Screen capture by John Boch. website.
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Illinois gun owners have serious concerns about Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mandate to wear masks in public. The order conflicts with a law that makes wearing a mask while armed a felony. And now, after hearing increasing concerns from gun owners via media outlets over the past few days, the Illinois State Police (ISP) has leaped into action.

On Tuesday, the ISP released a statement and posted it at the ISP’s Firearm Services Bureau website:


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.

Let’s break that down.

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.

That’s good to know.

At that point, no doubt plenty of Illinois gun owners breathed a sigh of relief. Common sense prevails at the Illinois State Police.

Then we kept reading.

“[A]nd are not committing any other violations of Illinois law.

So, if an Illinois license-holder inadvertently finds him- or herself in a “no guns” zone, does that change the penalty? And given the large number of prohibited locations, along with a handful of businesses that fail to conspicuously post their establishments as “no guns allowed” zones, it’s not uncommon for this to happen to otherwise well-meaning CCW holders.

Right now, for a first-time offense, carrying in a prohibited area stands as a $150 fine and they can’t take your gun or your carry license. On the other hand, under this new “not committing any other violations of Illinois law” provision, does that mean the penalty for inadvertently carrying in a prohibited location while wearing the mandated mask goes way up to a Class 4 felony where the state takes all of your guns and your carry license?  For life? And potentially your freedom for one to three years, too?

Illinois has a LOT of prohibited locations, and it’s not difficult to inadvertently run afoul of one of them from time to time. These include:

