Friday, February 28, 2014

Concealed carry licenses in mail

By Jamey Dunn 

Approved Illinois residents will soon be able to start carrying guns in public.

The Illinois State Police announced today that 5,000 concealed carry licenses have been approved. They have begun printing and mailing licenses as of today. The state police say residents could begin receiving licenses as soon as Monday.

Applicants are required to pass background checks and complete a 16-hour safety course, including a live-fire exercise. Licenses cost $150 and are good for five years. After five years, licensees must reapply and take a three-hour training course. So far, the state police have received more than 50,000 applications since they began taking them in early January. Supporters of the law say they are happy to see that the police are issuing licenses even earlier than expected. “The state police have done a fantastic job. ... We thought we’d be three months before we’d get a permit out. So they’re going to get these permits out a little early,” said Benton Democratic Sen. Gary Forby, who was a sponsor of the concealed carry legislation.

Law enforcement officials can object to applications, and so far the state police have objected to about 800. So far, none of those objections have been appealed. The state police plan to deny about 300 applications after they go through one final review process to ensure that the applicants are indeed ineligible.

Harrisburg Democratic Rep. Brandon Phelps, who also sponsored the law, urged gun control advocates and gun rights advocates to hold off on pushing for changes to the concealed carry law until it has been effect long enough to evaluate. “Let’s take a deep breath. Let’s try not to beat up this bill,” he said. “Let’s see how it works.”

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