Disappointed With Newly Proposed Illinois Concealed Carry Bill


January 15, 2013, 12:29 PM
Representative David Reis (R) has filed the first concealed carry bill of the new session in Illinois. The bill is the Family and Personal Protection Act (House Bill 154).

As a background, the concealed carry bill from the last session that advanced the farthest was a highly-negotiated bill with tons of compromise on the part of gun supporters, which was seen as necessary to get the super-majority of votes required to pass a concealed carry bill. However, now that the 7th Circuit ruled that the Illinois ban on carrying weapons in public is unconstitutional, the gun supporters found themselves holding all the cards. Thus, I was expecting a new concealed carry bill with no compromise in the new session (at least with the first iteration of the bill).

Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed when I reviewed the newly proposed concealed carry bill. Keep in mind this is what was proposed by a Republican, not a centrist Democrat. It is virtually unchanged from the prior bill that was full of compromises.

In a previous post, I described the prior version of the bill and included my thoughts on its problems. I'm copying and pasting those descriptions of the prior bill here with additional comments embedded (in blue font) by me where the new law has changed (very few instances).

I re-reviewed HB148 today to refresh my memory on the various conditions and limitations contained in it. What once seemed palatable when it was "better than nothing" and our only hope of concealed carry, now seems ridiculously burdensome and unreasonable.

Here's just a partial list of the problems in the current bill:

* It's limited to handguns only. People should have the right to carry other weapons as well, such as a knife. Doesn't make sense that it should be illegal for a person to choose a less lethal alternative. [No change in HB154]

* It purports to be a "shall issue" statute, but there are provisions in the bill that seem to convert the "shall issue" nature of the bill into a "may issue." For instance, in Section 20(e), it states that "Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Department may consider any objection or recommendation made by the sheriff and may determine the applicant is ineligible based solely on those objections." In other words, even if an applicant satisfies all of the statutory prerequisites, the application can still be denied if their local sheriff objects. [No change in HB154]

* I don't like the co-existance of FOID and a concealed carry bill, because they are largely duplicative. You go through the whole background check and application process to get a FOID card, and then you have to be put through the same wringer again to get a CC license. The entire gun scheme in Illinois needs to be harmonized. In my own opinion, having a FOID card should be completely sufficient to be allowed to carry. But that probably isn't going to happen, so instead, how about having FOID cards that indicate somewhere on the card whether the holder is allowed to concealed carry in public. [No change in HB154]

* Cut out the whole Sheriff layer of the application process. The FOID application process takes way too long with just the State Police to deal with. Adding in the Sheriff's office will only further delay the process and it is completely unnecessary and drives up the cost and administrative hassle. [No change in HB154]

* The $100 application fee is way too high. It should cost $10 at most. The right to carry is a fundamental, constitutional right -- not simply a privilege like a driver's license. Similarly, a $50 renewal fee is ridiculous. [The application fee has been reduced to $65 with a $25 renewal fee. So this has improved but still too high in my opinion.]

* The license only lasts 5 years. Why does a FOID card last 10 years but a CC license only lasts 5 years? Makes no sense. Should last for 10 years at least, especially if there are going to be excessive fees. [No change in HB154]

* One of the requirements for getting the license is that the applicant not have a misdemeanor in the past 10 years involving the use, possession or distribution of a controlled substance or cannabis. This goes too far. A simple possession of pot misdemeanor should not disqualify a person from holding a license for the next 10 years. This has been removed in HB154.

* The bill requires an applicant to sign a "waiver of privacy and confidentiality rights and privileges enjoyed by the applicant under all federal and State laws, including those governing access to juvenile court, criminal justice, psychological or psychiatric records, or records relating to the applicant's history of institutionalization, and an affirmative request that any person having custody of any such record provide it or information concerning it to the Department." This is ridiculous. You shouldn't have to sign away your constitutional right to privacy to excercise a different constitutional right. [No change in HB154]

* Have to submit a full set of fingerprints with the application. Of course, this increases the cost of application by up to another $25 on top of the $100 fee and whatever it costs for the training and education classes. [No change in HB154]

* The Department has to establish a searchable database available to a whole host of people containing just about every private piece of information existing about every applicant, including everything contained in the applications. This is totally overboard. At most, the Department should be allowed to keep a list of current license holders, and if local law enforcement or a judge wants to know if a person is licensed they should submit a request for that information with justification for why they need to know. This is another example of the State trying to get people to give up all their privacy rights in exchange for the right to carry. No way. [No change in HB154]

* A license holder is required to report a change of address within 30 days and must report a lost or stolen license within 30 days. [Increased to 60 days in HB154]

* Speaking of change of address, if a license holder changes their address, they have to pay another $25 fee and issue all sorts of new information including a new photograph just to get a new card with the new address on it. [No change in HB154]

* If the license is lost or stolen, a person has to get a police report in order to get a new license. [No change in HB154]

* The list of places where you can't carry is way too broad. [Almost identical in HB154]

