Sheriff Dart blasts Gov. Quinn’s concealed-carry bill
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter email@example.com July 2, 2013 1:22PM
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart | Sun-Times Media Library
Updated: August 4, 2013 6:23AM
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on Tuesday blasted the governor’s revised concealed-carry bill, saying the changes do nothing to help local law enforcement agencies determine whether applicants would pose a danger to the public if they were granted a permit.
In a letter hand-delivered to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office, Dart criticized a section of the bill that gives law enforcement agencies one month from the date an applicant is entered into a state database to determine whether the person is a risk.
The bill would allow law enforcement agencies to object to the state giving a concealed-carry permit to anyone deemed a threat to safety.
But Dart said law enforcement agencies should have a minimum of three months to conduct an investigation into an applicant’s background and decide whether to lodge an objection. He also said they need funding to do the checks.
Under the bill, the application and renewal fees are $150 with 80 percent going to the Illinois State Police and the rest going to a mental health reporting fund and a state crime lab fund.
None of the money would go to local law enforcement agencies, which are being asked to predict the “dangerousness” of applicants who have resided in their jurisdictions during the past 10 years, Dart wrote, calling the latest version of the bill “disastrous.”
He pointed out that Cook County has 358,000 Illinois firearm owner’s identification card holders, almost a quarter of the total.
“My big thing is to keep [concealed-carry permits] away from people who are mentally ill or have criminal propensities,” Dart said.
Dart said he would need at least 90 days to sort through the applicants and make a basic inquiry.
“Maybe you talk to their neighbors or an employer to make sure there is not a red flag that they are mentally ill,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Dart said a mentally ill person who never sought treatment could still obtain a FOID card. Then the person could use the FOID card to obtain a concealed-carry permit, unless a local law enforcement agency objected.
A gang leader without a serious criminal background also could obtain a FOID card, and then a concealed-carry permit, unless a police agency objected, Dart said.
“Do they really want these people walking around with a gun tucked into their pants?” he said. “We have no time and no tools to do this.”
Dart said he shared his concerns about the bill with Quinn’s office on two separate occasions last month.