The list of Illinois’ registered concealed-carry firearms instructors now consists of 54 people, including three women. More than three-fourths are from Chicago and its suburbs.
Only one person in this area is on the state police’s new online registry of instructors, unveiled last week – and he will be teaching elsewhere.
Ed Meine, who lives in Lee County’s southeastern corner, said he’ll work as an instructor for a business in the southern part of the state.
“I’m not really going to be setting up my own business,” he said. “I won’t be offering any kind of instruction in this area.”
So far, Whiteside, Carroll, Ogle and Bureau counties have no concealed-carry instructors. The same goes for Illinois’ Quad Cities. Rockford has only one.
Chicago and its suburbs are seen as less friendly to guns, but the metropolitan area claimed 43 of the 54 instructors, as of Sept. 24.
The Illinois State Rifle Association, a gun rights advocacy group, expects 1,000 instructors teaching concealed-carry classes, said Richard Pearson, the organization’s executive director.
Last year, a federal appellate court gave the state six months to pass a law allowing concealed carrying of weapons. After months of negotiations, the legislature enacted such a measure, making Illinois the 50th state to permit concealed carry.
The state police is in charge of enforcing the law.
“They’re going pretty slow,” Pearson said. “I don’t know why exactly. It seems like it should be a faster process than this, but they are also setting up a whole new system. I wish they would go faster.”
He estimated the state had 400,000 people who wanted to become concealed-carry permit holders.
“If we have only 54 teachers, that’s not enough.”
The state police promised to start posting approved curricula on the agency’s website by the end of the month. The applications for permits will be available from the state police beginning Jan. 5.
Anyone who wants a permit must successfully complete 16 hours of training from a state-approved instructor.
Ed Croft, a 63-year-old Sterling resident, said he already has a concealed-carry permit in the state of Washington and plans to get one in Illinois, too.
“I like concealed carry because you don’t know who has a gun,” he said. “Everyone gets a little politer. The only thing that saddens me is the gun-free zones. In the shooting in the Navy yard, the guy wasn’t supposed to have a gun in there. Everyone else was following the law and was unarmed.”
He said he has been surprised that Chicagoland instructors are seemingly getting approved faster than those downstate.
“It seems a little strange,” he said. “Chicago, the place against guns, has all these approved instructors. I know there are instructors here.”
The state police said it has received hundreds of applications for instructors. They are in the process of being approved, said Monique Bond, a state police spokeswoman.
As for whether Chicagoland instructors are getting approved faster, Bond said, “There is no distinction in location.”
For more information, the Illinois State Police maintains a frequently asked questions page about concealed carry at www.isp.state.il.us.
Messages with questions can be left at 217-782-7989. Individual calls will not be returned, but questions will be addressed on the FAQ page.
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