Cook County Sheriff Wants to Dig Up Dirt on CCW Applicants

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart courtesy

By John Boch

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart would be a petty, tyrannical dictator if given half a chance. Fortunately for the good people of Illinois, our government doesn’t allow this – and Tom Dart isn’t a happy lil’ wanna-be authoritarian. What is all the hubbub about? Dart wants to use Illinois’ LEADS system – basically “Google” for law enforcement – to search the background of every applicant for an Illinois concealed carry license for *anything* in their background – and we mean anything – and use that information to file an objection to issuing the permit . . .

And he’s not just worried about current Cook County residents. No, he wants to run a search on anyone who has lived there at any time in the past ten years.

  • Got a traffic ticket or three? He’ll protest.
  • An arrest where charges were later dismissed? He’ll protest.
  • A DUI from twenty or thirty years ago? He’ll protest.
  • Your spouse file for an order of protection against you when you got divorced at her lawyer’s request? Even if it was denied, Dart will protest your application.
  • Underage drinking ticket when you were at SIU Carbondale in the 1970s? He’ll protest.

The Illinois State Police put a kibosh on Dart’s plans by announcing that police agencies (like Dart’s) can’t use LEADS to file objections. They must use their own, internal department records and databases to ascertain if there is an issue that might serve as a basis to file an objection to an applicant holding a carry license. That was the intent of the sponsor of the legislation (written by Michael Madigan, if you didn’t already know that).

Dart is livid about the restriction. His whining temper tantrum has hit the Chicago media in recent days with headlines like:

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Slams Illinois Concealed Carry Law As A ‘Monstrosity’ – Huffington Post

Sheriff: Concealed carry process ‘fraught with problems and holes’ – Chicago Tribune

Sheriff Dart slams restrictions on concealed-carry background checks – Chicago Sun-Times

Sheriff Tom Dart rails against ‘horrifically unworkable’ concealed-carry law – Chicago Sun-Times

Concealed Carry Background Check System “Horrifically Unworkable,” Sheriff Says – Evanston Patch

In a nutshell, Dart – on his own – is trying to turn Illinois’ “shall issue” carry law into a “may issue” law by burying the new Illinois concealed carry appeals board with an tsunami of objections that the panel will never be able to wade through, effectively denying those applicants their permits.

He’s also threatening to go to the courts to seek an injunction against implementation of Illinois’ new carry law until unless would-be dictators like himself are allowed a chance to turn the new law into a “may issue” system where only Dart’s buddies can get a permit.

In case you’d forgotten, Chicago, Cook County’s largest city, had over 530 homicides last year. Yeah, the city with strict gun registration, gun bans and precious few (legal) gun owners.

Meanwhile, an hour west of Chicago lies Aurora, Illinois’ second largest city. A city without strict handgun laws, gun registration or any of that good stuff. Wanna take a guess how many homicides that city had last year?


Florida has over one million active carry permits – which are relatively unrestricted compared to Illinois’ law – and they had the lowest firearm-related violent crime rate in that state’s history last year.

This stuff isn’t rocket science. Regulating guns out of the hands of law-abiding people doesn’t lead to safer streets for innocent, everyday residents. It only emboldens bad guys to ply their trade as they know their victims will almost assuredly be unarmed and helpless.

It seems as though Tom Dart puts more effort into keeping the overwhelming law-abiding segment of his citizenry unarmed and helpless, while ignoring the rampant violent criminals prowling the streets in his jurisdiction. Only a truly low-information voter could appreciate and support that faulty sense of priorities.

Also, we’re thinking someone should send Tom a comb for Christmas.

John Boch is president of Guns Save Life. This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.


  1. avatar jwm says:

    If this douche put half that energy into catching real crooks cook county would be crime free.

    I basically seperate cops into one of two categories. 1. The cop that goes after real criminals. 2. The cop that tries to create criminals out of everybody.

    Category 2 needs to be in the gulag. We need a gulag in this country.

    1. avatar Erik says:

      A gulag? Really? I would suggest you are not thinking very clearly.

      1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        Hanging is a much better option for government employees who disrespect citizens.

        1. avatar Jeremy says:

          Hanging’s too good for them. Burning’s too good for them! They should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!

