A popular Keanu Reeves and Kevin Heart meme circulating online have been disseminating misinformation regarding concealed-weapon permits and face mask requirements.
On July 2, Rapper King Chip shared a Facebook post, showing a fictional conversation between Reeves and Hart. On the meme, Hart is telling Reeves to stop since wearing a mask is required, but it could be seen that the actor responded saying he
can't wear a mask since it is a class 4 felony violating section-1(a)(9), which prohibits wearing of the mask when carrying a gun.
The popular post was flagged as a part of the efforts done by Facebook in the fight against misinformation and fake news circulating its News Feed. According to CrowdTangle, a metrics tool for the audience, related posts have been shared tens of thousands of times.
At present, a federal law that bans the bearing of a concealed weapon while wearing a protective mask is non-existent. The post was from a blog post about a law in Illinois that prohibits putting on a face covering while carrying firearms. But this has been explained by Illinois State Police that the regulation is not applicable to permit holders of lawful concealed-weapons, who comply with the Covid-19 mask requirement of the state.
The claim came from an article that was issued by the Illinois Leaks website on April 25. Illinois Leaks is being administered by a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization that intends to uncover the corruption and waste of the state's government, the Edgar County Watchdogs. The article emphasized the Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's April 30 executive order, which required people to wear face coverings in public places to de-escalate the spread of the new coronavirus that took effect on May 1
The article on the Illinois Leaks stated that the executive order either robs the rights of gun owners while complying with the statute to wear a mask, or makes them criminals if they abide with the order to wear face coverings while exercising their gun rights.
The executive order does neither of the two cited things.
The source of the article published on the Illinois Leaks is a state law that makes it illegal to carry a gun when hooded, masked, or robed in a manner that hides a person's identity. Committing a breach of that said law is prosecutable by a class four felony with a maximum imprisonment of three years or six years for a prolonged-term.
The article seemed to have an argument regarding Pritzker's executive order and the letter of the law, but the principle of those rules suggests a different thought.
In April, a statement was published by the Illinois State Police through News Channel 20, said that the April 30 executive order by the state's governor was not meant to unfavorably affect permit holders under the Illinois Concealed Carry Act while bearing firearms legally.
Moreover, the state police articulated that the executive order does not suggest arresting or criminally charge conceal carry license permit holders for wearing face coverings in public places as long as they are abiding with the other Illinois Concealed Carry Act provisions and are not committing a breach of Illinois law, Better Government Association concluded.