ISP’s Weak ‘Assurances’ on Masked Concealed Carry Offer No Guarantees

We’ve got our masks and guns. You, not so much. (Illinois State Police/Facebook)

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- Concealed carriers complying with the governor’s executive order to wear face masks in public settings as a precaution against Covid-19 transmission could find themselves facing serious legal consequences, Fox Illinois reported Monday. That’s because, per Illinois Statutes, “A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly…Carries or possesses in a vehicle or on or about his person any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or firearm or ballistic knife, when he is hooded, robed or masked in such manner as to conceal his identity…”

“According to the law, this is a class 4 felony,” the report elaborates. “Although this is one of the least severe penalties, it can still carry a potential jail sentence between 1 to 3 years.”

Not to worry, the Illinois State Police implies in its statement in response to concerns:

“The Governor’s Executive Order regarding the wearing of masks or protective facial coverings in public settings during this serious global pandemic was not intended to negatively impact permit holders under the Illinois Concealed Carry Act while legally carrying firearms. The Executive Order does not require or suggest that law enforcement should arrest or criminally charge conceal carry license permit holders for wearing protective masks while in public as long as they are complying with the other provisions of the Illinois Concealed Carry Act and are not committing any other violations of Illinois law. ISP has confidence that law enforcement officers across the state will use appropriate judgment and that elected State’s Attorneys will likewise exercise sound prosecutorial discretion.”

That expression of “confidence” is not a guarantee and has no authority to override enacted law. Relying on “judgment” (with an “appropriate” qualifier) and “discretion” is an admission that any such decisions will hinge on how enforcers choose to respond to a given situation and detainee. It also means a mask charge could be tacked on to an inadvertent violation where no criminal intent exists. (Case in point, how much “discretion” could be involved in defining “partially exposed”?)

It also presupposes everyone in the chain of command has been informed and will act in accordance with ISP’s tepidly-stated intent. We know from experience that expecting all police officers to be informed on such matters falls far short of 100%, often with life-threatening consequences.

Again, case in point, in Ohio, I had petitioned three successive attorneys general over the years to ensure law enforcement officers received training to acknowledge that open carry was legal. Despite that, incidents had been reported of cops holding armed citizens at gunpoint, and two even cavalierly traded Facebook jokes about “double-tapping” open carriers.

That also recalled the incident where a California detective laughed about wanting to shoot gun owners “and get 2 weeks off!!!” and lorded his “Only Ones” status over them:

“Haha that's when you attend one of their meetings and laugh at them cuz they can only dream to have a ccw”

Closer to home, since we are dealing with Illinois concerns, we mustn’t forget the chilling words of former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who rabidly opposed concealed carry and made what should have been considered an actionable threat with his “shoot first” training policy:

“I don’t care if they’re licensed legal firearms. I’ll train our officers that there is a concealed carry law, but when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that. I’m telling you right up front.”

Sucks to be a plainclothes officer, a LEOSA retiree, or a federal agent around him. Not to mention a lawful citizen.

With all the cases of documented abuses and in light of its noncommittal “commitment,” we can’t forget that ISP has a history with armed citizens, particularly women, that is ridiculous and offensive.  It was not that long ago women were being advised not to have a gun, but instead, if confronted by an attacker, to vomit, and stab ‘em with a rat tail comb.

Illinois gun owners need something more binding than the ISP statement. It’s on Attorney General Kwame Raoul to issue an unequivocal directive and ensure that law enforcement agencies so instruct their officers. Then again, noting the guy’s monomaniacal obsession with grabbing guns, I wouldn’t be holding my breath.


About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Get Out
Get Out
6 months ago

IMOA, CCW is just that and you’re firearm shouldn’t be seen unless needed for self defense. Mask and carry anyway and unmask if challenged to show that you’re wearing the mask for everyone’s safety.

Core
Core
6 months ago

This law should be struck down.

SGT_Wombat
SGT_Wombat
6 months ago

I just got kicked out of a Jewel-Osco today, in Bensenville (Chicago suburb,) because I told the manager I would not break the law and wear a mask. I have my CCW and was carrying at the time.

John Dow
John Dow
6 months ago

” in such manner as to conceal his identity…”

Well, the manner in which people are wearing masks is not to conceal identity.

There, case solved.

StLPro2A
StLPro2A
6 months ago
Reply to  John Dow

“…..as to conceal his identity….” does not specifically address intent, as much as how a cop and prosecutor perceive “conceal”. Well, you just hang your freedom and 2A rights forever on that “settled” point. Let us know how it turns out for you in the real world, rather than here on the ninja brave internet. Will be looking for you on the evening news.

Circle8
6 months ago

Wasn’t Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy the same Officer that, while with NYPD, was caught shooting out street lights one night while he was drunk?

