A portion of the concealed carry bill that’s in the governor’s hands is coming under criticism. The seven-person panel that would hear appeals from concealed carry applicants who are denied is, under the bill, exempt from the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act requests. Josh Sharp, the director of government relations for the Illinois Press Association, says that makes all of the board’s actions secretive.
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“If they wanted to, they could get together at someone’s house at midnight to talk about why they’re denying someone’s concealed carry permit, and they would be within their legal rights to do that,” Sharp says. Sharp says the panel’s use of public money would also be exempt from public record. He says instead of the complete exclusion from “sunshine” policies, the bill should require compliance with an exemption to protect the privacy of applicants and keep their information from being published.
“This concealed carry license review board is a public body and they spend money just like any other board in the state,” Sharp says. “That’s what we’re after. We’re not after gun owner names and we’re not after anything else about them.” Illinois has until July 9 to enact a concealed carry law.