        2. avatar Rich Grise says:

          No. Don’t punish the body for the sins of the mind. Give them life in solitary. A physically comfortable bed and chair, a proper sink, toilet, shower, toiletries, and mirror, fresh linen and coveralls and three squares a day delivered by robots; and no human contact, no radio, no TV, and no reading or writing material for the rest of his natural life.

          Maybe a Bible.

          But definitely include a razor.

      2. avatar jwm says:

        I will settle for debadging the ones that view all citizens as crooks and just look for proof that they’re right. Honest cops that serve the public good we need. The others, we don’t.

    2. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      Real criminals are dangerous. Much safer to arrest people for made up crimes like gun and drug offenses.

    3. avatar Gene says:

      For completeness, there are at least two more categories:

      – Cops that are criminals; and
      – Cops that are bought/owned by criminals.

      The categories may not be mutually exclusive.

    4. avatar Rich Grise says:

      No. Simply shun them. You can’t fight violence by adding violence.

      1. avatar Paladin says:

        You can very effectively fight violence with violence, but only if you do it right. There are times when only a violent response will be adequate for defence. Most rapists wont stop just because you ask them nicely, but back up your demand with force and suddenly you become much more persuasive.

        As much as I’d rather have a society where no one would ever need to use force against another human being, I recognize that such a society simply isn’t possible. Predators are endemic to our species. We cannot separate ourselves from them. These predators only understand force. Those weaker than them are prey. I don’t intend to be preyed upon.

        Take your feel-good platitudes elsewhere. We live in the real world here.

        1. avatar Rich Grise says:

          “You can very effectively fight violence with violence, but only if you do it right. There are times when only a violent response will be adequate for defence. Most rapists wont stop just because you ask them nicely, but back up your demand with force and suddenly you become much more persuasive.”

          Well, you can stick the barrel of a cocked, loaded pistol up his nose, and say, “Go away.” He will most likely go, and no violence will have been done. Is that what you mean?

        2. avatar Paladin says:

          I would not point a firearm at someone if I did not have the will to use it. If you don’t intend to pull the trigger then why is the gun loaded in the first place? Beyond that, threatening violence is inherently an act of violence, if it is not then it has no teeth and is easily ignored.

          Using a firearm in self-defense is an acknowledgement of the value and necessity of force to rival force.

        3. avatar Rich Grise says:

          I still vote for brandishing. Yes, keep it loaded, and know that you have the power to to stop the threat, and that’ll very probably be enough to deter violence. I’d bet 100 to one that the sight of the business end of a .45 will make any thief lose interest in molesting you. If he doesn’t stop, but continues, then he is “voting with his feet” and shooting him now isn’t murder.

          Isn’t it preferable to NOT cause another death?

          And brandishing is absolutely not violence. You aren’t doing violence until you (or your bullet) touch him.

        4. avatar Paladin says:

          I’m not proposing shooting in every scenario, I agree that if the mere threat of force can settle the situation it’s likely best to leave it there. But the threat is meaningless if you don’t have the will to follow through on it should they fail to be deterred.

          Again, you cannot acknowledge the usefulness of the threat without acknowledging the potential need for actions over words. There will not always be time to talk them down. You cannot expect that an assailant will always listen to reason, or indeed, even to their own self-preservation instinct.

          Because of this I don’t particularly mark the difference between violence and threat of violence. By your own statements you agree that a criminal threatening you is sufficient justification to respond with force, even if they have not yet harmed you.

          If you recognize that there may be a need to pull the trigger you are acknowledging the need for violent force, you are acknowledging that you can in fact fight violence by adding your own violence.

        5. avatar Rich Grise says:

          If somebody’s holding the barrel of a gun to your face, do you need “proof” that it’s loaded to deter you from taking further action?

        6. avatar Jeremy says:

          Rich would rather let them live to rape another day.

        7. avatar Rich Grise says:

          “Rich would rather let them live to rape another day.”

          Which won’t happen because his next prospective victim will already have armed herself. And so on, until he either Darwinizes himself in frustration or decides to change his career path.

        8. avatar Rich Grise says:

          Apparently, Jeremy believes he has the authority to be judge, jury, and executioner on the spot. Hey, Jeremy – If some thug makes a threatening move at you, you draw on him and he runs away with no shots fired, would you chase after him and shoot him in the back?

        9. avatar Paladin says:

          Rich, you seem to be missing my point.

