People rejected for a permit to carry concealed guns in Illinois will now get an explanation from State Police.
A flurry of lawsuits is prompting the change, including one filed by a Henry County man.
George Cox was denied a concealed carry permit but, he says, he has never been told why.
“I have no criminal background. I have never been convicted of a crime,” Cox said.
“I think I deserve answers. I think anybody who is denied their concealed carry has a right to know what the objections were,” he said.
Cox knows his way around weapons. He is a critical care nurse who volunteered to go to Afghanistan with the Army seven years ago. He spent a year taking care of wounded soldiers, easily passed the Army’s background check and was given security clearance.
“The government sees fit to let me take care of our soldiers in a combat zone, carry a weapon with me 24-7. So for local authorities to object? It kind of leaves me astounded,” he said.
Cox believes he may have been targeted and “red-flagged” after he got into an argument with a police officer, resulting in a misdemeanor charge of aggravated assault of a peace officer. He was acquitted by a Henry County jury the week of July 7, 2014.
Cox suspects that charge may have been the root of the denial but, he says, it is wrong, and that the change in policy is the right thing to do.
“The idea of people sitting behind a closed door giving thumbs up or thumbs down, without any justification or somebody to answer to, sounds unusual for a government of the people,” Cox said.
On Monday, July 14, Illinois State Police announced a new set of emergency rules concerning denied concealed carry permit applications. The new rules say the review board must now alert applicants of credible objections to their applications, and explain which agency brought the objections.
Applicants will now be give ten days to contest the rejection.
A court date in Cox’s lawsuit has not yet been set.