430 ILCS 66/65Sec. 65. Prohibited areas.
(a) A licensee under this Act shall not knowingly carry a firearm on or into:
(1) Any building, real property, and parking area  under the control of a public or private elementary or secondary school.
(2) Any building, real property, and parking area under the control of a pre-school or child care facility, including any room or portion of a building under the control of a pre-school or child care facility. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent the operator of a child care facility in a family home from owning or possessing a firearm in the home or license under this Act, if no child under child care at the home is present in the home or the firearm in the home is stored in a locked container when a child under child care at the home is present in the home.
(3) Any building, parking area, or portion of a building under the control of an officer of the executive or legislative branch of government, provided that nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit a licensee from carrying a concealed firearm onto the real property, bikeway, or trail in a park regulated by the Department of Natural Resources or any other designated public hunting area or building where firearm possession is permitted as established by the Department of Natural Resources under Section 1.8 of the Wildlife Code.
(4) Any building designated for matters before a circuit court, appellate court, or the Supreme Court, or any building or portion of a building under the control of the Supreme Court.
(5) Any building or portion of a building under the control of a unit of local government.
(6) Any building, real property, and parking area under the control of an adult or juvenile detention or correctional institution, prison, or jail.
(7) Any building, real property, and parking area under the control of a public or private hospital or hospital affiliate, mental health facility, or nursing home.
(8) Any bus, train, or form of transportation paid for in whole or in part with public funds, and any building, real property, and parking area under the control of a public transportation facility paid for in whole or in part with public funds.
(9) Any building, real property, and parking area under the control of an establishment that serves alcohol on its premises, if more than 50% of the establishment’s gross receipts within the prior 3 months is from the sale of alcohol. The owner of an establishment who knowingly fails to prohibit concealed firearms on its premises as provided in this paragraph or who knowingly makes a false statement or record to avoid the prohibition on concealed firearms under this paragraph is subject to the penalty under subsection (c-5) of Section 10-1 of the Liquor Control Act of 1934.
(10) Any public gathering or special event conducted on property open to the public that requires the issuance of a permit from the unit of local government, provided this prohibition shall not apply to a licensee who must walk through a public gathering in order to access his or her residence, place of business, or vehicle.
(11) Any building or real property that has been issued a Special Event Retailer’s license as defined in Section 1-3.17.1 of the Liquor Control Act during the time designated for the sale of alcohol by the Special Event Retailer’s license, or a Special use permit license as defined in subsection (q) of Section 5-1 of the Liquor Control Act during the time designated for the sale of alcohol by the Special use permit license.
(12) Any public playground.
(13) Any public park, athletic area, or athletic facility under the control of a municipality or park district, provided nothing in this Section shall prohibit a licensee from carrying a concealed firearm while on a trail or bikeway if only a portion of the trail or bikeway includes a public park.
(14) Any real property under the control of the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
(15) Any building, classroom, laboratory, medical clinic, hospital, artistic venue, athletic venue, entertainment venue, officially recognized university-related organization property, whether owned or leased, and any real property, including parking areas, sidewalks, and common areas under the control of a public or private community college, college, or university.
(16) Any building, real property, or parking area under the control of a gaming facility licensed under the Riverboat Gambling Act or the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975, including an inter-track wagering location licensee.
(17) Any stadium, arena, or the real property or parking area under the control of a stadium, arena, or any collegiate or professional sporting event.
(18) Any building, real property, or parking area under the control of a public library.
(19) Any building, real property, or parking area under the control of an airport.
(20) Any building, real property, or parking area under the control of an amusement park.
(21) Any building, real property, or parking area under the control of a zoo or museum.
(22) Any street, driveway, parking area, property, building, or facility, owned, leased, controlled, or used by a nuclear energy, storage, weapons, or development site or facility regulated by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The licensee shall not under any circumstance store a firearm or ammunition in his or her vehicle or in a compartment or container within a vehicle located anywhere in or on the street, driveway, parking area, property, building, or facility described in this paragraph.
(23) Any area where firearms are prohibited under federal law.
(a-5) Nothing in this Act shall prohibit a public or private community college, college, or university from:
(1) prohibiting persons from carrying a firearm within a vehicle owned, leased, or controlled by the college or university;
(2) developing resolutions, regulations, or policies regarding student, employee, or visitor misconduct and discipline, including suspension and expulsion;
(3) developing resolutions, regulations, or policies regarding the storage or maintenance of firearms, which must include designated areas where persons can park vehicles that carry firearms; and
(4) permitting the carrying or use of firearms for the purpose of instruction and curriculum of officially recognized programs, including but not limited to military science and law enforcement training programs, or in any designated area used for hunting purposes or target shooting.
(a-10) The owner of private real property of any type may prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms on the property under his or her control. The owner must post a sign in accordance with subsection (d) of this Section indicating that firearms are prohibited on the property, unless the property is a private residence.
(b) Notwithstanding subsections (a), (a-5), and (a-10) of this Section except under paragraph (22) or (23) of subsection (a), any licensee prohibited from carrying a concealed firearm into the parking area of a prohibited location specified in subsection (a), (a-5), or (a-10) of this Section shall be permitted to carry a concealed firearm on or about his or her person within a vehicle into the parking area and may store a firearm or ammunition concealed in a case within a locked vehicle or locked container out of plain view within the vehicle in the parking area. A licensee may carry a concealed firearm in the immediate area surrounding his or her vehicle within a prohibited parking lot area only for the limited purpose of storing or retrieving a firearm within the vehicle’s trunk, provided the licensee ensures the concealed firearm is unloaded prior to exiting the vehicle. For purposes of this subsection, “case” includes a glove compartment or console that completely encloses the concealed firearm or ammunition, the trunk of the vehicle, or a firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container.
(c) A licensee shall not be in violation of this Section while he or she is traveling along a public right of way that touches or crosses any of the premises under subsection (a), (a-5), or (a-10) of this Section if the concealed firearm is carried on his or her person in accordance with the provisions of this Act or is being transported in a vehicle by the licensee in accordance with all other applicable provisions of law.
(d) Signs stating that the carrying of firearms is prohibited shall be clearly and conspicuously posted at the entrance of a building, premises, or real property specified in this Section as a prohibited area, unless the building or premises is a private residence. Signs shall be of a uniform design as established by the Department and shall be 4 inches by 6 inches in size. The Department shall adopt rules for standardized signs to be used under this subsection.
(Source: P.A. 98-63, eff. 7-9-13.)