SoSueMe
SoSueMe
6 months ago

Oh look, once again when government attempts to control and micromanage everything, unintended consequences jumps up out of nowhere to toss a wrench into the works. Maybe they should step back, shut up and get out of the way of free citizens…

Mudhunter
Mudhunter
6 months ago

One possible solution would be to write, “Hi, my name is_______, I am not concealing my identity” on your face mask and take a picture of yourself wearing it before you head out. Make the letters big enough to read from 10ft away, and it will look like a design until someone gets close enough and shouldn’t draw too much unwanted attention. When you leave, make sure your phone is fully charged and take a power brick with you to keep it charged in case you have to film a confrontation. As has already been suggested previously, as soon as… Read more »

Boris Badenov
Boris Badenov
6 months ago
Reply to  Mudhunter

Yeah, that would be one hell of a face mask to write that and have it legible from 10′ away. Having a sign around your neck would be better.

Here in Kommieforniastan, West Santa Clara Valley, the only time we see officers now is when they drive by a birthday kids house with sirens.

DonP
DonP
6 months ago

“A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly…Carries or possesses in a vehicle or on or about his person any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or firearm or ballistic knife, when he is hooded, robed or masked in such manner as to conceal his identity…” In most normal states, the courts usually (key word) take intent into consideration. The wording “…in such manner as to conceal his identity…” implies that the intent of wearing the mask is to conceal the wearer’s identity. Due to the current virus situation and some state and/or local ordinances… Read more »

JDL
JDL
6 months ago

Should be nothing to worry about from this trustworthy bunch (sarcasm).

RetNav
RetNav
6 months ago

@DavidCodrea This puts CCW owners in a position of choosing the lesser of two evils – a mask/CCW felony violation or increasing the possibility of infection. Choose wisely based on your situation.
These executive orders carry the weight of law, enforced by armed law enforcement, and bypass the normal legislative process.

So could we get a governor to make an order requiring all citizens to be armed?

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
6 months ago
Reply to  RetNav

@RN, First, thank you for your service. What do you mean when you write, “…executive orders carry the weight of law…” and what makes you think so?

JoeUSooner
JoeUSooner
6 months ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

Bill, I think his point is one of practicality. Even if courts consider Executive Orders otherwise, if any of those Orders are actively enforced by LEOs out in the “real world”… then for all practical purposes – as far as us ‘common citizens’ are concerned – they DO very effectively carry “weight of law.” At least, until any lawsuit can reach a court (and possible numerous appeals over time) in the next few months/years.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
6 months ago
Reply to  JoeUSooner

@JoeUS, I know that you know, even pointing the barrel of a gun at us will not turn executive orders into law.

JoeUSooner
JoeUSooner
6 months ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

Ah, yes. Your point is, of course, quite valid legally. But if executive orders and laws are equally enforced “on the street” by police… is there – to the common citizen – any realistic, practical, day-to-day difference between those orders and laws? In both theory and the ‘real world,’ nothing actually turns executive orders into Constitutional law… The headache is that here in the ‘real world,’ bad actors in positions of political/police power CAN, WILL, and DO illegally enforce (at the “point of a gun”) those orders exactly as though they were, indeed, true laws. Since those bad actors often… Read more »

Dubi Loo
Dubi Loo
6 months ago
Reply to  RetNav

,
Marbury V Madison
Bill of Rights
Just some words to live by.

Tionico
Tionico
6 months ago
Reply to  RetNav

Me, I”d take the bust for refusing towear ths useless Kabuki Threatre mask, The vast majority of them I see inpublic these days are useless for the named intended purpose. Most are not worn correctly anyway, thus rendering a “proper” one useless. A look into precisely HOW microbes are spread through breath reveals these consumer grade dust masks do NOT prevent this virus (or any other) from being inhaled through even the M 95 ones, which are called “surgican masks” for a reason.. they are to protect the PATIENT from any possible infection by any of the operating room staff… Read more »

Knute
Knute
6 months ago

It is is quite a hilarious idea, but Mr. Codrea did not write that. It’s just him quoting the memo from the Illinois State Police. They trust themselves? Well isn’t that ‘special’? In the “special ed’ connotation, naturally! 🙂

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
6 months ago
Reply to  Knute

. Appreviated ILSTAPO.

Knute
Knute
6 months ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

Too bad it couldn’t acronym down to ILSTASI, the way they act, huh? 🙂

Finnky
Finnky
6 months ago

Codrea – Several of the LEO examples you provided don’t just demonstrate poor public relations – but demonstrate that cops believe they have a monopoly on effective use of force. Such attitudes go a long way to justify individuals shooting LEO as simply being LEO could be interpreted as a clear and immediate deadly threat. As for the detective joking about getting two weeks of vacation – I would certainly not cry over him not making it home at the end of one of his shifts. Most of us understand that you get the respect you earn.

Darkman
Darkman
6 months ago

Criminal-1 Law Abiding Citizens-0 Tyranny Wins Again
Why Americans Are Buying Guns: Illinois Has Released Nearly 4000 Prison Inmates Since Marc1 – The Truth About Guns
https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/why-americans-are-buying-guns-illinois-has-released-nearly-4000-prison-inmates-since-march-1/

badlands
badlands
6 months ago
Reply to  Darkman

Administrators in every state that releases these people assure the gullible public that “Hey, we’re only letting the older, harmless inmates out”, yet every time I’ve checked there’s a damn boatload of violent criminals released as well. Any rationally thinking person has to believe it’s by design.