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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Illinois Sheriff’s Offices admit the state isn't doing their part in re reviewing applications

While new licenses to carry concealed firearms continue arriving in suburban mailboxes, some local law enforcement offices are objecting to permits for certain individuals.

The Illinois State Police have received 1,669 objections from law enforcement agencies across the state, with about half of those coming from the Cook County Sheriff's Department. That's compared to 33,207 licenses that have been granted since Illinois first began approving licenses earlier this year.


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Lt. James Popovits of the McHenry County Sheriff's office said though the Illinois State Police is responsible for the "lion's share" of the task of assessing whether someone should get a permit, the state agency doesn't catch everything. The law allows objections for what it calls a "reasonable suspicion" that an applicant is dangerous even if his or her background would not automatically trigger denial of the applications.

"Our objections would have to be on the basis the person is a threat to the public or a threat to themselves," Popovits said, giving as an example cases in which "we have information the state police wouldn't, maybe if the person didn't get arrested but posed a threat."

McHenry County sheriff officials won't say how many permits they've objected to.

About 365 applications that have triggered objections are being reviewed again by the state's Concealed Carry Review Board, according to state police spokeswoman Monique Bond. The board reviews objections from other law enforcement agencies as well as appeals from individuals who say they were denied permits unfairly. However, the board does not hear all requests.

Ben Breit, Cook County Sheriff Department communications director, said the agency has filed more than half of the objections sent to the state police, with 839 for Chicago and suburban Cook County applicants.

The Cook County sheriff's department found one applicant who had 20 arrests and another with arrests including aggravated battery with a firearm and defacing firearm markings, the department reported in February.

In Lake County, Sgt. Sara Balmes said the sheriff's office has filed 56 objections, but 25 of those applicants received permits anyway.

"The majority of them were for domestic related incidents," Balmes said of the Lake County objections.

As of Tuesday the state has approved 33,207 licenses statewide, which have been mailed to residents. There are 25,426 more applications which have been approved by the state police but are in a 30-day waiting period in which local law enforcement agencies can object to individual applications.

"If there are concerns on an application, the (review board) will determine if the objections are valid," Bond said.

In DuPage County, spokesman Paul Darrah said the state's attorney's office hasn't had a single objection so far and the department is stepping aside to let the state police handle the applications. The DuPage County sheriff's office, as in McHenry County, wouldn't say whether it has filed objections or in how many cases.

Last year, lawmakers approved legislation to comply with a federal court order to lift a statewide ban on concealed carry.

Under the state law, residents have to complete 16 hours of training and pay a $150 fee to the state police to get a permit.

After applications are filed electronically, they go through a 90-120 day waiting period, during which the state police conducts a background check and allows for other law enforcement agencies to object.

If residents feel they were rejected unfairly, either directly by the state or through another agency's objection, they can appeal it by writing a request to the state police's Firearms Service Bureau

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