CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said his department doesn’t have the manpower, the time, or the money to properly conduct background checks for those who want to carry concealed weapons within the time required under a new state law.
On Tuesday, lawmakers narrowly met a federal court deadline to adopt a law allowing people to carry guns in public in Illinois, rejecting changes Gov. Pat Quinn made to the law to put more stringent limits on who can carry a concealed firearm.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Dart said a provision giving his office 30 days to conduct background checks on anyone applying for a concealed carry permit in Cook County is a joke.
“I have absolutely no idea how we can comply with any type of process that’s going to fairly evaluate any of these people who are applying. I don’t know how,” he said.
The measure would, for the first time, allow people in Illinois to carry firearms in public, making it the last state in the nation to allow carrying of concealed weapons.
The legislation allows qualified gun owners who pass background checks, and undergo 16 hours of training, to get carry permits for $150.
Once anyone applies for a permit, law enforcement agencies would have 30 days to determine if the person is “a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety” and file an objection to the application.
“There’s no conceivable way that we can get to any of this, and this won’t be because of lack of desire,” Dart said. “How in God’s name, in the course of less than 30 days, can we go through 100-, 150-, 200,000 applications and analyze whether or not this is a person that has mental illness? Is this a person who is actively involved in a gang, even though they haven’t been arrested in the last five years?”
Dart said he thinks the short window for conducting background checks is by design, saying the National Rifle Association doesn’t want him determining who should be considered safe to carry a gun in public.
“We’re going to be overwhelmed with people asking for these type of permits, and yet we have no ability at all to do any type of analysis,” Dart said.
As a result, Dart warned that people who wouldn’t qualify under a more thoughtful process will be able to get concealed carry permits, because his office doesn’t have the resources to perform thorough background checks for every applicant.