Mary Ann Ahern
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart
Fearing too many people who shouldn't have access to guns will be granted concealed carry permits when the law takes effect next month, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart vowed Tuesday to make a "blanket objection" to anyone who's been arrested in the state within the last seven years.
His objection would also apply to anyone with known gang affiliations.
Dart said he expects a deluge of applicants and little ability to properly review those applications within the 30 day response window.
"My office -- and all Cook County law enforcement officers -- have a tremendous responsibility to review each concealed carry applicant that resides or has resided within the county to determine whether an objection should be made to their application," Dart said in a letter to Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau obtained by CapitolFax.com. "Incredibly, however, local law enforcement was given no funding to implement this public safety mandate."
Illinois' law allows qualified gun owners who pass background checks, and undergo 16 hours of training, to get carry permits for $150. But it also sets up a concealed carry board that is supposed to act on local police objections within 90 days. ISP officials are mandated to submit an objection for any applicant with five or more arrests on their record or three or more arrests for gang-related offenses.
Cook County has more Firearm Identification Card-holders -- roughly 360,000 -- than any other county in the state, he said.
The inability to properly screen the applicants means those with a history of domestic violence or mental health issues -- people he believes shouldn't be granted access to guns -- will be overlooked.
"It is misleading to the public to let them believe we are able to conduct any serious review of applicants when we cannot," he said.