Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shall Issue Concealed Carry Bill Introduced In Illinois

Illinois State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) introduced HB997 - the Family and Personal Protection Act - yesterday. This bill would, if passed, would bring shall-issue concealed carry to Illinois.

From the bill's synopsis:
Creates the Family and Personal Protection Act. Provides that the Department of State Police shall issue a license to a person to: (1) carry a loaded or unloaded handgun on or about his or her person, concealed or otherwise; (2) keep or carry a loaded or unloaded handgun on or about his or her person when in a vehicle; and (3) keep a loaded or unloaded handgun openly or concealed in a vehicle. Prohibits the carrying of the handgun in certain locations. Provides that the license shall be issued by the Department of State Police within 30 days of receipt of a completed application and shall be valid throughout the State for a period of 5 years from the date of issuance. Provides for renewal of licenses. Establishes qualifications for licensees, certified firearms instructors, and instructor trainers. Provides for home rule preemption. Provides that the provisions of the Act are severable. Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Prohibits from inspection and copying information about applications for licenses to carry a handgun and about license holders contained in the database created by the Family and Personal Protection Act, except as authorized by that Act. Amends the State Finance Act and the Criminal Code of 2012 to make conforming changes. Effective immediately.
Having read the bill in its entirety, let me highlight key components of the bill.

First and foremost, this bill provides for Shall-Issue concealed carry permits. The permit would allowed a permit holder to (a) carry a firearm, loaded or unloaded, "concealed or otherwise", on his or her person; (b) on his or her person in a motor vehicle; or (c) in a vehicle either openly or concealed while not on the person. Concealed is defined by the law to mean "completely or mostly concealed". This should take care of the issue of incidental exposure or printing. Moreover, as I read "concealed or otherwise", I think a strong argument could be made that this would make open carry permissible with a CCW.

The Illinois State Police will be in charge of issuing the permit. The fee is $25 to apply with a 30-day turnaround time. As I noted above, the permit is shall-issue. However, a sheriff or municipal chief law enforcement officer can object in writing to the issuance of a permit to an individual especially if they feel the person would be a danger to him or herself or others. The burden of proof is upon the state to prove this and the applicant has a right to know. Applicants consent to a complete background check including psych records and juvenile court records. Applicants "may" be requested to provide fingerprints with the cost to the applicant of no more than $15.

Illinois residents with a current out-of-state carry permit would be allowed to carry concealed for up to 180 days after enactment. After that, they would be required to have an Illinois CCW.

Section 25 of the bill sets the qualifications:
  • Age 21 or more
  • Valid FOID card if a resident
  • Not prohibited by either state or Federal law from possessing a firearm
  • Not under pending arrest warrant that would be a disqualifying offense
  • Not a chronic abuser of alcohol in prior 3 years as evidence by either (a) residential or court-ordered detox or treatment for alcohol abuse or (b) 2 or more DUIs.
  • Has completed approved training and education component
The state - and only the state - will keep a database of all permit holders. No local law enforcement agency or local government may keep their own database. Violations of this incur a $5,000 per record punitive fine. The state database would be available to all law enforcement agencies but individual records would not be subject to freedom of information requests. The only public data provided from this database would be statistics showing permits by county, age, gender, or race.

Permit renewals would cost $25 and require a shooting requalification. This could be satisfied by either shooting in a competition such as IDPA or USPSA within six months of renewal or by showing evidence of a range exercise with a certified instructor.

The bill does provide for non-resident permits and waives the FOID card requirement. It would require a notarized statement from the home state that the person is eligible under state and Federal law to possess a firearm. More importantly, the bill provides for reciprocity with other states that recognize the Illinois permit and that have substantially similar requirements to that of Illinois.

The bill does have a substantial list of restricted areas which would apply to where a permit holder could carry concealed. There are exceptions in some of these areas if consent is given or if the holder is a judge or a State's Attorney.
  • Any building under control of the Illinois General Assembly including district offices. Members could carry concealed in their district offices.
  • Courthouses
  • Meeting places of local governments
  • Bars but not restaurants that merely serve alcohol
  • Airport secure areas
  • Area prohibited by Federal law
  • K-12 schools without consent
  • Child care facilities without consent
  • Casino
  • Gated areas of amusement parks
  • Stadiums and other sports venues
  • Colleges and universities without consent
  • Public libraries without consent
  • Police stations and sheriff's offices without consent
  • Prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities
Businesses would be allowed to post against concealed carry and the bill does specify the posting requirements. Local governments and school boards may prohibit by a majority vote concealed carry in any building controlled by them. However, they cannot prohibit carry in public housing, rest stops, public right of ways, or parking facilities. State buildings under the control of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, or Treasures would be allowed to be posted against concealed carry.