* You cannot carry in "any establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises if less than 50% of its annual gross income comes from the sale of food." How the hell is a person supposed to know the annual gross incomes of an establishment? There are tons of bars/restaurants where patrons won't be able to figure this out. The prohibited locations are supposed to put up a sign saying that guns aren't allowed, but if they fail to put up the sign, it doesn't excuse you from breaking the law by carrying a gun in that location. [No change in HB154]

* The bill requires a license holder to "immediately disclose" to a police officer if they are carrying a firearm. Failure to do this is a Class B Misdemeanor. I don't mind the separate provision that requires license holders to inform police officers when asked, but an "immediate disclosure" law is just a trap to ensare innocent victims. It seems to me that such immediate disclosure would simply spook an officer. If an officer stopped a car for a simple speeding ticket and the officer approached the driver who immediately shouts, "I've got a gun!" that would be unsettling. [Immediate disclosure is still required, but an unintentional violation is now only a petty offense. A willful violation is still a Class B Misdemeanor.]

* The training/education requirements are too excessive. [The class room education requirements have been reduced from 8 hours to 4 hours, but otherwise, the training requirements are very similar.]

So, we get a historic decision from a federal appeals court finding that the current Illinois restriction on carrying weapons is unconstitutional, and our pro-gun legislators react by essentially just reducing the application fee from $100 to $65 and reducing classroom training from 8 to 4 hours. And this is our opening bid!! As I state in the title, I am hugely disappointed. Is this just laziness on the part of our legislators to copy and past the old bill so that they don't have to do any more work coming up with a different bill? If that is the case, I will gladly donate my time to author a much better alternative.

I really hope a more palatble alternative is filed, but I fear that the anti-gun Madigan will only allow this more restrictive alternative to ever come up for a vote.

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January 15, 2013, 01:46 PM
You could always move to New York....

January 15, 2013, 03:03 PM
Very good breakdown. I'll be using this post as a reference when writing to my reps. It needs cleaned up for sure.

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January 15, 2013, 03:36 PM
One of the "features" of the proposed bill that I did not mention in the original post is that a college can prohibit a licensee from carrying a concealed weapon anywhere on the college campus. But, if the college does prohibit carrying on campus, it is civilly liable to a licensee that is injured on campus by the criminal act of another. A business that consents to concealed carry on the premises is immune from all liability based on that consent.

I have a lot of respect for private property rights, so I've never been a proponent of forcing private business owners to allow people into their establishments that are carrying weapons. But, I do like putting businesses that are open to the public in a situation where they can prohibit guns but must guarantee the safety of visitors from crime, or allow guns and be free of any possible liability. The smart financial decision in that scenario is to allow carrying.

Birch Knoll
January 15, 2013, 04:25 PM
What did you expect from a state which is only cobbling together a CCW law because a court ordered them to do so? They'll create the most restrictive law that they think might pass review.

January 15, 2013, 05:04 PM
any reciprocity? is this good in chicago?

January 15, 2013, 06:25 PM
any reciprocity? is this good in chicago?
No reciprocity. There are provisions for non-Illinois residents to obtain a license to carry in Illinois, but those non-residents pretty much have to go through the same process and meet the same requirements as Illinois residents.

This concealed carry bill would also apply in Chicago and would prevent Chicago from enacting any of its own laws regulating the carrying of handguns.

January 15, 2013, 06:36 PM
This is(was) one of the first of many carry bills that will come up in the next couple months.
It is not worth the paper it is printed on. It isn't going anywhere.

January 15, 2013, 06:39 PM
You DON'T want mandatory notification of cops.

Google the name "Daniel Harless" for the reason why.

We have mandatory notification in Ohio and the police have a history of abusing it. We're working to get that taken away from them since they can't be trusted with it.

January 15, 2013, 07:09 PM
If you happen to contact any IL State reps about the contents of a proposed carry bill, and want to mention the application fee, it may be helpful to compare the costs of other Illinois services:
Cost to register to vote in Illinois: $0
Cost to obtain driver's license in Illinois: Variable based on age ($0 to $30)
Cost to obtain ID card in Illinois: Variable based on age ($10 to $20)
Cost to obtain Illinois FOID: $10
Cost to obtain Illinois concealed carry license: ???

A driver's license, unlike carrying, is not a constitutional right and the most the State charges to obtain a driver's license is $30. On the other hand, there is no charge to register to vote, which like carrying is a constitutional right. I personally believe that there should be no charge to exercise a fundamental constitutional right, but if a charge is put in place, under no circumstances should it be more than what is charged for mere privileges such as obtaining a driver's license.

January 15, 2013, 07:21 PM
Look at NM if you want restrictions and high cost, even though a shall issue state it is stupid and should change.

January 15, 2013, 07:46 PM
If you can add reciprocity, that would be great. That way if nothing else I can legally take a handgun to Chicago city limits and have it in my hotel room.

January 15, 2013, 07:53 PM
Other than the FOID card and lack of reciprocity, most of the provisions look similar to those in North Carolina.

Push for improvements in the bill and we might be able to emulate you; wouldn't that be a nice change.

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