Illinois Churches and Concealed Carry

I am proud to have been invited to speak at a local suburban church, where they are considering posting the “No Legal Guns” sign on their doors. Due to church politics, that invitation has been delayed/cancelled, however if my speech could be of assistance to anyone else, please read below…

 

Thank you for taking a minute to hear me out. I think we all want the same thing, especially the Peace and Justice Committee. We all want to be safe, however there is a difference between feeling safe and actually being safe. Placing the “No Legal Guns” sign actually could potentially have the opposite effect of creating a safe environment to worship.

As well as the opposite effect of safety, I want to point out the irony of the decision to consider posting of the “No Legal Guns” sign. This is ironic because we wouldn’t even have the ability to legally carry concealed firearms in Illinois if not for Mary Shepard. Mary was attacked at her place of work in September of 2009, which happened to be a church. The attacker was charged with attempted murder due to the beating that Mary and two of her co-workers endured, with Mary herself suffering skull and facial fractures from the attack and untold mental trauma as well.

While you may be thinking this is a fluke case or random act of violence, it is not. According to a study by the Crime Prevention Institute in 2016, 98% of mass shootings actually happen in supposed “gun free zones”. More specifically, churches and other places of worship are common targets for violence. There is a national database of Christian church shootings and upon examining this database, we see during the years of 1980 and 2005 there were 139 Church shootings in the United States. This created 185 needless deaths, including children. This data does not include any other attacks, such as arson, bombings or attacks on non-Christian places of worship, such as the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin in 2012 or the attack on the Muslim mosque in Canada just a few weeks ago.

We also know that in December 2016, ISIS called for the attack of Christian churches in the United States. While people may think a gun free zone will keep them safe, it’s not likely ISIS or any other attacker intent on causing harm will obey the “No Legal Guns” sign or any sign for that matter.

While it’s not likely a criminal will obey the sign, who will? The law abiding gun owners who have gone about the legal process of getting trained, background checked, and carry their firearm in accordance with the law. The people who will obey the sign have no ill will and are members of your church.

Attackers will not disarm. The idea that an attacker will disarm is akin to the idea that a speeder will slow down based on the posted speed limit. The speed limit signs are spaced approximately 1,000-2,000 feet apart, yet are ignored by people who are intent on breaking the law: by speeding.

In other words, we are disarming the good guys but not the bad guys. How do we know they are the good guys? Well, a study in 2016 by the Crime Prevention Institute shows that those who are licensed to carry concealed firearms are actually THE most law abiding demographic in the entire United States, even more so than the police officers who are sworn to uphold the law.

In Illinois, to obtain a concealed carry license, the applicant has to achieve sixteen hours of training, which includes the safe operation of a firearm as well as having knowledge of gun laws. They must meet the following qualifications:

  • No warrants
  • Fewer than 2 DUIs
  • No violent convictions of any kind
  • No illegal drugs or narcotics
  • Not a danger to self or others
  • Zero felonies
  • Never been judged a mental defective
  • No mental health issues
  •  No history of domestic violence

This is a very high standard to meet! These are the people you will be keeping out of your church when you post the sign. So you know, these people are upstanding and honest citizens; the best of the best. What do you know about everyone else walking through those doors though?

There is also further data to support that people whom are legally carrying firearms have actually stopped attacks on churches. A law-abiding, legally-armed citizen stopped an attack on the New Life church in December of 2007, Freewill Baptist Church in March 2012, and the New Destiny Church in Aurora Colorado in 2012. This does not include the dozens of other mass shootings stopped by legally-armed civilians in non-church settings. Good guys with guns CAN stop bad guys with guns, and have proven to do so.

Remember, you’re not considering posting a “No Guns” sign, but a “No LEGAL Guns” sign. I hope that you will consider whom you will actually be keeping out of your building by posting these signs and hope that you actually consider whom you may actually be inviting.

Be good shepherds. Don’t invite the wolves into your flock.

Under current law, churches are not on the statutory gun free zone list, though in the past, bills have been submitted in the legislature to include places of worship. Those bills failed for the reasons mentioned above.

Any church with the “No Legal Guns” sign has posted voluntarily, or been forced through committee.

