Gun rights victory: Court strikes down Illinois concealed carry ban

concealed carry Illinois

The State of Illinois marks its first full year of allowing concealed carry permits. Prior to the 2013 enactment of a federally mandated law, Illinois was the last state in the union to prohibit concealed carrying of firearms in public. Ruled as unconstitutional by a Chicago-based federal appellate court, the state moved to enact laws to support the Second Amendment of its citizens.

According to the Chicago Tribune and Associated Press, over 91,000 applications were logged by the end of 2014. Of the 91,000 applications for concealed carrying permits, 2,300 were denied and 175 were revoked after being granted. The Chicago Daily Herald noted that these applications fell short of initial expectations. However, as Illinois State Police Sergeant Jose DeJesus commented for the newspaper that Illinois expected to see 4,000 applications per month in the upcoming 2015 year.

Requirements for Illinois Concealed Carry Permit

Since enacting the federally mandated Firearm Concealed Carry Act, over objections of outgoing Governor Pat Quinn, police have yet to see any correlation between criminal firearm activity and the issuance of concealed carry permits. Does this begin to unravel the argument that concealed carrying somehow relates to gun crime?

However, the restrictions still imposed upon those applying for a concealed carrying permit are extensive. Illinois is now considered a “Shall Issue” state. That means, should an applicant meet all applicable conditions, the state must grant him or her a concealed carry permit. This has resulted in fewer than 2.8% of all applications to be rejected.

At the time of this article, the following conditions have to be met to gain a concealed carry permit in the state of Illinois:

Firearm Owner's Identification Card (FOID)

This must be procured from the Illinois State police but is also a “shall issue” item. State police engage in a criminal background investigation to determine if the applicant has been convicted of a felony, subject to a restraining order, or has committed assault and battery. They also check if the applicant was ever admitted as a patient to a mental institution, ruled mentally defective or an illegal immigrant. On the surface, it looks like any FBI background check conducted during a purchase of a firearm almost anywhere in the United States. Once this card is in hand, the Illinois resident can then present it to a licensed gun dealer to purchase a firearm.

Side-note: In 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that non-residents who are legally able to possess a firearm in their home state do not need to have an FOID card. Good news for those visiting and passing through for a gun show.

16 Hour Training Course

All concealed carry permit applicants are obliged to complete a minimum of sixteen hours of firearm handling. This may include familiarization with both inside the waistband (IWB) holsters and outside the waistband (OWB) holster carrying techniques as well as firearm safety.

While the new “Shall Issue” mandate is in effect, Illinois State Police still have the ability to disqualify an applicant based upon a “preponderance of evidence” that the person is a danger to himself or others. The basis of these objections is still being somewhat debated in a legal court of law but State Police are expected to provide at least some indication of why they decline.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Still an Issue

Since enacting a concealed carry program in their state, Illinois has enjoyed a good deal of reciprocity with neighboring states. Resident concealed carry permit holders may keep their firearm on them throughout much of the Midwest without fear of incrimination. However, neighbors such as Ohio are not honored – forcing many concealed carry permit holders located in the Midwest to consult with Illinois' overly restrictive non-residential concealed carry permit rules.

Do you feel Illinois is moving in the right direction? Was it about time or should they have imposed stricter conditions on concealed carry permit holders? Discuss in the comments below.


About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.