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Sheriff Dart slams restrictions on concealed-carry background checks

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Updated: January 19, 2014 11:48AM



Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Tuesday that the state is hindering his ability to check the criminal backgrounds of people applying for concealed carry permits.

This year, Illinois became the last state to allow concealed carry. The law takes effect Jan. 1 and the state expects to start issuing permits in April.

With tens of thousands of people potentially applying for permits in Cook County early next year, Dart says he fears the state won’t be able to keep up with background checks and local police agencies won’t be able to help.

The state police will conduct checks of applicants and object to those who have at least three gang arrests and at least five arrests of any kind in seven years. The objections must be filed with a state panel within 30 days of the application being filed.

Dart wants to conduct his own checks, but state police say local agencies can’t use the LEADS system, a national criminal history database, to do so. Dart said he can’t conduct an effective check with his own limited sheriff’s database.

State police also say they will not agree to Dart making a “blanket objection” to all applicants with one or more arrests for domestic violence or gun possession in the last six years — and all applicants with any known gang affiliation.

Dart said the system for screening out dangerous or mentally ill people from obtaining concealed carry permits is “fraught with problems and holes” and said he’s not ruling out a lawsuit.

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