With Illinois' new concealed carry law set to take effect next month, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is once again taking aim at the legislation he called a “monstrosity.”
"Our legislature came up with some hybrid version that has done nothing but confuse people for starters, and clearly it's going to lead to people who should not have weapons, they're going to have them," Dart said in a Tuesday press conference according to ABC Chicago.
Dart, who has long opposed concealed carry, said the way the law is crafted leaves it "fraught with problems and holes."
During his conference, Dart cited the background check procedure, the limits of local police's access to a federal database of criminal records and an overlooked mental health component.
Zeroing in on the background checks portion of the law, Dart said the logistics were "horrifically unworkable."
Per the new law, police are tasked with completing background checks on concealed carry permit applicants. Local law enforcement have the authority to flag an application, but they have just 30 days to uncover something in an applicant's background the state police may have missed.
"This clearly puts all local law enforcement on the hook because the populace is going to sit there and say, 'Why didn't you catch this person?' I'm left saying, 'How could we have caught them?' We have no way of looking into any of this," Dart said.
Noting the Sheriff's Office's already stretched-thin resources, Dart said his staff will be under an incredible -- and unworkable -- burden to make sure a permit isn't issued to someone dangerous. According to the Sun-Times, Dart hinted it was all but inevitable someone with a questionable background will be issued a permit and will shoot someone.
The sheriff said he and other local law enforcement officials also won't have access to the state's criminal records database, further hamstringing efforts, CBS Chicago reports.
Objections are automatically mounted against any applicant with five or more arrests on their record or three or more arrests for gang-related offenses. According to NBC Chicago, Dart says he wants to make a "blanket" objection to anyone who's been arrested in the state within the last seven years or anyone with known gang affiliations.
Dart said the narrow 30-day objections deadline and lack of resources makes it all but impossible to properly screen applicants who might have a domestic violence history or mental health issues.
“When you throw in the mental health component here, it's like what in God's name were these people thinking?” Dart said of state lawmakers according to the Tribune. “They were in such a hurry to get something done.”
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, criticized Dart's concerns saying, “I think that it's a good chance for Sheriff Dart to get some press."
Dart, meanwhile, is standing firm.
"It is misleading to the public to let them believe we are able to conduct any serious review of applicants when we cannot."