Major change to Illinois Non-Resident Concealed Carry Licensing Eligibility

Since Illinois passed the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act in 2013,  the words “substantially similar” have been tossed around and discussed. This is because within the Illinois law, any non resident’s state must have substantially similar gun laws and mental health reporting for that non-Illinois resident to be eligible for an Illinois Concealed Carry license.  Previous to the week of February 1st 2017, only Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia met this definition of substantially similar.

However the Week of February 1st, the Illinois State Police announced a change to their list of qualifying states eligible for the Illinois Concealed Carry License.  This list now only includes Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia as listed on the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau Website.  Only 54 non-resident licenses have been issued in Illinois since 2014.

It is unknown at this time what shall happen to those licensees who were previously issued licenses in Hawaii, New Mexico and South Carolina. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

SB3433 in Illinois – Concealed Carry Objections Bill Introduced

Today, May 23rd, 2016 the Concealed Carry Objections Bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Dale Righter.  This bill, based on the synopsis, would amend the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act stopping some of the abuses by law enforcement (Ie: Sheriff Tom Dart) who seems to object to every Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry application unreasonably possible. Over 92% of those objections are cleared by the Concealed Carry License Review Board, and this bill could help to reduce their work load. Continue reading SB3433 in Illinois – Concealed Carry Objections Bill Introduced

Right to Carry, not Right to be a Jackass

A recent study by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that people with concealed carry licenses are truly the MOST law abiding citizens in the United States. However in every bunch there are bad apples.

While Illinois Concealed Carry Licenses currently (September 14th, 2016) hover around 250,000 people licensed to carry a concealed firearm in Illinois, and revocations are around 250 as of August 2015, that is a rate of less than .001 or 0.1%! Of those 250 revoked, some of the people mentioned on this page have chosen to become revoked in a spectacular manner.

When you have gone through the proper training and when you have paid the proper fees to the government, and when you have receive your permission slip; you have the right to carry a concealed firearm.  While the laws of different states certainly will vary, no state that I am aware of gives you the right to be a jackass with your concealed carry license.

Continue reading Right to Carry, not Right to be a Jackass

Illinois Concealed Carry Denial Reversed by Lake County Judge

The Law Offices of J. D. Obenberger and Associates are pleased to announce the complete victory they obtained today (December 9, 2015) at the Waukegan Courthouse for Dr. Seth Ghantous, whose application for a CCL had been denied by the Illinois Concealed Carry License Review Board by a 4-2 vote on April 14, 2014. Judge Margaret Mullen determined that the Board’s denial had been “against the manifest weight of the evidence”, she reversed the Board’s denial, and she ordered the defendants to issued Dr. Ghantous a firearm concealed carry license. Those defendants are the ICCLRB [the Board), its members, the Illinois State Police, its Director, Jessica Trame as Bureau Chef of Firearm Services, and some John Does who were never specified. We extend our most hearty congratulations to Dr. Ghantous – and to all of the Illinois appicants on behalf of whom he has been fighting. We especially thank him for his confidence and trust during the long battles of the past 18 months.

 

We brought suit on May 19, 2014 in case 14 MR 0802 filed in the Circuit Court of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and the case was heard in the Lake County Courthouse. He prevailed in an Illinois state law proceeding under the Illinois Administrative Review Law on the merits, that is, on a determination of the facts of his application, and the court’s necessary inference that the Board had reached a conclusion against him without a basis in law and fact.

 

The Lake County lawsuit contained an “England Reservation” by which we reserved the resolution of all of his federal constitutional issues to the United States District Court, and pressed only the factual, state administrative law issues in state court.

 

On May 14, 2014, we also filed a complaint in federal court – in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – on behalf of Dr. Ghantous, under case number 14-cv-03544, which was assigned to Judge Leinenwebber, a case based on the Civil Rights Act, and alleging numerous violations of his civil rights in the denial. Ultimately Judge Leinenwebber dismissed that suit for reasons that we disagree with, and so we filed an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, case number 15-2931, on September 9, 2015. The 7th Circuit was advised that there was a pending state lawsuit that could possibly resolve the issues by granting Dr. Ghantous an order directing the issuance of his CCL, and so the 7th Circuit stayed procedings to await word from Waukegan that could make their work unnecessary.

