by Bob Lesmeister | National Correspondent
Illinois State Police have set up their own Star Chamber to deny Illinois concealed carry license (CCW) applicants the right to carry.
The concept of a Star Chamber evolved out of 16th and 17th century England where ordinary courts failed to satisfy justice for the ordinary man or exempted nobility from punishment. Court sessions were held in secret, with no indictments and no witnesses. Eventually, the Star Chamber evolved into a political weapon like that used by the Illinois State Police.
In a recent piece by Kim Geiger and Darleen Glanton for the Chicago Tribune, it was established that over 800 applicants for concealed carry licenses in Illinois have been denied by the Illinois State Police. The CCW eligibility board meets behind closed doors and it keeps all decisions secret, refusing to inform applicants why they were denied or how the board came to their conclusions.
Nearly 200 denied CCW applicants have filed lawsuits in order to force the state police to reveal their approval/denial system. The secrecy and arbitrariness is egregious enough to get the National Rifle Association (NRA) involved. The NRA hired Washington, DC, lawyer David Thompson to file lawsuits in the US District Court and in the Illinois state court. Gun control advocates say that it’s a good thing that CCW applicants have to face law enforcement screening before a license is approved. They say that law enforcement knows how to screen applicants and secret or not, the final decision rests with the Star Chamber.
But you can imagine how they would go ballistic if their driver’s licenses were denied in the same manner. The way the law is written, the process is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. To add to the frustration of not getting a denial explanation, the permit fee of $150 becomes a “donation” and the mandatory 16 hours of firearms instruction becomes the equivalent of two solid workdays wasted. Instead of offering reciprocals with other states, Illinois charges a hefty $300 permit fee for out-of-staters who want to carry in Illinois.
Unfortunately, it’s not only the Illinois State Police concealed carry applicants and licensees have to fear. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has never been a fan of Illinois concealed carry or any firearm ownership for that matter. Some will remember Quinn took amendatory veto action on House Bill 183, the bill that eventually brought concealed carry to Illinois. Quinn called it a “flawed bill” that was inspired by the NRA and not the common good as if the NRA is against the common good. And he pulled out the old phrase “common sense changes” that gun grabbers use when they oppose ANY pro-firearms legislation. He wanted to ban concealed carry from any establishment where alcohol is consumed which would include just about every family restaurant out there. Today, it seems that just about every restaurant with the exception of fast food drive-thru is serving wine and beer.
Quinn also didn’t like the fact that businesses had to post a sign stating that firearms would not be permitted on the premises, saying that is should be presumed they are not wanted and no sign need be posted unless welcoming CCWs. Under the bill, loaded guns would be allowed in stores, restaurants, churches. He also found fault with concealed carry on employer’s grounds. He cites the dangers of workplace violence, but fails to recognize the use of a firearm by a licensed holder to stop an active shooter from going on a rampage.
Like all good gun grabbers, Quinn is a member of the “Who Needs More Than One Gun” club. Quinn obsessed over the fact that HB 183 did not stipulate how many guns a person could carry concealed. According to the governor, carrying multiple guns and more than 10 rounds of ammo is a public safety hazard. Perhaps the governor is not far-thinking enough to know that it may take more than 10 rounds of ammo to stop an active shooter or shooters in a movie theater, grocery store or public park. An extra handgun in those situations would also be a plus.
With an expanding criminal investigation into the $55 million Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI), Quinn may be joining his two earlier Illinois ex-governors to come under fire for corruption with a one-way ticket to the Graybar Hotel. The NRI collected millions in taxpayer funds to provide job training and mentorship in troubled neighborhoods. Before long, the NRI was paying teens nearly nine bucks an hour to pass out fliers and promote Quinn. Two of those paid to hand out fliers were gang-bangers who slung lead in a shootout leaving one dead and one facing a murder charge.
To date, no one knows where the $55 million NRI went and Quinn’s not telling. One group funded by the NRI spent taxpayer money to buy gift cards for contractors. The exploding crime and murder rate in Chicago is evidence that NRI money was not used very judiciously. It is suspected that groups funded by NRI were commandeered by Democrat alderman, so instead of concentrating on heavy crime areas, NRI funds were directed towards those neighborhoods where aldermen could get the most for the citizens’ money. It’s anybody’s guess if NRI money, with Quinn’s blessing, was used to promote anti-gun propaganda.