For those who have carried, you have probably had your shirt hang up on your firearm at least once, leaving it partially exposed. In Illinois, that might pose a violation of Illinois’ CCW law. So if someone sees the butt of your gun accidentally holding up your shirt while you’re wearing your mask, does that become a Class 4 felony?

And then there’s another scenario brought to me by a retired police officer, with five gun battles in his 30 years as a cop. “What if you get pulled over for speeding or are cited following an accident? Does that allow a felony firearms arrest if masked?” he asked. “It is another violation under a strict reading of their statement.”

Here’s another one: Retired law enforcement in Illinois have an annual qualification requirement to carry under the national HR-218 law. If a retired cop’s qualification has lapsed because departments aren’t running qualifications in the name of social distancing, will the retired officer face a felony arrest for wearing a mandated mask while carrying?

The ISP continued with their non-clarifying guidance.

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.

While the ISP might have confidence that Illinois officers and prosecutors will use sound discretion in not charging police officers wearing a mask while on duty, plenty of us do not share that confidence when it comes to concealed carry license-holders. Especially in jurisdictions that take a dim view of gun owners, armed self-defense and the right-to-carry.

Remember Hale Demar? Demar lived in the affluent Cook County suburb of Wilmette.  When a burglar returned for a second helping of his valuables, Mr. Demar shot him with a handgun.

At the time of the shooting, Wilmette had a handgun ban on the books. Did the city’s police department use sound discretion in not arresting the victim of a burglary and then a home invasion for defending his life with a handgun?

No. Hardly. Not only did Wilmette police arrest Mr. Demar for an ordinance violation for the handgun, they also charged him with a felony for an expired FOID card.

But the ISP says they trust prosecutors to use sound discretion.

Do they mean the kind of “sound discretion” used by the Cook County State’s Attorney in dropping sixteen charges against Jussie Smollett? The county that leads the nation in wrongful convictions?

Let’s face it, Prairie State gun owners have plenty of reasons to express serious concerns about politically-motivated government agents using “sound discretion” to not pursue felony charges for lawful gun owners wearing a mask while packing heat with their carry license.

Relying on officer and prosecutorial discretion to avoid losing one’s gun rights for life surely seems like poor public policy.

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  1. ” ISP has confidence that law enforcement officers across the state will use appropriate judgment ”

    Ain’t going to happen!

    • In the smaller, normal towns (if there are any left in IL) I think cops will. In Chicongo, expect the worse. Who would want to become a Chicago Police Officer to begin with? You have to be insane, that’s why LE agencies in cesspools like Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, Oakland, etc, hire questionable candidates unfit to become cops, folks with good values and backgrounds interested in LE apply elsewhere, where normal human beings work and live.

    • …or try to stomp a barmaid to death, or commit a series of home invasion robberies, then try to take out murder for hire contracts on each other.

  2. “What if you get pulled over for speeding or are cited following an accident? Does that allow a felony firearms arrest if masked?”

    the masked drivers are a source of pure enterainment for me. i like my van, but i don’t care if it gets the flu. the masked muzlin drivers howevr, annoy me to no end. no one should be peripherally challenged while operating.

  3. This is a non-issue, people. For a applicable case to exist, a cop will have to make the deliberate decision to arrest. Then the D.A. of that area will have to make a deliberate decision to apply the charges. Not going to happen, knowing that any defense attorney will simply refer to the ISP’s statement and apply the “reasonable person” test, and then demand a full court trial before a jury. Plus, the attorney can bazooka his client’s case all over social media to highlight the absurdity. Any charges will then immediately be dropped.


    • Haz, they can beat the charge but they can’t beat the ride. They’ll get a dismissal or acquittal, probably, maybe definitely, but they’ll spend at least 20 large to get it.

