Dart to deny concealed carry permits to those with arrest record - KMSP-TV

EXCLUSIVE: Dart may deny concealed carry permits to those with arrest record

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Illinoisans can begin applying next month for the state's first-ever permits to carry concealed firearms. But the Cook County Sheriff complains to FOX 32 News that the system to screen those applicants is full of holes. Unless the system is fixed, Sheriff Tom Dart says he's prepared to take extraordinary action to prevent permits from being granted to anyone with a serious arrest record.

FOX 32 has learned that Sheriff Dart sent a letter to the director of the Illinois State Police announcing his "blanket objection" to granting a concealed carry permit to anyone who's been arrested even once in the last seven years for domestic violence, a gang-related crime or illegal gun possession. Even if they haven't been convicted, Dart says, those charges are "red flags" that need to be pursued.

He complained the new concealed carry law gives him no resources to do it and ties his hands in other ways, too.

"The public is led to believe that there's some type of analysis that we're going to be doing," Dart said. "We have no time. We have no money. And now we have no ability to use the law enforcement computer system to even look at it."

While the Illinois State Police will be able to use the LEADS computer system to check on the arrest and criminal conviction records of everyone applying for a concealed carry permit, local sheriffs are specifically prohibited from doing that. That despite the fact that once someone applies for a concealed carry permit, the sheriffs of Illinois's 102 counties are given 30 days to object. Dart complained that the system makes no distinction between Downstate Hardin County, with barely 4,000 residents, and Cook County, with more than 5.2 million.

While state officials have estimated that 400,000 will apply for concealed carry permits statewide, Dart expects most of Cook County's 360,000 FOID cardholders to apply. Applications will be accepted online only, beginning Jan. 5th.

"I gotta imagine we'll be objecting to hundreds, easily thousands of people," Dart told FOX 32's Mike Flannery. "What we're gonna have is this massive influx of the applications. And they're gonna be given out. And we're just left holding the bag when the inevitable bad thing will happen. It happens in other states. And in other states they also have people who are armed who stop crimes. It happens both ways, I understand that. But when the inevitable bad thing happens, people will say, ‘Why wasn't this person caught?'"

The new concealed carry law names the sheriffs of Illinois' 102 counties as the local officials empowered to file formal objections if they think a resident should not be granted a concealed carry permit. That may work well in Hardin County, with barely 4,000 people but maybe not so much in Cook County, with more than 5.2 million.

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