 

The defendants have 30 days to file a notice of appeal. Should they do so, we will seek an order providing Dr. Ghantous with CCL privileges pending appeal, and we will urge the 7th Circuit to lift its stay so that we can proceed to challenge anew the many abuses inflicted upon applicants in violation of their constitutional rights, including not only the vague standard permitted for denials, the denial of a fundamental right on a mere preponderance of evidence, and an Illinois statute that appears to prevent any applicant from inspecting the evidence against him while his application and objection are pending before the Board.

 

We do not have any information suggesting that any other Illinois Circuit Judge has outright reversed the Concealed Carry Board’s decision on the merits before today’s decision, though we know of many decisions to remand denials to the Board for reconsideration, and we have prevailed for several of our clients in that manner before. In one prior case, the Board  decided to reverse itself without a remand, and without our request, at precisely the time a federal judge denied our client a motion to reconsider. Thus, he got the license without an order of court, without a remand, simply because we had convinced them that they had made an outrageous mistake. He apparently had been arrested of an incident in which he was released after arrest without charges because the prosecutor had concluded that he committed no crime. We secured a CCL for another client because, as age 18 he had been arrested for a notorious crime, but had been released hours later without charges because the actual perpetator had been identified by the victim. We would be delighted to learn whether other Illinois judges have previously ordered outright reversals of the ILLRB that had the effect of ordering the Board to grant a license to an applicant without any remand.

 

Our office continues to fight for the civil rights of CCL applicants in several cases now pending in federal court in Chicago and in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

Every case in unique to its facts. Nothing contained in this release should be taken to advertise or to offer legal representation, and surely should not be taken as any kind of guarantee or solicitation. It is offered for the exclusive purpose of informing a portion of the Illinois firearms community as to important news.

Illinois Aim to Expedite Firearm Licensing Process

Originally Posted March 6th, 2015

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced the Agency will begin accepting on-line FOID applications beginning March 16, 2015, to provide a more streamlined and modernized application process. The ISP will no longer accept the current FOID paper applications after Monday, March 9, 2015; however, like the CCL, the new FOID application will be available through the Department’s website or through the paper alternative call center method for those individuals who do not have computer access. Minors under the age of 21 without a state of Illinois Driver’s License or Identification card and Amish applicants will be required to complete an alternative call-in paper application.

The ISP has also made changes to the login for both the CCL and FOID applications.  Applicants will no longer be required to obtain a state of Illinois digital I.D. through the Department of Central Management Services.  This login change will allow users greater accessibility to the new application process. All new applicants and returning CCL applicants will need to register with the Illinois State Police by providing some key identifiers found on their Illinois Driver’s License or Identification card, creating a username and password, and answering four security questions. The CCL website will be unavailable beginning Friday, March 13, 2015, at 5:00 p.m., until Monday, March 16, 2015, at 7:00 a.m., in order to implement the new FOID system.

Federal Firearm Licensed (FFLs) dealers will also have access to the web-based portal in order to conduct the required background checks of those wishing to purchase a firearm.  All FFL’s in the state of Illinois are required to register with the ISP via the website at www.ispffl.com or by calling 217-524-3847 to continue to perform background checks after the launch of the new system. The old FTIP system will be closed on March 15 at 4:00 p.m. to allow data to be transferred to the new system. Beginning March 16, at 8:30 a.m., firearm dealers will be able to submit firearm background transactions via the website and follow up on previously requested checks based upon a transaction number.

Firearm dealers using the web-portal during the first 30 days of implementation will be able to submit transactions at no cost. The traditional fee of $2.00 is being waived. Firearm dealers will also still have the option of using the 800# dial-up process; however, dealers will be charged the $2.00 processing fee for this option.

The new CCL and FOID application process is intended to provide a user-friendly portal designed to ease and streamline both application processes.

Illinois State Police About to Make Concealed Carry more Costly

According to the Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act (FCCL), the Illinois State Police (ISP) are responsible for licensing and administration of the Act.  As such the ISP have the right o set administrative rules governing instructor and licensee activities.

