feel we are not interested in having any part of it.”
The letter asks white people to join the loyal white knights of the Ku Klux Klan. It gives a few racial statistics with no attribution and claims the mainstream media is lying to Americans.
In December 2013, police in Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, investigated flyers promoting the Ku Klux Klan that appeared in some of the town’s driveways. The Chicago Tribune reported that at least five residences were targeted.
So now we know why conceal carry is important to residents in downstate Illinois – because the KKK plans on performing neighborhood watch. A Google search of “KKK” and “Stand Your Ground” returns numerous blogs whose writers have identified or suspect that stand your ground and the KKK go hand in hand.
Indeed, a comment was submitted to this blog in which the person, using the plural “we” stated there is a 50 year plan to eliminate “knuckdraggers” under the cover of stand your ground law. He considers that those such as Michael Dunn who was convicted of 2nd degree attempted murder, and White on White self-defense cases are collateral damage, as if to say that in a war, there are always fallen soldiers.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified five (5) KKK Chapters in Illinois, with one located in Joliet. The city of Joliet is located in Will County – the county with the most conceal carry permit applications per-capita so far.
The FBI has stated:
“It seems like a throwback to a different era, but white supremacy—which sees whites as inherently superior to those of other races—still exists in America today. Having those kinds of beliefs is not against the law…as a matter of fact, it’s protected by the First Amendment. But white supremacy becomes a crime—and for the FBI, a form of what we call extremism—when it is furthered through threatened or actual use of force or violence or other illegal activity.”
The FBI admits;
“Today’s extremists are more challenging than ever. They’re affiliated with a variety of white supremacy groups, and they can be motivated by any number of religious or political ideologies. We’re also seeing more lone offenders and small, violent factions of larger groups at work, which makes detection of these crimes tougher.”
Yes – and conceal carry is also making it tougher to detect when killings are committed due to white supremacist ideologies under the guise of self-defense. The 50-year plan now targets young Black males, but we can expect for gays, Jews, Muslims, Asians and Hispanics to be added as targets, because hate and evil have insatiable appetites.
Based on what we see happening in the State of Illinois with conceal carry licenses and recruitment by the KKK; and based on how stand your ground has been used as a defense for killing unarmed Black teens, the FBI should, in the least, begin collecting data of self-defense cases nationwide. They might just see a pattern developing – a pattern where a case is used to try the system and then there are more cases including the same claims, with no consequences for the killers.
Yesterday, ABC reported that activists for and against conceal carry rallied at the Illinois Capitol. There was a group from LaGrange, IL, who asked that shop owners display a state-sanctioned sign to deny entry to those carrying firearms. On the other side, gun activists want to be able to conceal carry in parks, libraries, and on mass transportation.
Executive Director for the Illinois State Rifle Association, Richard Pearson, says that places that ban guns are more inviting for criminal activity. He appears to forget that Illinois’ FOID allows business owners to have guns in their place of business. Therefore, what Pearson must be referring to are crimes between patrons. Maybe he thinks that a customer is going to rob him in a store. He wants the right to shoot business patrons rather than relying on business owners to decide if and when there is criminal activity in their premises.
There appears to be a movement in Chicago suburbs to boycott all businesses that do not display the sign that guns are not allowed. I don’t need a formal boycott and already decided to not patronize businesses that allow conceal carry. In fact, I am looking for online resources for goods that I normally go to a store in person to purchase. I’m not taking a chance of someone mistaking my facial expressions for feeling a sneeze coming on, as menacing.
As the state’s first permits to carry concealed firearms began arriving in the mail this week, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy warned of potentially deadly consequences from having more guns on the streets. He used the case of Reeves and Dunn in Florida as a basis for how arguments can escalate into conceal carry owners firing a gun, ending a life. “Stand by and watch what happens. The answer to gun violence is not more guns,” McCarthy said.
Supt. McCarthy is also of the opinion that 16 hours of training is not near enough to being adequate in learning how to use a firearm.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has filed hundreds of objections to conceal carry applicants, citing arrests for domestic violence, burglary, theft, gang activity and crimes involving drugs and guns.
Now, for the qualifications for a conceal carry license in Illinois;
(1) at least 21 years of age;
(2) has a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and at the time of application meets the requirements for the issuance of a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and is not prohibited under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act or federal law from possessing or receiving a firearm;
(3) has not been convicted or found guilty in this State or in any other state of:
(A) a misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any person within the 5 years preceding the date of the license application; or
(B) 2 or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, within the 5 years preceding the date of the license application; and
(4) is not the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution, or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm;
(5) has not been in residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the 5 years immediately preceding the date of the license application; and
(6) has completed firearms training and any education component required under Section 75 of this Act.
The application requires a waiver of the applicant’s privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges under all federal and state laws, including those limiting access to juvenile court, criminal justice, psychological, or psychiatric records or records relating to any institutionalization of the applicant, and an affirmative request that a person having custody of any of these records provide it or information concerning it to the Department.
The application also requires an affirmation whether the applicant has failed a drug test for a drug for which the applicant did not have a prescription within the previous year, and if so, the provider of the test, the specific substance involved, and the date of the test.
A full set of fingerprints is also required.
The background check includes a search with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and all available state and local criminal history record information files, including records of juvenile adjudications; records including domestic violence restraining and protective orders and filed of the Department of Human Services relating to mental health and developmental disabilities.
Licenses are renewable every 5 years, and requires receipt of a completed renewal application and 3 hours of training along with everything required by the initial application with the exception of fingerprints.
Among the standard places where conceal carry is prohibited, (government buildings, schools, daycare centers, etc.), Illinois also prohibits firearms on any bus, train, or form of transportation paid for in whole or in part with public funds, and any building, real property, and parking area under the control of a public transportation facility paid for in whole or in part with public funds.
Any building, real property, and parking area under the control of an establishment that serves alcohol on its premises, if more than 50% of the establishment’s gross receipts within the prior 3 months is from the sale of alcohol. The owner of an establishment who knowingly fails to prohibit concealed firearms on its premises is subject to a penalty.
Any public gathering or special event conducted on property open to the public that requires the issuance of a permit from the unit of local government.
Any stadium, arena, or the real property or parking area under the control of a stadium, arena, or any collegiate or professional sporting event.
Any building, real property, or parking area under the control of a public library; an airport; amusement park, zoo or museum.
A licensee shall not carry a concealed firearm while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or combination of compounds, or any combination thereof.
The law also has detailed requirements for carrying in a vehicle when it is parked. It has been reported that the mandatory training classes and shooting range time can cost more than $500. Illinois also requires certification of those conducting the classes.
There is more, and citizens in Illinois continue to fight, some for more leniency so they can carry guns in restricted places, and some for businesses to restrict guns in their establishments.