      • I said “any defense attorney”. That includes court-appointed ones. This is that cut-and-dried simple to defend.

        • In most jurisdictions, you can’t get a free court-appointed attorney if you can afford to pay for a private attorney.

          But I’ll tell you what — the next time you get arrested (if ever, and I certainly hope you never will), you use a court appointed attorney. I promise that I’ll visit you one weekend a year. I’ll even bring cookies!

        • Court appointed “free” attorneys do not defend you.
          They are a part of the system.
          Their job is to arrange your plea bargain
          Not waste the courts time on a trial

        • @ docduracoat: I knew an IL public defender pretty well some years ago. She was passionate about doing a good job. When scolded by incarcerated felons telling her ‘you’re not doing enough to get me off’ she responded telling them it was not her job to beat the charge. Her job was to see that all the ‘rules’ were followed and that the State had met their burden of proof.

        • So, I Haz A Question, how long have you lived in Illinois? What, you don’t? Then you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about!

          Just because it is supposed to happen a certain way, doesn’t mean it will, especially when it pertains to the law in leftist states!

      • AND, while they beat it, they WILL have all there firearms taken into custody for te duration in more than a few localities (Crook County), at a minimum the carried weapon in others.

    • If it happens to someone it is a big issue. Does not matter if the charge is easy to beat, it is still a pain in the neck with potentially high costs, loss of work time, suspension of rights and the need to fight the bureaucracy to regain them.

      There is also risk depending upon how the individual officer handles the incident. Writing a citation is one thing, arresting a person involves risk, especially to the person who is being arrested for a victimless crime manufactured entirely out of politician pronouncements.

        • “Photos, prints, DNA, and the company of others with shared toilets. What fun.”

          And if anyone ever does a Google search on your name, like a potential new employer, for example, that arrest record and mugshot are on the web *forever*.

          It has real ramifications, you will likely never know if a potential employer sees that as a part of the screening process and just pitches your resume in the trash.

          It will haunt you for life…

    • A cop made a conscious decision to try to stomp a barmaid to death for not serving him.
      A mere false arrest doesn’t even merit a second thought.

      • Look, there are plenty of bad beat cops in Chicago. Everyone know that. Detectives are another breed. You can sit and write stories all day long about bad cops. We all know there are good cops and bad cops. Just like any other large place of business. I could write stories all day long, good and bad. My partner and I would not make an arrest in many of the scenarios posted here. But, I know some that probably will. Bottom line from someone who works the city, you simply have no idea what it is like to deal with all kinds of nationalities, personalities, rich, poor and those that are just waiting to kill you if given the chance. I have seen too many good cops turn to “bad” cops from the stress of the amount of people who want to kill you for no other reason than you are a cop. And, God forbid, you take a round that deflects off the hood of your squad at 3am in total darkness. As you call for assistance, you spot the muzzle flash from the shooter firing again. You return fire and hopefully you kill him before he kills you. Here is the point of this. And this is a weekly event for most city cops. After the shooting your supervisor arrives, takes your weapon and all extra mags. You are immediately taken back to the station and put in an interrogation room. No one has said one word to you yet. After being interviewed for hours, they tell you what you will say, do and how it will effect your job. You realize, no supervisor or higher will be there to have your back. I’ll end this here. If anyone would like to ride a shift, contact the Mayors office and request a ride along. I will be happy to take anyone out on the graveyard shift. It won’t be long to see why some cops carry drop guns, modify reports (no explination) and decide who to let go and who to make sure they get an arrest. Remember, people to call the cops to say thanks or hello. We deal with the lowest of life during a normal shift. How would handle this if this was your job and had to deal with the politics and the protests from those who want to hang you, to bad guys taking shots at you. Sorry for the long post. I do not mean to be argumentative nor do I support bad cops at all. But, I do understand why they have become numb and at the point where they simply don’t care. Have a great and safe day/night.

