While current Illinois criminal code makes wearing a mask illegal in some cases, Piatt County State's Attorney Dana Rhoades clarified today that permitted gun owners will not need to be concerned about wearing masks in public, a state requirement that begins May 1.

Noting that it is a Class 4 felony to carry a weapon while “masked in a manner as to conceal his or her identity,” Rhoades said, “the question presented is whether an individual who has a valid concealed carry permit and is lawfully carrying a weapon while also wearing a mask in order to comply with health and safety measures will be criminally prosecuted for the offense of Unlawful Use of Weapons.”

Her answer, at least in Piatt County, is a qualified “no.”

“While it is difficult to make sweeping statements about what the Piatt County State's Attorney's Office will or will not prosecute, the Piatt County State's Attorney will not prosecute a citizen, otherwise acting in a lawful manner, who is properly carrying a concealed weapon pursuant to a valid concealed carry permit, while wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Rhoades.

“The Piatt County State's Attorney would not attempt to penalize a person who is lawfully exercising a Constitutional right while, at the same time, observing health and safety measures to present the spread of COVID-19,” she added.

Rhoades also said it is her hope that, “above all else, that people will be kind to each other and to protect their own health, as well as that of their fellow citizens.”