Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is still reviewing the concealed carry measure approved by state lawmakers this spring. The legislation includes a provision requiring hands-on training, which is something those on both sides of the gun debate say is important.
Ron Darnall, who runs a gun range in central Illinois, said many people he sells guns to have a lot to learn about their care and the law. He believes they would benefit from the training and testing law enforcement officers must undergo.
"We're seeing an awful lot of new shooters in the game, and they really need some instructions, some training and some legal aspects covered,” Darnall said.
“So when they do have to make a decision - which is a big one - to use a firearm for protection, they'll know the laws and what they'll be involved in after the altercation happens.”
Legalizing concealed carry in Illinois will likely mean a flood of new customers for range owners such as Darnall. Lawmakers wrote eight hours of mandatory training into the legislation, and that number later doubled when House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) threw his political weight behind it.
In addition to the initial 16 hours of training, gun owners who want to renew a permit after five years will have to return to the range for a refresher course.
Those seeking a concealed carry permit will first have to find a state certified instructor. The Illinois State Police is responsible for finding, screening and certifying trainers within six months of the bill becoming law.
But the ISP is understaffed and already struggling to process a record numbers of firearm owner identification (FOID) card applications. The agency has asked for additional money to fund the rollout of concealed carry.