        • Thanks you LtDan!!! Couldn’t have said it any better!! I am sick and tired of people trashing law enforcement!! I am sick of people killing or attempting to kill police officers because they are cops!! I am sick of the double standards for filthy, disgusting street thugs AND ALL POLITICIANS, as opposed to those applied to law enforcement!! I am sick of ignorant people who continue to vote for these politicians! I have lived in the Chicago area for decades, and I can honestly say I have never been in such a hellhole of corruption and bias in my life!!! I can hardly wait to be rid of the place and NEVER look back!! Until these idiots have worked ONE SHIFT in Law Enforcement I wish they would sit down and shut the hell up!!!

    • In the mean time , you go to jail , PAY hard earned CASH to an insider who happens to own a bail bond co. You get a permanent felony arrest record , thousands of your hard earned money for a LAWYER !
      YUP , no problem , the system works , have faith , it will all work out in the end !
      Sheep !!!

  4. “…leads the nation in wrongful convictions?”
    please. john, this eight year old article references a northwestern program that successfully overturned rightfully convicted felons through lies, manipulation and coercion. i don’t trust the isp to do anything right, and while this article smacks of hysteria (don’t wear a mask…) it is food for thought. but linking to a garbage article whose main premise has been thoroughly discredited is (as lillian carte once said) “just spreading it.”
    the innocence project was a scam.

  5. We really live in what I qualify as a world of lies. Privileges and oppression that comes with tyranny have not been abolished, they just appear less obvious. When I recently read Dr Raoult’s asinine (and justified) response to the clowns at the VA (who conducted a “study” on treating COVID19 patients with hydroxychloroquine), it made me realize most studies out there probably have major flaws in the way they were conducted, in order to influence a result, knowing the sheep (us) and the media will not second guess anything. Forget about politicians, most are too busy getting overpaid for their incompetence and lack of integrity. When you think about it, you have agencies such as the FDA that concluded at the time OxyContin was safe and not addictive, and recently the VA and other “experts” concluded hydroxychloroquine wasn’t efficient or safe for Covid19 patients, simply because these idiots couldn’t conduct an honest study to begin with. Let’s just prescribe oxycontin left and right, and 20ish years later let’s just be extra cautious with hydroxychloroquine because it’s only been used for 60 years, or maybe it’s just not profitable enough and the agenda is not to actually end the Covid19 crisis?
    In addition, Dr Raoult has publicly stated a while ago he did not believe human behavior was causing global warming/climate change, and the mathematical models used were not adequate in predicting nature. The globalists must really hate this guy. So let’s just trust the clowns at CNN, MSNBC, the VA, and all the anti Trumpers who clearly do not want this crisis to end. Efficient treatments have been used around the world (+90% recovery rate on 3,000 patients for Dr Raoult’s team). Apparently millions of brain dead Americans enjoy the social distancing, face masks, and waiting in line like commies at the store.
    How can you expect any government agency to make sense at this point, a world of lies. The media are just despicable, a bunch of anti American harpies constantly spreading fear, hate, and lies. Opinions are now facts, they get to decide what you should see and hear and when or how much of it. I am expecting stuff to hit the fan one way or another in my lifetime.

  6. I’m reminded of Justice Roberts’ words in US v. Stevens (2010):

    Not to worry, the Government says: The Executive Branch construes §48 to reach only “extreme” cruelty, Brief for United States 8, and it “neither has brought nor will bring a prosecution for anything less,” Reply Brief 6–7. The Government hits this theme hard, invoking its prosecutorial discretion several times. See id., at 6–7, 10, and n. 6, 19, 22. But the First Amendment protects against the Government; it does not leave us at the mercy of noblesse oblige . We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promised to use it responsibly

  7. Cops can’t make law. Depending on any police statement that they will ‘use discretion’ regarding a law is useless. Not only is it not binding legally, there’s always that one guy who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘discretion.’ You know, the one who would give his mother a speeding ticket for going 5 over?

