Judge: Retired Ill. COs not entitled to concealed carry permits under LEOSA
A federal judge ruled that retired corrections officers in Illinois are not entitled to permits to carry concealed firearms under federal law
By CorrectionsOne Staff
CHICAGO — A federal judge ruled that retired corrections officers in Illinois are not entitled to permits to carry concealed firearms under federal law.
The Cook County Record reports that U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman ruled on Friday that federal law doesn’t compel the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, or any other county or state correctional agency, to classify COs as law enforcement officers.
The ruling comes after a group of retired COs filed a lawsuit alleging that they were denied concealed carry permits by the Illinois state board. The board denied the permits because as COs, their service “didn’t meet the definition of law enforcement under Illinois law and administrative rules.”
The retired officers said the board violated the Constitution and the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, which they said gave them the right, as sworn sheriff’s deputies, to the permits.
The plaintiffs said the board’s decision deprived them of their property rights and denied them equal protection. They asked the court to declare them eligible for the concealed carry permits under the LEOSA law.
But Feinerman said nothing in the federal law required state and local agencies to certify COs as LEOs who are eligible for the LEOSA concealed carry permits. The judged added that the LEOSA law “does not give concealed carry rights to any individual who satisfies its definition of ‘qualified retired law enforcement officer.’”
Rather, the judge said state and local agencies are to decide who is a qualified law enforcement officer. If an agency refuses to recognize a CO as “qualified law enforcement,” it doesn’t matter that the text of the LEOSA law may find differently, he added.
“Under LEOSA, then, if a retired officer does not have an identification issued by the officer’s former agency, then the officer has no concealed carry rights under LEOSA, even if she is a ‘qualified retired law enforcement officer’ under LEOSA,” Feinerman said.
Feinerman said retired COs can pursue concealed carry permits as private citizens under Illinois law.