          If you carry a gun for self defense, or even acknowledge that some people have legitimate reason to do so, you cannot escape the knowledge that you may have to use it. The mere threat of violence is in and of itself a use of violence as a deterrent, and the threat is meaningless if you are not willing to follow through on it. Furthermore, it is naive to assume that mere threats will be sufficient to deter all criminals. While many crimes may be prevented by simply displaying a firearm, it will not stop all crimes. Not all criminals will be dissuaded. Loading your firearm and making the decision to carry it with you is an acknowledgement that you may have to use that firearm, and that you may have to use it for more than just display.

          The claim that violence only ever creates more violence cannot possibly be true. By your own action and your own statements you acknowledge this, and yet you continue to cling to this cognitive distortion claiming that you don’t.

        10. avatar Rich Grise says:

          “If you carry a gunown a fire extinguisher for self defensefire protection, or even acknowledge that some people have legitimate reason to do so, you cannot escape the knowledge that you may have to use it.”

          Right! Exactly my point! You have a fire extinguisher in your house, right? Dry chemical, probably. So, if your bacon catches on fire, do you immediately blast the stove with the fire extinguisher, or do you first try covering the bacon pan to see if that puts out the fire?

          It’s not always necessary to leap directly to condition red alert!

        11. avatar Paladin says:

          You’re still missing my point. I’m not saying that every situation will require you to shoot, I’m saying that there are some situations that will require you to shoot. Like I said, a threat may indeed deter some criminals, but it will not deter all criminals. When you encounter a criminal who is not deterred by the threat, you must follow through on it. The mere possibility of such a situation disproves your point.

    5. avatar Chad says:

      If he were to actually go after the criminals in Crook County, he would have to start at City Hall and work his way down to his own office.

    6. avatar WI Patriot says:

      There is a reason it nicknamed “Crook” county…

    7. avatar MP says:

      He’s nothing but a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted worm! Hanging’s too good for him. Burning’s too good for him! He should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!

    8. avatar DickG says:

      “If this douche put half that energy into catching real crooks cook county would be crime free.”
      Oh, come now. He works for the real criminals in Cook County!
      The real question is: When is the next election?

  2. avatar jirdesteva says:

    What do you mean “would be a petty, tyrannical dictator if given half a chance……” It appears to me that has that act down pat.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Everyone please send a polite and informative email to this despicable tyrant: [email protected]

  3. Being denied a permit for attending SIU seems more than reasonable.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    1. avatar John L. says:

      As in two extra letters more – a “u” and an “n”, perhaps?

  4. avatar Jim R says:

    There’s no such thing in this country as “may-issue”. May-issue might as well be no-issue with all the restrictions they place on it.

    1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      “Elite issue” would be more accurate.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      And is exactly the argument we have been making here – if you allow any government agency the power to violate the “…shall not be infringed.” part of the Second Amendment by creating and monitoring list of persons prohibited from exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected RKBA that agency WILL add as many possible exceptions to that list as they possibly can in order to deny everyone their rights.

      If the government decides who MAY exercise their 2A rights then it is no longer a right, but a license issued according to that government’s standards.

    3. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

      Can we call it ‘NJ issue” (in the same sort of way as NY reload)? In theory, the permit is available and even makes no distinction between concealed and open carry, but no “regular” person has ever seen one. It only exists in myths and fables.

      1. avatar Scott P says:

        Maryland is exactly the same way.

  5. avatar DrVino says:

    Sounds like the sheriff has higher political aspirations…..

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      Yep, or low aspirations to higher office.

  6. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    This guy needs to be voted out of office come next election. He has wasted so much time trying to keep good citizens from arming themselves against the turds that he should be throwing behind bars. He must spend so much time doing this that he forgets to get a haircut.

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      He’s in Cook County. He’s got that office for life.

    2. avatar anonymous says:

      He’s in Cook County. He’s got that office for life.

      And possibly beyond…

  7. avatar Too close to chicago says:

    I am thankful that I am living in lake county … 1 mile north of cook county and mostly out of the reach of this jack ass sheriff.

  8. avatar ST says:

    The Cook County Sheriff answers to the Chicago Machine.Said machine is staffed with criminals, some of whom did a lot more bad things in the 70’s then pass out drunk behind Saluki Staduim.The Cook County Sheriff hates CCW, because his criminal party bosses don’t want their friends getting perforated.

