Loophole helps Illinois residents to get concealed-carry permits

By Bill Robbins
brobbins@kenoshanews.com

Illinois residents can legally carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin by way of ... Utah.

Wisconsin honors concealed-carry permits from a number of states, including Utah.

That means people who take Utah’s concealed-carry class and obtain a permit from that state can legally carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin.

In an odd twist, the Utah class is popular among Illinois residents, who take the four-hour course at the Outdoorsman in Winthrop Harbor, Ill.

Illinois does not have a concealed-carry law (though one is perhaps imminent). But if they take the Utah concealed-carry curriculum and get a permit from that state, they can legally “carry concealed” in Wisconsin.

Sound confusing? It gets even more entangled.

Illinois residents can’t take the Wisconsin concealed-carry class to qualify for a licence to carry here because — unlike Utah — Wisconsin requires its license holders to be residents of the state.

Utah is one of more than a dozen states that issue concealed-carry permits to non-residents.

But if you live in Wisconsin, a Utah permit will not allow you to conceal carry in this state, said Dana Brueck, a Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesman.

If you’re a Wisconsin resident, you have to have a Wisconsin permit, she said.

The Utah sessions with Illinois participants fill up fast.

“A lot of people from Illinois travel to Wisconsin, and they like to have the permit so they can conceal-carry there,” said Brian Gonzales, who teaches both the Utah and Wisconsin concealed-carry classes at the Outdoorsman.

The Utah class is similar to the Wisconsin class, he said.

In addition to 28 states, Wisconsin honors concealed-carry permits from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Like Wisconsin, all conduct background checks before issuing the permits. The background checks include a criminal-history search.

So far, Tennessee is the only state that recognizes Wisconsin’s concealed-carry permit.

Brueck said Wisconsin is in the process of establishing concealed-carry reciprocity agreements with other states

“Until then, it’s recommended that Wisconsin CCW (concealed carry weapon) license-holders check with individual states to determine whether they can legally carry concealed there,” Brueck said.

Each state regulates firearm laws differently, and there is no obligation for one state to inform another of changes in its laws, she said.

Forty-nine states have laws permitting concealed carry. Illinois was the last state with a concealed-weapons ban when a federal appeals court tossed out the law last December, saying it violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The court gave Illinois legislators six months to revise the law to allow people to carry guns legally.

That gives the state’s General Assembly until June 9 to approve a bill.

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