A federal judged threw out a lawsuit on Friday filed by Illinois gun rights advocates who wanted to start carrying concealed firearms in public now, as opposed to nine-plus months from now, the expected timetable for Illinois state police to set up a permit issuance system under the state’s new ‘shall-issue’ CCW law.
U.S. District Judge William Stiehl shot down the suit filed by Mary Shepard, the main plaintiff in the initial lawsuit that overturned the statewide ban on CCW, and the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Shepard and representatives from the ISRA filed a motion for an injunction several weeks ago in the U.S. District Court claiming that lawmakers procrastinated and waited until the last minute to pass legislation legalizing concealed carry in the Land of LIncoln.
“The state’s proposed denial of Second Amendment rights for another 270 days is an unacceptable perpetuation of the state’s … infringement of Ms. Shepard’s and Illinois State Rifle Association members’ Second Amendment rights,” they said the court filing.
Shepard and the ISRA argued that there would be “no threat to public safety” if those possessing valid FOID cards, Firearms Owner Identification cards, were allowed to carry concealed because they have already passed a criminal background check, as CBS Chicago reported.
“Furthermore, plaintiffs are not asking for an unfettered right to carry firearms in public; rather, they are requesting an injunction that would allow them to carry firearms in a manner consistent with the limits imposed by … the Firearms Concealed Carry Act,” they went on to argue.
However, Stiehl did not believe that the wait time — 180 days to set up the system, plus 90 days to process applications — was unreasonable, arguing that it may not even take that long for the state police to get things up and running.
“The fact that this time period for establishing the permitting process is specified in the statute does not mean that it actually will take that amount of time for the state police to complete the process,” Stiehl wrote.
Stiehl also said that Shepard and the ISRA failed to specify why exactly the wait is onerous or illegal. Now it’s up to Shepard and the ISRA to make the next move, either file another complaint that clarifies the illegality of the 270-day timetable or just wait it out.
As of Monday, neither Shepard nor the ISRA offered comment as to what the plan was moving forward, the Associated Press reported.
At this point it’s not clear as to how long it will take state police to set up the system, but part of the process involves putting up a list of state certified firearms instructors on the department’s website, as the law requires one to pass a background check or be in possession of a valid FOID card, successfully complete a 16-hour firearms safety and training course and pay a $150 fee.
As noted in a previous Guns.com article, given that the details and requirements for the 16-hour firearms training and safety courses have not been completely fleshed out, some are expecting additional delays.
“I expect it to be the dead of winter before you see anything tangible,” David Price, a firearms instructor for the last 12 years in Madison County’s Granite City, told the Chicago Tribune.
There are also concerns that an overwhelming amount of CCW applications will bog down the system as well. State police estimate that they will receive 300,000 applications within the first year. Put quite simply, that’s a lot of paperwork to process.
So, it appears that law-abiding gun owners will have to wait just a bit longer before they can exercise their Second Amendment rights in public.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the nine-plus month wait time is fair?