  9. avatar Rich Grise says:

    Has anyone pulled that one move where, when the cop asks to see your permit, you pull out your pocket Constitution and say, “Here.”?

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      I was reading Penn Jillette’s book recently, and apparently he carries around a bill of rights etched onto a piece of stainless steel. The idea is that you can walk through a metal detector (like at the airport) and it will go off. When the guard asks you to remove the item, you look at him (or her), pull out the sheet, and very loudly and sternly say “FINE! HERE, TAKE MY RIGHTS!”

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        Love that guy, BUT…I suspect that particular piece of theater works better when you are an internationally recognized celebrity.

  10. avatar Tom says:

    Maybe its time to do some dirt digging on Dart. I`m sure he has lots of skeletons in his closet,after all its Cook County. We need to stand up to tin horn tyrants like this a– clown. I know that any corruption on the part of Dart will never get published or reported by local media. But if blogs and the alternative media picks up the story, Dart`s life might get harder.

    1. avatar Will says:

      I agree… Dart AND his whole department had better be first in line to be screened… BY AN INDEPENDENT PARTY not associated with MAIG or The Chicago Politikal Machine… if objections can be found, by their own rules for everyone else, they should be canned…. Let the one without sin cast the first stone. Betchya they’ll decline and state that the very fact they are cops is a good enough indicator they’d pass.

      BTW: Merry Christmas all.

  11. avatar Nigil Quid says:

    It’s already enough of a PITA to fill in all of your addresses for the previous ten years, so every local jurisdiction can object. Why a full blown state background check isn’t good enough I’m not sure, since they’re going to do that anyway. Tom wants to object for things that didn’t happen in his jurisdiction, in case the other local cops won’t, because they’re not facists.

  12. avatar wrc says:

    Every minute of time they give the Clown Dart is a minute that Illinois citizens of all stripes get to point and laugh.

    The Chicago residents can laugh, because his “empire” is nothing compared to the CPD.

    The Suburbanites in Cook Cook County laugh because they have almost no jurisdiction. They are relegated (rightly) to unincorporated Cook.

    The rest of the state couldn’t care less, but he is humorous nonetheless.

    Dart should stick to falsifying timecards for clout cops, and kissing gang leader ass over the rest of the corrupt county force.

  13. avatar Jake54 says:

    For most politicians, and especially Democrats control is their life blood. Anything that would transfer any of that control away from them to the average citizen terrifies them. Tom Dart by no means is an experienced law enforcement official, he is however a lifelong political hack. The fact that he is full panic mode reveals his fear and weakness. The good honest people of Illinois, and Cook County deserve much better. Don’t back down for a second, get your concealed carry. Sooner or later the annoying yapping dog with the bad hair cut will shut up and go away.

  14. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Wah Wah wah dumbass of a Sherriff..

  15. avatar DuggR says:

    The reason Illinois is so screwed up is due to the over abundance of criminals in non-criminal positions. This is not rocket science, when the bad guys go after the good guys then nothing but bad happens. This guy is the poster boy for this. I call it shit for brains.

  16. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    People who live in glass houses. . . . $20 says he has something (or someone) in his past that he would prefer to keep out of the limelight. Maybe TTAG needs to crowdsource $100k and offer a big reward to anyone with verifiable dirt on the good sheriff, much like Larry Flynt at Hustler did for various political offices. Just saying.

  17. avatar Stinkeye says:

    Meanwhile, an hour west of Chicago lies Aurora, Illinois’ second largest city. A city without strict handgun laws, gun registration or any of that good stuff.”

    As much as I revile the city of Chicago (having formerly lived in Indiana and commuted to work in Chicago), this comparison is laughable. There’s a lot more to the difference in crime rates between those two cities than gun laws. I’m sure the gun laws contribute in some small way to the difference, but have a peek at the demographics and economics of both places, and you’ll see some other differences that are much bigger factors in the homicide rate.

    1. avatar MOG says:

      True, but factoring in those differences would be politically incorrect. A higher crime.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Exactly! This is a problem on both sides of the gun rights debate. Nobody wants to actually look at and solve the underlying problems that cause violence, they’d rather focus on the weapons used in said violence. As loathsome as the gun laws in Chicago are, a complete repeal and switch to Arizona’s or Vermont’s gun laws in Illinois wouldn’t change the homicide statistics in Chicago very much.