The ISP recently released a set of proposed administrative rules. Those rules may be found here: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/index/register/register_volume39_issue32.pdf   (Start on page 56). If you are considering obtaining an Illinois Concealed Carry license, or if you have one already it would be in your best interest to read these rules. Some of the changes are going to make training (and retraining) more cost prohibitive because of redundant responsibilities added to instructors. As instructors responsibilities increase it would not be unreasonable for training fees to increase as well. After all, time is money.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), as well as other pro gun rights groups in Illinois has met with the ISP, and the ISP is unwilling to budge on some of these issues. Therefore it is time for the people to act and make our voice heard.  Please read the proposed rules, then contact the Illinois State Police at the following:

Matthew R. Rentschler
Chief Legal Counsel
Illinois State Police
801 South 7th Street, Suite 1000-S

A copy of my letter to Matthew Rentschler at the ISP is as follows:

September 6th, 2015

Mr Matthew Rentschler, or whom it may concern:

As a resident of Illinois I take exception to some of the proposed administrative rules for the Concealed Carry Licensing Act.

As Concealed Carry instructors are burdened with duplicate efforts and more administrative tasks this will inevitably drive up the cost for the applicants. As you may be aware the Illinois concealed carry license is already one of the most expensive in the USA to simply apply, not to mention the strict requirement of training time. Time is money, more instructor time means more applicant money.

This makes the already very expensive concealed carry license unobtainable for the poor and working class of Illinois who have the same right to self defense as the affluent and wealthy.

The specifically object to the preregistration as proposed for instructors 72 hours in advance of a concealed carry class.

I also specifically object to the proposed rule requiring instructors AGAIN 72 hours after the class upload class results.

As a law abiding, tax paying, voting citizen of Illinois I urge your to reconsider these rules and consider those who may adversely be affected by redundant bureaucratic quagmire which will be created by these proposed rules.

Respectfully,

Thomas Kral

The pen is mightier than the sword. Start writing those letters!

P.S. Objections MUST be in writing, and ultimately these proposed rules must be approved or dis-approved by JCAR.

Illinois State Police Cracking down on Crooked Instructors and Denying Applicants because of it

Thieves will be thieves, and the Illinois State Police have said that thieves should not be instructors of Concealed Carry in Illinois.  The Illinois State Police have yanked credentials of concealed carry instructors who were skirting the law. Furthermore those instructors who were skirting the law invalidated the training of their students and the Illinois State Police will be rejecting the applicants.

“Anyone seeking to legally obtain a concealed carry license also expects that the firearms training will be conducted professionally, honestly, and will reinforce firearms safety and responsibility,” said St. Clair State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.  The people of good faith who have come forward believe in law abiding, responsible gun ownership and will ensure that the integrity of concealed carry training is upheld and not twisted into a means to defraud consumers,” Kelly added.

 

https://www.isp.state.il.us/media/pressdetails.cfm?ID=788

 

http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/03/18/illinois-firearms-instructors-lose-licenses/6583233/

April Fools Joke by Illinois State Police, but 327 CCL Applicants Aren’t Laughing

Originally Posted April 3rd, 2014

On April 1st 2014, 327 applicants for the Illinois Concealed Carry License were sent letters by the Illinois State Police, the timing of these letters could not have been better, April Fools!  But there is no joke, these 327 applicants aren’t laughing.  These letters are denial letters based upon improper training by unscrupulous instructors.

The following is the press release by the Illinois State Police…

327 Applicants Notified of Improper Training

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Police (ISP) announced today that another firearms instructor from Bolingbrook is no longer approved to instruct Illinois Concealed Carry Curricula, and 327 applicants trained by the instructor will receive notification that their application has been denied due to improper training.

Since January, ISP has investigated numerous complaints from the public alleging that firearms instructors were improperly training and /or awarding certificates to students who had not completed the required 16 hours of training required by law.   The Firearms Concealed Carry Act (430 ILCS 66/75) states that firearms instructors are required to teach all applicants, who are not eligible for prior training credit, a minimum of 16 hours of curriculum approved by the Illinois State Police prior to receiving an Illinois Concealed Carry License Training Certificate.

After conducting numerous interviews and reviewing records, ISP investigators have confirmed that the training was not conducted in accordance with the law, and are in the process of providing investigative findings to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“The public expects firearms instructors to provide a thorough understanding and solid foundation of the curriculum and practical training that meets all qualifications of the law,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.  “When these instructors fall short, safety is compromised and the integrity of the training process raises concerns,” he stressed.

The ISP is notifying the applicants that their training is invalid and their applications will be denied.  The applicants will have the opportunity to become re-trained without incurring the $150.00 application fee, and will be allowed to appeal the denial by submitting a written petition through the ISP’s administrative review process.

