State concealed carry bill awaits governor’s signature

By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor

Both the Illinois House and Illinois Senate approved a measure May 31 that would allow for concealed carry of weapons in Illinois. However, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) have made clear the governor is unlikely to sign the bill anytime soon.

June 3, Madigan filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit seeking a 30-day stay of its mandate to enact a new law governing the carrying of handguns in public.

The court previously set a 180-day deadline for the Illinois legislature to comply with its order. Madigan’s motion requests an additional 30 days, or until July 9, to allow the governor to review the recently passed legislation before the court’s stay expires.

The current stay of the court’s mandate expires in less than one week, which significantly shortens the time set in the state Constitution to allow the governor to review legislation,” Madigan said. “This request for an additional 30 days would allow the governor a reasonable amount of time to fulfill his state constitutional duties. Further, if granted, this additional time would help prevent a situation in which there is no state law in place governing the carrying of handguns in public, which the court sought to avoid in setting the original stay.”

The House voted 89-28 and the Senate voted 45-12 (with one “present” vote from state Rep. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago) in favor of House Bill 183, which would create the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. The votes came on the final day of the spring legislative session.

Quinn has previously threatened to veto attempts by lawmakers to pass concealed carry laws. However, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 11, 2012, that the state’s ban on carrying a weapon in public was unconstitutional. Illinois is the only state in the nation to not have some form of concealed carry law.

The court gave 180 days to “allow the Illinois legislature to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.”

Jan. 8, Madigan filed a petition for rehearing before the full U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in lawsuits challenging the Illinois laws that prevent the carrying of ready-to-use firearms in public.

The lawsuits were brought against the state by Michael Moore, Mary E. Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association alleging Illinois’ restrictions on the carrying of ready-to-use weapons in public violates their Second Amendment rights.

The laws had previously been upheld by two separate federal district courts in Illinois. Madigan’s petition did not affect the 180-day deadline set by the appeals court.

With regard to the passing of H.B. 183, State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford/Belvidere, said: “As long as the governor doesn’t delay, we finally have concealed carry coming to Illinois. This action will pave the way for the greater safety in our communities and will allow for law-abiding citizens to defend their families and their property from violent criminals. We can now join the other 49 states that already have responsible concealed carry laws.”

The following area officials voted in favor of H.B. 183: state Reps. John Cabello (R-Machesney Park), Jim Sacia (R-Freeport) and Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford/Belvidere), and state Sens. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and Dave Syverson (R-Rockford). State Rep. Chuck Jefferson (D-Rockford) voted against the measure.

Following is the full text of H.B. 183:

Creates the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Allows residents and non-residents who meet specified qualifications to apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm in this State. The license is valid for 5 years and the license fee is $150 for a resident and $300 for a non-resident. Allows any law enforcement agency to object to a license applicant based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety. Allows the Department of State Police to object to a license applicant with 5 or more arrests for any reason or 3 or more gang-related arrests within the 7 years preceding the date of application. These objections are reviewed by a Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board composed of 7 members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board determines by a preponderance of the evidence whether the applicant is eligible or ineligible for a license. Prohibits a licensee from carrying a concealed handgun into certain specified locations. Requires the Department of State Police to approve a 16 hour training course for new license applicants and 3 hour course for license renewal, and to certify course instructors. Establishes training course requirements. Creates a task force to develop a plan by March 1, 2014 to allow for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card and concealed carry license designation to appear on a person’s Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card. Preempts home rule on the regulation, licensing, possession, registration, and transportation of concealed handguns as covered by the Act. Creates the School Administrator Reporting of Mental Health Clear and Present Danger Determinations Law. Requires the principal of a public elementary or secondary school, or his or her designee, and the chief administrative officer of a private elementary or secondary school or a public or private community college, college, or university, or his or her designee, to report to the Department of Human Services when a student is determined to pose a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others within 24 hours of the determination. Amends the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code to make conforming changes and require notification to the Department of State Police Firearm Owners Identification Card Office no later than 7 days after entry of a court order for an adjudication as a mentally disabled or disabled person. Requires reporting a developmental disability or clear and present danger determination within 24 hours of the determination to the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Human Services must notify the Department of State Police. Firearms in the possession of a person adjudicated as a mentally disabled or disabled person must be ordered by the court to deliver the firearms to a person with a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card for safekeeping. The adjudicated person shall also be ordered to surrender his or her Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (FOID). Defines “addicted to narcotics” for purposes of disqualifying a person for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Changes the disqualification for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card as a “mental defective” to “mentally disabled”. Adds to the definition of “mentally disabled” an adjudication as a disabled person, a finding of guilty but mentally ill, or a determination that a person is a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others. Defines “clear and present danger”. Preempts home rule on the regulation, licensing, possession, registration, and transportation of concealed handguns and ammunition for concealed handguns as covered by the FOID Act. Preempts home rule on the prohibition of possession or ownership of assault weapons unless the ordinance is enacted before, on, or within 10 days of the effective date of this Act and any amendments thereafter. Amends The Freedom of Information Act. Exempts from disclosure the names and information of persons who have applied for or received a concealed carry license and certain records under the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Amends the Open Meetings Act to close meetings and deliberations of the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board. Amends the Department of State Police Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois and the State Finance Act. Creates the State Police Firearm Services Fund for fee revenue from the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act and Firearm Concealed Carry Act. The Department of State Police may use the Fund for its lawful purposes, mandates, functions, and duties under the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act and Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Creates the Mental Health Reporting Fund for fee revenue from the Firearm Concealed Carry Act for the Department of State Police and the Department of Human Services for duties in collecting and reporting data on mental health records and ensuring firearm possession prohibitions related to mental health are enforced. Surplus money in the Fund may be used for mental health treatment programs. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 and other Acts to make conforming changes. Effective immediately.

Posted June 3, 2013 (updated June 4, 2013)

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