A special Illinois review board has denied licenses to carry concealed weapons to more than 800 people, keeping its records and reasoning secret, even from applicants who are denied, reports the Chicago Tribune. Nearly 200 unsuccessful applicants have filed lawsuits against the state police to try and peel back the secrecy of the decision-making process. The state police review every application and can automatically deny any applicant who does not follow application rules, pay appropriate fees or meet standard background requirements.
A provision in the law also allows local police and other officials to object to a person’s application after the applicant has passed a fingerprint background check and met the other requirements for a license. The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, a panel with law enforcement backgrounds, considers the objections in private and is not required to explain the reasons behind its decisions except under order from a court, according to the state police’s interpretation of the statute. “There are law-abiding citizens in the state of Illinois who are fully eligible to carry, and they are denied the right and not given any notice as to why,” said David Thompson, a Washington, D.C., attorney hired by the National Rifle Association to file companion lawsuits in Illinois state court and U.S. District Court. “We want a process established that gives people notice of what evidence the state used to make the determination … and an opportunity to rebut by putting in their own evidence.”