Once the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office has reviewed the ISP’s investigative findings, prosecutors will work with the ISP to determine if sanctions against the firearms instructors are appropriate.

A list of more than 2700 certified firearms instructors can be found on the ISP Concealed Carry website, and any instructor who is no longer approved will be eliminated from the approved list.

These investigations remain on-going and the public is encouraged to file complaints. To date, 13 firearms instructors are no longer approved to teach Illinois Concealed Carry Curricula, and 425 applicants have been notified of the invalid training.    Beginning today, the ISP will be posting the names of the unapproved instructors on the Concealed Carry website under the firearms instructor section.

Integrity is an important part of the Concealed Carry License process and the Illinois State Police is committed to ensuring the guidelines and criteria are met under the law. The ISP strongly urges applicants to review the rules governing the firearms training requirements, ask questions and demand credentials from the certified firearms instructor they are considering.

The public can report abuses by completing the complaint form on the ISP Concealed Carry website at: http://www.isp.state.il.us/, or by calling (217) 782-7980.

The Illinois State Police has made a list of revoked instructors available to the public. One should note that not all of the instructors have been revoked for dishonesty or wrong doing. Other dis-qualifiers such as mental health issues or moving out of state will cause an instructors credentials to be revoked. To view a list of revoked instructors you may visit: https://ccl4illinois.com/ccw/Public/revoked.aspx

The original Illinois State Police press release may be found here,  http://www.isp.state.il.us/media/pressdetails.cfm?ID=790

Village of Rosemont Bans Concealed Firearms on Public Streets & Sidewalks

Originally Posted April 3rd, 2014

The village of Rosemont, Illinois has banned legally armed citizens from legally concealing firearms with a license on public streets and sidewalks within the entertainment district.  This was a unanimous ordinance passed with faulty information by the village board which bans concealed carry at the MB Financial Park in Rosemont.

In one interview, mayor Stephens of Rosemont is quoted as saying,

“…state law already prohibits anyone from carrying firearms into a place of business where liquor is sold. Numerous venues within MB Park sell alcoholic beverages to the public. The recently passed ordinance, said Stephens, makes sure that no one is carrying a gun while visiting the entertainment district’s public areas such as around the outdoor plaza or on sidewalks.”

However mayor Stephens is incorrect.  According to Public Act 098-0063, The Illinois Firearm Conceal Carry Act, only businesses whose revenues are 50% of greater from alcohol are required to ban firearms on their premises.  The exact wording is as follows,

(9) Any building, real property, and parking area under
the control of an establishment that serves alcohol on its
premises, if more than 50% of the establishment’s gross
receipts within the prior 3 months is from the sale of

alcohol.

There are further provisions in the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act which may give Rosemont a hard time enforcing their new ordinance, for example,

c) A licensee shall not be in violation of this Section while he or she is traveling along a public right of way

But possibly more important than the public right of way clause is the vehicle exemption,

(a), any licensee prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm
into the parking area of a prohibited location specified in
subsection (a), (a-5), or (a-10) of this Section shall be
permitted to carry a concealed firearm on or about his or her
person within a vehicle into the parking area and may store a
firearm or ammunition concealed in a case within a locked
vehicle or locked container out of plain view within the
vehicle in the parking area. A licensee may carry a concealed
firearm in the immediate area surrounding his or her vehicle
within a prohibited parking lot area only for the limited
purpose of storing or retrieving a firearm within the vehicle’s

trunk,

And certainly the most important clause within the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry act that should render, eventually, the ban null and void, is the Preemption clause of the act,

Section 90. Preemption.
The regulation, licensing, possession, registration, and
transportation of handguns and ammunition for handguns by
licensees are exclusive powers and functions of the State. Any
ordinance or regulation, or portion thereof, enacted on or before the effective date of this Act that purports to impose regulations or restrictions on licensees or handguns and ammunition for handguns in a manner inconsistent with this Act shall be invalid in its application to licensees under this Act on the effective date of this Act. This Section is a denial and limitation of home rule powers…

Link to Public Act 098-0063 http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/98/PDF/098-0063.pdf

Link to original news report by Journal Topics http://www.journal-topics.com/news/article_c23d215a-b4f9-11e3-957a-001a4bcf6878.html