Permit holders would be required to disclose if carrying as soon as possible if stopped by law enforcement officers. The bill prohibits carrying under the influence which is defined as 0.08 blood alcohol or higher.

The training requirements can be fulfilled by passing the NRA Basic Pistol course, the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course, the NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home course, or another 4 hour course approved by the State Police. In addition, there is a live fire component that also must be passed. A person must fire at least 30 rounds with a 70% hit score of a B-21 silhouette or similar. Of these 30 rounds, the bill specifies 20 rounds at 7 yards and 10 rounds at 15 yards. The fees for training are allowed to be set by the instructor. Instructors can be anyone who is an NRA certified instructor, a retired law enforcement officer who has passed the qualifications to carry, an active or retired military member with a combat MOS, or a person certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training State Board.

Finally, and second only in importance to the bill mandating Shall-Issue carry permits, the bill contains a very strong state preemption clause. It prohibits any home rule unit from regulating the possession, carrying, or transportion of firearms. The only exception is that local governments can post buildings owned by them against carry. In addition, no home rule unit can regulate the number of handguns owned or require the registration possessed by a person under the act. Violation of Section 95 brings a $10,000 per day per individual affected punitive fine.

This is a very strong shall-issue law with reasonable costs and reasonable training requirements. The prohibited areas are similar to many other shall-issue states. The preemption clause is a critical component of this bill as it prevents the City of Chicago from setting their own draconian regulations. You can expect that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago legislators under his sway will fight this part of the bill tooth and nail. In conclusion, I think Rep. Brandon Phelps - a Democrat, mind you - should be congratulated for drafting and introducing a good bill. For the sake of the people of the State of Illinois, I hope it passes.


  1. As a director of a public library, I can not agree to exempt public libraries from the legality of a CCW allowance.

    Unless a government facility has armed guards at all times to provide reasonable public safety, CCW should be allowed.

    Prohibiting the public from CCW is a sensitive, life or death matter, not subject to the idiotic concept of "Gun-Free Zones", where everyone's life is in danger.

    1. @Anon: Here is the full wording from Sec. 70(a)(14) about libraries: "A public library building without the written consent of the library's governing body. The governing body shall inform the appropriate law enforcement agency of that consent."

      I agree with you on this. However, I see Rep. Phelps as treading a fine line between what is ideal and what can be passed in Illinois given the composition of the General Assembly. The mere concept of Shall-Issue has got to have the gun prohibitionists already riled up.

    2. The library section was added last year to a carry bill of the same name. HB148 I think.

      I'm pretty sure they added it to garner support from a law enforcement group; The Illinois Police Chiefs association, if memory serves.

  2. I hope it fails.

    Illinois is on the 180 day clock. If no legislation passes, Illinois becomes Wyoming.

    Fail, baby, fail.

    1. Nope, it won't be the free for all you envision, keep dreaming. Municipalities like Chicago and the entire surrounding area as well as random towns and counties all over the state will pass their own laws and thus make IL a patchwork of carry laws that differ as you walk down the sidewalk, or drive down the street. Walk down the sidewalk and step into the wrong town with a gun and you go from legal to spending time behind bars for violating that towns carry law. Same with driving your car down the road cross a municipal boundary and you can go from legal to criminal in an instant. A law with preemption is a vital necessity in IL to avoid this.


  3. Thanks, Anonymous. We like you, too.

    Look, if THEY hold out past the deadline, we'll go get an order from the 7th Circuit that'll leave a mark. In that scenario, yes, ALL the power and momentum shifts to our side. But it's unlikely we could then stop them from passing some kind of carry bill.

    If WE hold out deliberately to force the state past the deadline, the most likely result would be our coalition falling apart, and rightly so--we went to court, we won, and then we drag our feet because we think we can game the courts that way? Even many legislators we can now consider reliable would desert us.

