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The impact of concealed carry: How local police are handling the state's new law

Published: Saturday, April 26, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 23, 2014 10:21 a.m. CDT
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(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
A conceal and carry class at Gat Guns in West Dundee.

St. Charles Deputy Police Chief David Kintz said he doesn’t think the state’s new concealed-carry law will create many problems for law enforcement agencies.

“Politics aside, I think most officers are OK with the new law, when obviously all other 49 states have been able to implement this,” Kintz said. “Generally, those that comply with the law are not the ones that the police department are worried about.”

The Kane County Chronicle is exploring the impact of the state’s new concealed-carry law.

This is the second part of a two-part series.

Kintz doesn’t see the law putting police officers at risk when they don’t know whether someone is carrying a concealed weapon.

“We treat every call that we go on as a call that has a person with a gun, and first and foremost, it’s us,” Kintz said. “So, tactically, there’s always a weapon present, and we don’t treat it any differently when we show up and you have one or you don’t have one.”

Those who have a concealed weapon must reveal that fact to police if asked.

“Obviously, there’s a couple of steps that we’re going to take ahead of time,” Kintz said. “Just like we run your driver’s license, we can run to see if you have a concealed-carry license. So, a lot of times we’ll be checking and know even beforehand.”

But Kintz admitted he is not concerned about those who have gone through the licensing process.

“It’s the ones who don’t get the license that are carrying the firearm, those are the ones that I worry about,” he said. “In other words, the criminal who doesn’t get the license isn’t going to tell me he has a firearm. But obviously, someone who took the time to get the license, chances are pretty good they’re going to comply with that.”

Not everyone feels the new law is a good idea, including Tony Malay, an instructor at Batavia School District 101 and president of the Batavia Education Association. He said efforts should have been on more gun control following the Sandy Hook school shooting in December 2012 that claimed the lives of 20 students and six adults.

“There should be some common-sense gun regulations,” Malay said. “Concealed carry wouldn’t be as big of an issue if people weren’t fearful that someone could go online and get a gun or someone could go to a gun show and get a gun. What measures have been taken to protect our children? Oh, we put a sign on the door. That’s the measure we took. It’s ludicrous.”

Among the places where guns are banned under the new concealed carry law are schools or child care facilities, government buildings, courts, correctional facilities, hospitals, mental health facilities or nursing homes, public transportation, airports and public playgrounds, parks and athletic facilities.

In addition, guns are prohibited in bars. Under the law, guns are banned in “any building, real property and parking area under the control of an establishment that serves alcohol on its premises, if more than 50 percent of the establishment’s gross receipts within the prior three months is from the sale of alcohol.”

They are required to post signs approved by the Illinois State Police. The signs depict a gun circled in red with a slash through the center, similar to a no-smoking sign.

Malay also is concerned that the signs put additional stress on students as they walk into their schools.

“That’s a reminder right at eye level for a child to be reminded he needs to be fearful of guns in this society, especially at school,” Malay said. “The protection that he’s getting is a sign that’s on the door, and that’s supposed to stop someone? It creates more stress for the children, but it is indicative of bigger problems in our society that we can’t to protect our children.”

Kane County Board members have been talking about whether to adopt the state’s concealed carry law as written or to make it more restrictive. The county is considering adopting a policy that states employees may not carry concealed firearms in any county building or vehicle.

Under the proposed policy, they would also be prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm in their private vehicle while in the course of their employment with the county. The policy would not apply to county employees authorized to carry a concealed firearm.

County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen has voiced concerns that the proposed policy would be asking employees to give up their right to self-defense while coming and going from work. Already, he said, employees have shared concerns about the “no gun” signs posted on county buildings.

“We are labeling ourselves as unprotected or undefended,” Lauzen had said during a recent meeting.

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