Carrying a concealed weapon is now permissible in at least two counties in Illinois, as long as said weapon is lawfully owned and not used while committing a crime. Randolph County's state attorney joined Madison County in allowing concealed carry.
In a tiff between county law enforcement and state legislators over gun control laws, prosecutors in Randolph and Madison counties in Illinois have announced that they will not prosecute people found to be carrying a concealed weapon as long as the carrier is following the rules in their jurisdiction and tells the officer upfront that he or she has a concealed weapon, in addition to the gun being legally owned and not used in a crime.
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The state of Illinois issues Firearm Owner Identification Cards (FOIDs). The gun owner cards are subject to revocation if a citizen is convicted of a felony, found to be mentally ill, has a restraining order in place, or has been charged with domestic violence.
Roughly 11,200 FOID cards were technically revoked as of mid-May; more than 6,700 are still unaccounted for. Having possession of a valid FOID card enables individuals to buy firearms and ammunition.
The Illinois system of licensing gun owners has been a legal mess since December, when a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Chicago, ruled against the state’s existing law and gave the state a deadline of June 9 to come up with a new, more legally compliant rule.
The deadline has since been extended to July 9. The state's General Assembly has approved a bill, which has been forwarded to Gov. Pat Quinn. It is as yet unclear whether Quinn will sign it. He characterized an earlier plan passed by the House that preempts cities’ gun ordinances an “overreach.”
“Honestly, I would challenge you to find an issue that is more outrageously insane
than this one,” Cook County’s sheriff, Tom Dart told a local reporter. “If the system were to work completely the way it’s set up to work, all we’ve got is your card,” Dart said. “We could care less about the fact you’re sitting on an arsenal of guns, and you clearly shouldn’t be within a million yards of a gun.”
Dart and other critics say the whole FOID process is set up to fail.
In the meantime, county prosecutors are taking charge of their own territory.
"I don't want to do something just to get my name in the paper.
But (state lawmakers) could have resolved this issue in January and had something in effect by now," said Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker, when announcing that his office will stop prosecuting the prohibition on guns in public cases.
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