The General Assembly didn’t just pass a concealed carry law on Monday: it passed the concealed law concealing the identities of concealed carriers. Illinois will be
that prohibit the public from viewing permits. Only law enforcement officials will be allowed to find out who holds a concealed carry permit.
Here’s the language in the law:
The Department shall maintain a database of license applicants and licensees. The database shall be available to all federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies, State's Attorneys, the Attorney General, and authorized personnel...No law enforcement agency, State's Attorney, Attorney General, or member or staff of the judiciary shall provide any information to a requestor who is not entitled to it by law.
The National Rifle Association believes the Second Amendment is the pre-eminent article in the Bill of Rights, trumping even the First Amendment. The NRA argues that concealed carry permit holders could be targeted by burglars if it’s known they own guns. Abusers could also use the public database to track down their victims. But keeping permits away from journalists is not enough for the National Rifle Association. They’d even like to block police officers from access to concealed carry permits. Why? Because, when there’s a shooting, the cops assume it was committed by someone who owns a firearm.
As Slate wrote in an article on Illinois becoming the 50th state to allow concealed carry:
The NRA has fought against disclosing the identities of permit holders because, in its view, that would lead to law-abiding gun owners being treated like criminals. Brent Gardner, an NRA liaison in Wisconsin, voiced the group’s reason for protecting permit holders’ identities in an interview: “There’s a reason why [the] NRA has strived so hard to ensure this list is protected and that’s because we actually heard from chief law enforcement officers that said … that they would actually begin investigations with concealed-carry permit holders. It was just shocking in that state to see the level of disrespect for concealed-carry permit holders.”
In Louisiana, Republican legislators are attempting to pass a law imposing a six-month jail sentence and a $10,000 fine on anyone who publishes gun permit information.
The right to carry a concealed weapon has arrived in Illinois, but the NRA is not going to stop there. They’ll try to use the legislature and the courts to expand the rights of gun owners and weaken the rights of gun opponents. Because to the NRA, no right is more important than the right to own a gun, and anyone who interferes with it deserves to be punished.