Concealed Carry Permit Board Not Subject To FOIA, Open Meetings

Jun 17, 2013

Governor Pat Quinn says he's reviewing a measure that would lift Illinois' long-standing concealed carry ban. It took legislators months to reach a compromise, and still gun control and gun rights activists both say they're not happy.   Other critics say they're upset about a lack of government transparency.

Josh Sharp, Government Relations Director for the Illinois Press Association
Credit courtesy of the Illinois Press Association

The concealed carry legislation approved late last month creates a seven-member board to review applications from people who want to be able to carry a gun in public.

Under the measure, that board would be exempt from the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Which means the board's records and activities would be off-limits to the public. The board would also not be included in the Open Meetings Act, so in theory  "they could meet at midnight in some guy's basement," said Josh Sharp, of the Illinois Press Association. He says the organization is not interested in applicants' personal information, like how many guns they own. Instead, t"his is about shining more light on government and how they act, rather than applicants for these licenses," he said.

The measure's sponsor says he understands those concerns, and he's willing to introduce follow-up legislation to fix them.  He says his priority is keeping private sensitive information, like the names of applicants who get rejected.

Illinois is under a court order to have a concealed carry law by July 9.

- Amanda Vinicky