        Allowing law-abiding folks to keep and bear in Chicago would certainly help a bit, but the vast majority of the deaths in that city are criminals killing criminals. I’ll wager a very high number of those 530 murder victims were themselves (illegally) armed.

        1. avatar Rich Grise says:

          Somehow we need to find a nonthreatening way to let them know about the uncounted number of
          lives that are saved every day by guns. We should start a registry of DGUs somewhere so everybody
          in the country sees a dgu, they can log in and record it.

          So, if I wrote that, (which I can do), how would I ensure that I don’t get into trouble by having an entry for race? And, I’m open to suggestions on what info should be included.

        2. avatar Rich Grise says:

          “underlying problems that cause violence.”

          That’s the war on drugs. How are there still people who don’t know that?

  18. avatar Murray says:

    not much point in you guys having a written constitution if your public servants and politicians and to a degree political appointees to SCOTUS either ignore or wont comply with it, your turning into the UK where my rights are what politicians (or the EU where an unelected Commission) say they are on the day. Perhaps you need another amendment making it a federal criminal offense with mandatory jail time (5 years worrying about dropping the soap should do it) to be applied to your public servants and politicians or those citizens whose actions show an intent to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights if they are found to be guilty of actions which are not compliant with your constitution.

    1. avatar Rich Grise says:

      It’d have to be an initiative/referendum thing.
      Here, try this:

  19. avatar MOG says:

    “Every Texas Sheriff, upon assuming their office, took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the great state of Texas. Of course, the Sheriffs of Texas are committed to uphold their oath of office. It goes without saying that Texas Sheriffs recognize that Amendment II of the Constitution provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” and that Amendment IV provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” (understood, some mileage might vary depending on circumstance).

    Even in Illinois, is not the man elected? Seriously, I thought the position of sheriff was an elected office. Do voters go along with this petty wanna be tyrant? My experience has been from Kerrville, Texas along a rough line horizontally from Tenn. to the north, and Fla. to the south, and on to SC. Any thing north of that band is foreign to me.

  20. avatar Jerry R says:

    Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy wouldn’t pass an inquiry based on your reports of his past record and convictions in his previous position. Maybe he could carry pepper spray.

  21. avatar Aharon says:

    Let’s turn it around. If any Cook County LE officer (or wanna be) has anything ‘dirty’ in their background as far back as age five then they lose their Gestapo err I meant LE badge and are unable to work in any tax-payer funded cushy government job. If any LE officer ever started a fight or bullied another as far back as grade school kindergarten then he or she is unqualified to be a cop and carry a gun.

  22. avatar anonymous says:

    Got a traffic ticket or three? He’ll protest.
    An arrest where charges were later dismissed? He’ll protest.
    A DUI from twenty or thirty years ago? He’ll protest.
    Your spouse file for an order of protection against you when you got divorced at her lawyer’s request? Even if it was denied, Dart will protest your application.
    Underage drinking ticket when you were at SIU Carbondale in the 1970s? He’ll protest.

    Is he going to apply the same standards to the law enforcement officers in his department? Or are the unionized-government-employees-with-guns still going to be held to a lower standard than civilians?

  23. avatar Hegemon says:

    Most cops are out there to do the right thing. Cops who have more of an administrative function are out there to screw people. If you work the streets you have my everlasting respect, if you work the system to your benefit as a pencil pusher you need to get out of the way of everyday citizens and get lost.

  24. avatar CoolBreeze72 says:

    We don’t need a Gulag… we have Detroit! Dress him up in a shirt with big letters on the back that sez POLICE, and put a badge on him that is four times the size of his current one…and send his azz to Dee-twah! Let him play gun control all up in thaar.

  25. avatar Aaron says:

    Hey did anyone notice that Cook County on the sheriff’s seal looks like a holstered gun? Hope kids don’t get suspended for drawing it.

  26. avatar Chris says:

    Just to note- Aurora isn’t the greatest example to use as a comparison to Chicago on differing murder rates/gun laws. Aurora had a full AWB in effect through that time.

    Citation, per Illinois State Police’s Local Firearm Ordinance listing:

  27. avatar fishydude says:

    I suspect that even in states with fairly liberal “Shall Issue” laws, that as the good Sheriff Howard observed, that if one overlaid a crime incident map over a map of mandated “gun free” (AKA free fire) zones, one would find a substantial level of overlap.

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