    This is why it’s so ridiculous when states make vague laws about guns and expect the police to figure it out. Naturally the police don’t issue any binding legal opinions and everyone is left in the dark trying to figure out what is or is not legal until someone meets “that guy,” gets arrested and the prosecutor doesn’t drop it.

  8. Wow! After reading the list of Illinois prohibited places it dawned on me that it would be easier (and far fewer trees harvested for paper) for the Illinois Legislature to list only the approved places…

  9. I know Hale DeMar from when I lived in Chicago, went to his Restaurant Oak Tree in the Gold Coast every Saturday. What a great guy- i mean really a great guy! I had to get out of IL because it’s an unbearable, cesspool of corrupt garbage. Wilmette and the rest of the North Shore is filled with rich liberals stricken with white-guilt who feel perfectly entitled to vote away your 2nd amendment rights cuz… feelz. God Bless Hale DeMar

    • They know these laws would not be enforced against them, but against the “bitter clingers” inhabiting the South Side of Chicago.

      If mass numbers of people in their neighborhoods were arrested for violating “common sense”, “sensible” gun legislation, they would quickly turn against gun control.

  10. Well of course not. Most general statutes pertaining to guns are clear as mud and they are purposely written that way. My state went out of its way to hire some lawyers and write the GS’s pertaining to CCW and then had the same lawyers write the handbook for the course. It is so clear that 2 of the 10 written questions required to pass are answered incorrectly most of the time. Add that to the CS emergency declarations that begin with “Where As”. What the hell does that mean and why can’t they statutes and declarations be written in plain english? Remember in November folks. Remember in November.

  11. All those anti-gun rules are for one reason: to prevent, as much as possible citizens from owning and especially carrying their firearm. Too many pompous anti 2A liberals in IL. No way I would ever live in IL

  12. This is a non-story, just like the first day it was brought up. The statute being talked about says “in such manner as to conceal his or her identity; or” meaning intending to hide your identity.

    Why is this all the sudden an issue, when people have been wearing masks, scarves and hoods every winter since Illinois got concealed carry? Because people are looking for boogeymen in everything, instead of concentrating on the ones we know are real and are threats.

    This is doing nothing but taking away attention from the real threats.

  13. Entirely too much Fu**ery going on in that state for me to contend with. Thank God I’m not anchored there!

    Those with the means and ability should simply leave Illinois! Why would you want to live in such a state that’s so incredibly hostile towards Americans and our Constitutional Rights?

    If you do leave, please remember to leave all that twisted thinking you may have in your head there in Illinois! There are a few Free States left where you could escape to. As you vacate, please take up a strong love for freedom and the new life that’s ahead for you. Become involved in civic affairs in your new found home state, and seek the advise of the locals if you are unsure on how to vote in local and state issues. This is until you can gain your footing on what actually works, and what doesn’t work – least you find your new state shifting in the direction of the one you just left. Here in Texas we are suffering this very thing as more and more former californians are coming here to escape the insanity, only to find they are bringing their political contagion with them!

    It’s not that you don’t have a political opinion, it’s the fact you’ve never been a citizen of a free state, and in your likely upbringing from your home state and it’s public educational system – you were never taught the values and truth of history, your Constitutional Rights, and the way Government is suppose to be, and your responsibilities to participate in the process while NOT focusing on changing our current way of life.

    If you leave, be sure to bring your money, business, and all that’s good, while refusing to support business that operate from communistic states.

    Make them hurt in such a way that destroys others from wanting to live there too. Although harsh, it’s the only way to defeat these forces of evil, and purge them from society.

    Vote Trump, and the full Republican ticket in November. Everything else will fall into place as much as current conditions will dictate.

    My Opinions,,,,

  14. Don’t worry, you can carry and even USE a gun in Chicago. S.A. Kimmie Foxx let’s everyone else go….


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