Interested in obtaining a permit to carry a concealed firearm? You should definitely consider expunging any eligible records before applying.

On July 9, 2013 the Firearm Concealed Carry Act became state law and was codified at 430 ILCS 66. The law allows an eligible individual to legally carry a concealed firearm with a valid Concealed Carry License. There are multiple requirements a person must meet in order to be eligible and there is a certain level of discretion employed in the Ilinois State Police’s decision as to whether to issue such a license to an individual. For example, Section 15 of the new law provides that “[a]ny law enforcement agency may submit an objection to a license applicant based upon a reasonable suspicion that the applicant is a danger to himself or herself or others, or a threat to public safety”. This is obviously purposefully vague language that serves to open the door for objections by law enforcement agencies.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has been quoted as saying that he will object to the granting of a concealed carry permit to “anyone” with an Illinois arrest record within seven years of that individual’s application for such permit. Earlier this month Dart did indeed object to two hundred forty concealed carry applications because these applicants had criminal histories including “gun crimes” and/or “crimes of domestic violence”. It is unclear as to whether these individuals all had convictions on their records or if some of the applicants were merely arrested for such crimes and never convicted.

While it is not possible to expunge a conviction and further, not possible to expunge anything on one’s criminal record if one has even a single conviction, the expungement laws do allow for expungement of non-convictions such as arrests resulting in aquittals or dismissals. (I’ve more thoroughly discussed requirements for expungement eligibility in previous blog posts, such as here and here.) I would strongly urge anyone wanting to ultimately obtain a permit to allow him or her to carry a concealed firearm to make sure any expungeable arrests are in fact expunged prior to submitting an application to the Illinois State Police. Even the State Police would need a court order to see a successfully expunged arrest record and therefore would not be able to use such expunged arrests as a reason to deny a person an Illinois Concealed Carry Permit.