    We're much better off passing a strong shall-issue bill with preemption, and this bill fits those orders. This is the same bill we tried to get passed the last two years (and came within just a few votes of sending to the Governor) with some changes made, all of which reflect the fact that we now have more leverage and less need to negotiate. This bill is better for gun owners in several ways.

    1. I can understand hoping it will fail after the legislators fight tooth and nail to get this, or something as good as this, passed. In which case, the legislators would have made a good-faith effort to get concealed carry, and they still have Constitutional Carry!

      Although things would get messy if the bill (or something like it) fails, it's kindof fun to see that the Illinois gun-banners are in a "darned if you do, darned if you don't" position, for a change...

  4. The first "Anonymous" is on the side of pro-carry. You read what he/she said incorrectly. He/She wants it to fail because if it does, and the 180-day clock runs out on the stay, we have (supposedly) constitutional, permit-less carry. Not saying I agree with it that that would be the outcome, for there are a few scenarios that could take place, but am just trying to clarify what I believe he/she was trying to say.

  5. I think pressing the deadline has benefits, it just depends on how it's finessed.

  6. I know the situation in Illinois & relatively this is better than what the situation has been.

    But I strongly disagree that ANY fee or condition in order to exercise a fundamental, natural Right could be considered "reasonable".

    Yes, I know it's cheaper than a lot of states, but when the pro-gun side starts accepting impositions as a matter of political expediency, then we hurt our long game in exchange for a quick win in the short game.

    Another idea - has anyone considered pushing a stand alone pre-emption law? That way when the clock runs out you won't have the alleged patchwork of laws from town to town. & I know of few state legislatures that aren't arrogant enough to claim only they can make laws to the exclusion of political subdivisions, so I'd see that as an easy sell.

    I have a great amount of sympathy for folks in Illinois, & I really do understand the idea that anything is better than what they've had to put up with, but I'd counsel to not view "shall issue" as a holy grail - use "shall issue" to work towards a Constitutional carry system. Not easy, especially there, but it's better to strive for recognition of Rights than settle for a privilege based system.

  7. Not bad except for the psych records. What do they mean by psych records? I was daignosed with ADD as a kid, will that get held against me? Or they they mean if you were institutionalized by a court of law? Otherwise, pretty much the same restrictions most states have. I wonder if they will consider firearms traning given by other states as an approved course (not including the live fire). I have CCW permits from Florida, Utah, and Arizona having attended the "Legal Heat" class at Cabela's. I don't want to have to pay for another 4 hour course to hear the same thing all over again.

    One fear is that the local gun ranges will charge out the nose fees for the qualification shoot. One local range is $40/hour and $120 per FFL transfer. I can imagine them charging $100 plus an hour's range time to watch me shoot 30 rounds. There are not that many ranges in the Chicago suburbs and econ 101 dictates that monopolies lead to sky high prices.

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  9. Look to Arizona, Wyoming, and Alaska. Get a good law and then improve it over time. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Alaska went from effectively no concealed carry since statehood, to a bill much like this in '94, to steady improvements year by year, to being the first state since Vermont (which got it by court ruling a century ago) to have Constitutional Carry in 2004.

    Play smart and win long term. Try for the whole schmear at once and youll end up with piecemeal BS forever.

  10. Here's the poison pill: "Provides for home rule preemption." That means Chicago slaves will remain DISARMED if they wish to comply with the law.

    1. Actually, the preemption is a GOOD thing. It means Chicago can't make up rules on their own beyond what the law allows.

      Section 95. Preemption. It is declared to be the policy of
      this State that it is an exclusive power and function of the
      State to regulate the possession, carrying, and transportation
      of handguns and the issuance of licenses to carry a concealed
      firearm. Except as provided in subsection (b) of Section 70, a
      home rule unit shall not regulate the possession, carrying, or
      transportation of handguns. A home rule unit shall not regulate
      the number of handguns or require registration of handguns
      possessed by a person licensed under this Act. This Section is
      a denial of home rule powers and functions under subsection (i)
      of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution. Any
      unit of local government that violates this Section shall be
      liable for all costs, fees, and damages to anyone impacted by
      any rule or ordinance. In addition to any other awards of fees,
      damages, or penalties, the unit of local government shall also
      be liable for not less than $10,000 per incident per day in
      punitive damages to each individual affected.

  11. This must fail, as written. Duty to inform and FOID must both be abolished.

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