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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Skokie man sues over denial of concealed carry permit

A 69-year-old Skokie man filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court claiming the state unconstitutionally denied him a permit to carry a concealed gun.

John Berron applied for a concealed carry permit on Jan. 5. He got a letter on March 19 that said that the Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board received an objection to his application and found he was ineligible for a permit. The Illinois State Police denied his application on that date.

Berron wasn’t told why his permit was denied, said his attorney, J.D. Obenberger.

Court records show he was arrested in 2000 for resisting a police officer and criminal damage to property, both misdemeanors. He was convicted and received court supervision.

In 2006, he was arrested once again for resisting a police officer and criminal damage to property. He was convicted and received conditional discharge for resisting a police officer and was ordered to pay a $200 fine and more than $1,400 in restitution for the property damage, records show.

Berron claims the state violated his right to due process in denying his concealed carry application without allowing him to present his case to the licensing board. He’s asking the court to overturn his denial and give him a concealed carry permit.

“This isn’t a privilege, it’s a constitutional right,” Obenberger said.

Obenberger said the state began issuing concealed carry permits only after a federal appeals court ruled the constitution includes the right to carry handguns outside the home for the purpose of self-defense.

Obenberger called the rules surrounding Illinois’ issuing of concealed carry permits an illegal “smell test.”

“If the police chief doesn’t like you, he can object to you,” Obenberger said.

Berron is suing the state licensing board, the state police and the village of Skokie.

Berron holds a state firearm owner’s identification card, which allows him to own a gun.

To receive a FOID card, an applicant can’t have any felony convictions or have been institutionalized for mental illness. Concealed carry permit applicants must have a FOID card.

The concealed carry law took effect in early January. The law allows law-enforcement agencies to file objections to applications — and the Illinois Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board decides whether those objections should result in the rejection of a permit.

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