The Chicago Tribune reports on so much foot-dragging from the state of Illinois regarding issuing gun-carry permits after the state Supreme Court last year overturned the state's ban on such carrying that aggrieved citizens are suing.
After telling of a military veteran, Michael Thomas, who has his application for a concealed carry license denied for no apparent reason:
The state police review every application and can automatically deny any applicant who does not follow application rules, pay appropriate fees or meet standard background requirements. A provision in the law also allows local police and other officials to object to a person's application after the applicant has passed a fingerprint background check and met the other requirements for a license.
The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, a panel with law enforcement backgrounds, considers the objections in private and is not required to explain the reasons behind its decisions except under order from a court, according to the state police's interpretation of the statute.
Officials won't say why Thomas' application was flagged for denial, or by whom. Thomas insists that he has a clean record. A search of Cook County court records turned up no charges. An Air Force spokesman told the Tribune that Thomas was honorably discharged in 2012 and that his military record does not contain any unfavorable information.
Thomas is now one of 194 resident suing over their mysterious permit denials.
The lawsuits, including two backed by the National Rifle Association, claim that applicants were denied due process because they weren't given a reason for the board's decision and have no recourse for challenging its findings. Lawyers involved in the cases say the issue is not whether applicants are qualified for the licenses, but whether the licensing process is too secretive and arbitrary.
The review board's meetings "are not subject to the Open Meetings Act and its records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act."
So far, the state police have received 79,207 applications and issued 62,258 licenses, according to data provided by the department. The state automatically denied more than 1,620 applicants for failing to follow application rules or meet basic requirements. There have also been more than 2,400 objections lodged by local law enforcement officials and 809 applicants who were denied because objections were sustained by the review board.
More than half of the objections — 1,461 — have come from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. An outspoken critic of the concealed carry law, Dart came under fire earlier this year when he said he would object to any applicant who has been arrested even once in the past seven years for domestic violence, gun possession or gang crimes.
Dart said he is confident that his office did not make mistakes and that it only targeted people who records showed should not be allowed to carry guns. Still, he said he expected litigation to follow.
As widely reported, this weekend's 82 shootings proves Chicago (Cook County) has lots of problems with people misusing guns, the type of people likely not much moved by whether or not they have a legal carry permit.
The Supreme Court, alas, continues to avoid the question of how Heller and the newly meaningful Second Amendment impacts restrictions on public carry. Someday they'll have to think about it.