On the heels of a disturbing report by WMAQ News in Chicago that the Illinois State Police process for approving or renewing concealed carry licenses is stretching out to between 120 and 140 days, the Second Amendment Foundation warned Prairie State officials that they need to speed things up or face a lawsuit.
SAF is well known to Illinois political leaders as the organization that took Chicago to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 and came away with the high court’s landmark ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago that nullified the city’s handgun ban and incorporated the Second Amendment to the states.
SAF then sued the city in federal court for adopting a handgun control regulation that was unconstitutional. Then SAF sued the state, forcing the legislature to adopt a concealed carry statute. SAF has also sued a housing authority in the state for prohibiting residents from keeping lawfully-owned firearms, and more recently, for suing the village of Deerfield over its attempt to ban so-called “assault weapons.”
Long story short, if SAF takes Illinois to court, it’s not their first rodeo.
The National Rifle Association had companion lawsuits in most, if not all, of these legal actions.
In a scathing statement, SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb observed, “A right delayed is a right denied.”
According to WMAQ, the local NBC affiliate, CCL applications should take from 90 to 120 days to process. But the news agency said it actually takes from 120 to 140 days. Neighboring Indiana processes the paperwork in 60 days or less, and up in Wisconsin, the wait averages five days.
The report also revealed that the State Police Firearms Services Bureau has only five people to handle an estimated 20,000 phone calls a week on average. Gottlieb said that is simply unacceptable in a state where revenue from CCL applications and renewals runs into the millions of dollars.
There are more than 300,000 licensed citizens in Illinois. At $150 apiece for state residents (double that for non-residents), at a minimum the state has raked in $45 million since it began issuing CCLs six years ago.
“This isn’t about serving the public,” Gottlieb asserted, “it’s about discouraging the public. It doesn’t take a degree in mathematics or economics to realize there is a growing demand for carry licenses, but the resources clearly are not being provided to meet that demand, and we think it’s deliberate.”
Article 1, Section 22 of the Illinois State Constitution is clear: “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment, which now applies to Illinois, says the Right to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be infringed.
Delaying the exercise of a constitutionally-enumerated right up to 120-140 days just might be considered an infringement. Gottlieb is wise to that.
“If the General Assembly and state police don’t care to allocate the necessary resources to solve this problem,” he warned, “we may ask the courts to make them do it.”