CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WICS/WCCU) — Illinois State Police released the following statement on the impact of the face coverings requirement on concealed carry:
“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.”
Governor JB Pritzker announced last week that starting May 1, Illinois residents over the age of two, who are medically able to tolerate a face-covering, must wear a face-covering or a mask when in public.
This applies to any public place where people can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings are also required in public indoor spaces such as stores.
Concerns have now been brought up that wearing a mask in public while concealing a firearm could put those carrying a gun in harm's way.
Those with concealed carry permits who are following this rule could potentially be breaking Illinois law.
According to Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 38, Sec. 24-1. under unlawful use of weapons, it states:
a) a person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
9) carries or possesses in a vehicle or on or about his or her person any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or firearm or ballistic knife when he or she is hooded, robed or masked in such manner as to conceal his or her identity;
According to the law, this is a class 4 felony.
Although this is one of the least severe penalties, it can still carry a potential jail sentence between 1 to 3 years.
FOX Illinois sent a question into Governor Pritzker Monday afternoon during his daily press conference asking for clarification on this issue, but we did not get a response.
This is an issue that many viewers are showing concerns about, and we will continue to follow up as we receive more information.