The justices will not review a Seventh Circuit decision that upheld key parts of the Carrying a Concealed Weapon law.
In 2012, Illinois became the last state in the Union to enact a CCW law, and gun owners almost immediately attacked the provision in court. Initially, some would-be licensees complained that the state denied their applications with practically no explanation. In response, the state police, and later state lawmakers, changed the rules to require more detailed explanations in denial cases. In fact, one of the gun owners who sued withdrew his lawsuit, and after he addressed the deficiencies noted in the denial, officials later approved his application. A second lawsuit insisted that the new procedure, while an improvement, still violated due process. However, the Seventh Circuit did not agree, and apparently neither did the Supreme Court.
Despite the decisions, gun owners may be contemplating another lawsuit based on extended processing times.
Many jurisdictions are “may issue” states, which basically means that law enforcement has a veto power in licensure matters. However, Illinois is a “shall issue” state, and applicants who meet the following qualifications can carry some kinds of firearms in Illinois:
- 21 or over,
- Valid Firearm Owner Identification Card,
- No convictions for any violent crimes,
- Maximum one conviction for DUI or other drug/alcohol offenses,
- No history of alcohol/drug abuse
- Completed training class,
- Full written application, and
- The licensee “does not pose a danger to himself, herself, or others, or a threat to public safety.”
That last provision is the only subjective requirement, and under the law, the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board operates under few constraints.
It conducts business behind closed doors and is not subject to the Open Meetings Act or the Freedom of Information Act. In many cases, and many potential licensees have complained about this provision, the seven members have a nearly unlimited amount of time to consider applications. Finally, if a majority of CCLRB members determine by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) “that the applicant poses a danger to himself or herself or others, or is a threat to public safety, then the CCLRB shall affirm the objection of the law enforcement agency or the Department and shall notify the Department that the applicant is ineligible for a license.”
The CCLRB may apparently consider any factors it deems relevant in making this decision because there are no factors listed.
If the CCLRB issues a subjective denial, the applicant may normally appeal to the Director of the Illinois State Police. Successful appeals are usually based on a lack of evidence or an abuse of discretion because a law enforcement body is unlikely to examine the same evidence that the CCLRB reviewed and reach a different conclusion. Some would-be licensees can appeal directly to the circuit court.
Basically the same process is available to appeal FOID denials. Strict time deadlines apply in these types of cases.
Even though these denials are subjective, there must be actual evidence in the record, such as documented evidence of ongoing serious mental health issues or a criminal record somewhat outside the lookback period, to support the CCLRB’s conclusion.
Contact Assertive Attorneys
The way the law is written, filing a CCW application could only be the first step in a long process. For a confidential consultation with an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson.
(image courtesy of Tim Trad)