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.

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 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

 

Illinois’ First Concealed Carry Arrest

Originally Posted April 3rd, 2014

A Chicago man allegedly was involved in a rent dispute with his tenants and pulled his firearm. The tenants are saying that the Landlord threatened them with the firearm.  The original reports are lacking much detail on the actual arrest other than to say the man had a concealed carry license and his license and firearm were confiscated and the man was arrested.

If we look at the original report by the Chicago Sun-Times,

“O’Connell was involved in a quarrel over rent money with a 52-year-old man on March 23, police said. O’Connell allegedly pointed a handgun at the man and threatened to shoot him.”

There are 3 possible scenarios, 1 ) O’Connell was brandishing his firearm and threatening the tenants, in which case he would deserve to be punished. 2)  The tenants may be alleging false accusations, however how would they know O’Connell was carrying a concealed firearm.  3)  Perhaps O’Connell felt justified in pulling his firearm, feeling threatened by the tenants and the tenants were first to contact the Police.

The Sun-Times report is certainly reporting that the act by Mr. O’Connell was not justified and that Mr. O’Connell was the aggressor.  Due to the lack of facts surrounding this case it’s impossible to know for sure what really happened. And like all stories there is always 3 sides, my side, your side and the truth.  However let us use this incident as an educational opportunity as what not to do.

First and foremost as a legally armed citizen, we are held to a higher standard than the average citizen.  We should not be hap-hazard with our firearms.  Brandishing, or intentional displays, are a no-no.  Concealed means concealed, only your closest friends and family should know that you are armed, and drawing a firearm is for defensive purposes not offensive.  Secondly if you are ever involved in a situation where you felt you were justified in drawing your concealed firearm, my opinion is you should most certainly contact the police, even if shots were not fired.

For a moment let us give Mr. O’Connell the benefit of the doubt, let us assume he was justified in drawing his concealed firearm. Let us assume Mr. O’Connell felt threatened.  If that is the case, what Mr. O’Connell did was that he did not contact the police and file a report.  This then gives the real aggressor the opportunity to be the complainant. In the eyes of law the complainant is usually the victim.  It is my opinion if I were ever involved in a situation where I felt justified in drawing my defensive firearm, but was able to escape without firing shots, I would call 911 and my statement may be similar to the following,

“Hello Police, my name is Thomas Kral. I am legally armed with a concealed carry license.  I was just threatened and had to pull my firearm. Shots were not fired however the attacker is…  “

I want to be sure I am contacting police in case the attacker tries to turn the table against me and state that I was the aggressor. I want to contact the police because if there were any witnesses, they may not have understood why I felt justified in introducing my firearm to the situation and the witness may also be contacting the police.  I don’t ever want to have to draw my firearm, but if I do, I want to be sure nobody, especially the police, thinks that I am the aggressor.

Food for thought…

 

Original Sun-Times article: http://www.suntimes.com/m/26503501-773/nw-side-man-is-first-concealed-carry-permit-holder-arrested-in-chicago.html

Ilinois Now Accepting Non-Resident Concealed Carry Applications from South Carolina

Originally Posted April 3rd, 2014

Illinois is now accepting concealed carry license applications from residents of South Carolina. Currently Hawaii and South Carolina are the only states with substantially similar laws and mental health reporting.

According to the CCL4Illinois.com website, the following are the requirements prior to application for Non-Residents.

NON-RESIDENTS

In accordance with 430 ILCS 66/40 (b), out of state residents may be eligible for an Illinois Concealed Carry License if your state meets the definition of substantially similar as established by rule. See 20 Il. Admin. Code 1231.10. Currently, the states identified below have been determined to have laws related to firearm ownership, possession, and carrying that are substantially similar to the requirements to obtain a license under Illinois’ law; and, therefore, may apply for an Concealed Carry License. This list will be updated as additional states are identified as substantially similar. Further Information concerning the regulations for non-resident applications can be found at 20 Il. Admin. Code 1231.110.

 
  • Hawaii
  • South Carolina

Other requirements if your state meets the substantially similarly definition:

  • 16 hours of Concealed Carry firearms training provided by an ISP approved Instructor.
  • An electronic copy of a valid concealed carry license from my home state.
  • Electronic Copy of my training certificate(s). You will be required to upload your electronic certificate during the application process.
  • A head and shoulder electronic photograph taken within the last 30 days.
  • An Illinois Digital I.D.Java will be required for all of these computer functions to work correctly. To find out if you have the current Java click on this link and then click on “verify java version” to find out if you have Java. AGAIN – YOU MUST HAVE JAVA LOADED ON YOUR PC.

    Visit the Illinois Digital ID website to obtain a digital ID.

    NOTE: If you have questions, visit the Illinois Digital ID website FAQ page or call the Central Management Services Help Desk at 1-866-465-9119 for assistance with the Digital ID. Questions regarding the Concealed Carry License application process should be directed to the Illinois State Police at 217-782-7980.

  • A Valid Driver’s License or State Identification card.
  • Be able to provide the last ten years of residency.
  • A notarized affidavit documenting the applicant’s eligibility under both state and federal laws, the understanding of the laws pertaining to possession and transport of firearms, acknowledgment the applicant is subject to the jurisdiction of the Illinois State Police and the Illinois courts and that the applicant meets the mental health standards in Illinois to obtain a firearm.
  • $300.00 payable with a credit card or electronic check.

Concealed Firearm possibly Saved Chicago Man’s Life

Originally Posted April 6th, 2014

In the first reported incident of an Illinois Concealed Carry Licensee firing shots, a Chicago man fired shots at two armed attackers.  The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the armed attackers approached the man on his property and pointed a gun at him. The man responded by pulling his own legal firearm and fired shots in self defense. The armed attackers fled.  The Chicago Police are saying that they will not file charges on the legally armed citizen and are looking for the alleged attackers to file charges against.

Carrying a Concealed Firearm may have saved this legally armed citizen.

 

http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79832002/