Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SAF Files Suit Against Illinois Over CCW Residency Requirements

The Second Amendment Foundation, Illinois Carry, and the Illinois State Rifle Association filed suit today against the state of Illinois in US District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The suit was filed on behalf of 10 individual plaintiffs who, because of their state of residence, are not eligible to apply for a non-resident Illinois concealed carry license. The Illinois State Police have interpreted the statutes regarding non-resident licenses so narrowly that it only applies to residents of four states. Those states are Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia.

This isn't an abstract restriction to me. Paul Lathrop, the host of the Polite Society Podcast, is a resident of South Dakota. His work often takes him to and through Illinois. He had signed up to take the Illinois CCW class but was forced to cancel at the last moment due to this interpretation.

Illinois attorney David Sigale is representing the plaintiffs. He has handled a number of cases for the Second Amendment Society and was second chair in the McDonald case.

The case is entitled Culp et al v. Madigan et al. The lead plaintiff is Kevin Culp who is a resident of Pennsylvania. He is an Air Force colonel stationed on orders at Scott Air Force Base in O'Fallon, Illinois and is the holder of a Pennsylvania carry license. Col. Culp also is certified as a NRA Basic Pistol Instructor.

Below is the release from the Second Amendment Foundation on this case.
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Illinois, challenging that state’s concealed carry statute that restricts otherwise qualified non-residents the rights and privileges of carrying concealed firearms based solely on their state of residence.

Joining SAF in this legal action are the Illinois State Rifle Association, Illinois Carry, Inc., and ten individual plaintiffs, all residing in other states and who are licensed to carry in those states. Under the restrictive Illinois statute, only residents from states with “substantially similar” requirements to obtain a carry license are allowed to apply for non-resident licenses.

Only four states currently qualify under that provision. They are Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia. None of the individual plaintiffs reside in those states.

According to SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, this situation is not simply unfair, it is untenable and we believe unconstitutional.

“Our plaintiffs have qualified for carry permits or licenses in their own states,” Gottlieb said, “which means they have gone through background checks and other requirements that show they are responsible, law-abiding citizens. Yet, because of the current Illinois statute, their self-defense rights are suspended immediately after they cross the Illinois state line.”

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau and Jessica Trame, bureau chief of the State Police Firearms Service Bureau. Plaintiffs are represented by attorney David Sigale of Glen Ellyn, Ill.

“This lawsuit,” said Sigale, “is brought because it is unfair that otherwise qualified people from states outside Illinois, who work and travel in Illinois are barred from obtaining means to defend themselves in public solely based on their state of residence. We expect to correct that.”

“We’re asking the federal court for a declaratory judgment on equal protection and due process constitutional grounds,” Gottlieb stated. “It makes no sense at all for Illinois to enforce such a narrowly-defined law that seems to recognize the rights of some non-residents, while dismissing the rights of most other non-residents. We can’t allow that kind of discriminatory situation to stand.”

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