Cook County Record

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Appeals court: IL State Police OK to use police report to deny concealed carry permit, even without arrest or conviction

Lawsuits

By John Breslin | Aug 10, 2019

Bilandic building
Illinois First District Appellate Court

CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel has ruled the Illinois State Police are within their authority to deny a concealed carry firearm permit to people based solely on allegations contained in police reports, whether or not that person was ever arrested on those charges, much less convicted.

The Concealed Carry License Review Board is allowed to deny a permit if it finds the applicant poses a danger or threat to herself or others, a three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court said.

Plaintiff Sally Nalls had appealed to the First District court after a Cook County judge upheld the Review Board's decision to deny her a concealed carry permit she sought.


Illinois First District Justice Sheldon Harris | Illinoiscourts.gov

She was denied largely on the basis of a police report that contained allegations of domestic abuse against her. She was not arrested.

"We find no error in denying an application for a concealed carry license based on a police report," Justice Sheldon Harris wrote. Justices Joy Cunningham and Maureen Connors concurred in the decision

The police report falls under the "statutory hearsay exception" for such licenses, and the consideration of it "did not deprive the applicant of due process," Harris wrote. The ruling was issued as an unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23, limiting its use as precedent.

Nalls applied to the State Police for a concealed carry license in May 2017, stating on the form she had no prior convictions.

However, in June, the Chicago Police Department objected, citing a police report from the previous year, in which police said Nalls allegedly "punched and scratched" her boyfriend "during a verbal altercation." Nalls was not arrested or charged with a crime.

When the file reached the Review Board, it first determined the police objection appeared "sustainable," but gave Nalls 15 days to appeal before a final decision. There is no record of her responding, according to the appeals court.

In its ruling, the board said that "domestic violence offenders routinely escape conviction” due to the reluctance of victims to file charges and that there is a "strong correlation between domestic violence and misuse of firearms."

The board voted unanimously to deny Nalls her desired permit, saying Nalls was "a danger to self or others or a threat to public safety." The circuit court upheld the decision.

Nalls, on appeal, argued the police report was "inadmissible hearsay" and that it robbed her of due process as it led to the denial of the application without a prior conviction or arrest. She further averred to being no threat to herself, others or public safety.

"Under these statutory provisions regarding whether an applicant poses a danger or threat, neither the agency’s objection nor the Board’s determination is limited to prior convictions," Harris wrote in his ruling.

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