SPRINGFIELD — Applications for concealed carry permits are slowing down in the state of Illinois, while the system for the process is getting easier.
The Illinois State Police processed more than 42,000 applications in the first six weeks of the year. Since mid-February, according to the Illinois State Police, the rate has dropped off, only recently passing 85,000 applications since the beginning of the year.
With 102 counties in the state of Illinois, LaSalle County ranks seventh overall in concealed carry permits per person issued at just under 3 percent or 3,327 permits issued out of a population of 112,944. Neighboring Putnam County sits at 44th place with less than 1 percent of permits issued, a total of state 54 residents out of 5,876 in total county population. Bureau County ranks 69th out of 102 Illinois counties in concealed carry permit percentages with 237 or 0.7 percent of residents out of 34,314.
Art Smith at Buffalo Range Shooting Park of Ottawa said things may be turning around.
"For the last couple of months, it's been slower with fewer students in classes," Smith said. "I just looked at the schedule for September, and the numbers are moving back up. I think summer was a factor with everyone so busy with vacations and such."
To obtain a concealed carry permit, an individual is required to attend 16 hours of concealed carry firearm training according to state law requirements. Members of the military and police personnel are allowed less time in the classroom due to prior firearm training. A concealed carry license is good for five years and may be renewed. An applicant does not need to provide fingerprints with the application, but the Illinois State Police who review the applications can take up to an additional 30 days to process the application without fingerprints. A person also must have an FOID card.
Illinois residents who cannot receive a concealed carry law include convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers and those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving use of violence or force and have had two or more violations related to driving under the influence or those who have been in treatment for substance abuse within five years of filing for the concealed carry permit.
The state of Illinois was the last state in the nation to pass the concealed carry legislation.
Individual Illinois residents who are still interested in obtaining a concealed carry permit in Illinois can visit the Illinois State Police website page: https://ccl4illinois.com/ccw/public/home.aspx.