By Tobias Wall
Posted Jun. 4, 2014 @ 10:24 pm
Five months after the Illinois State Police began accepting concealed carry permit applications, the agency says it has shifted its priority from processing applications to monitoring compliance with the nearly year-old law.
Spokeswoman Monique Bond said Wednesday that state police officials in the concealed carry division now are most occupied with investigating complaints of firearms instructors who could be “cutting corners” in their training courses.
“We knew this would be a possibility,” Bond said. “We’re proud to know we have the resources we need to enforce the law under the act.”
She said the department has made it easier to file complaints by posting a link to a complaint form on its website. Also on the site is a list of all the firearms instructors who have had their credentials revoked.
There were 188 names on that list Wednesday.
Bond said that the network of more than 2,000 firearms training instructors has a way of policing itself.
“It’s not just citizens filing complaints,” she said. “It’s other instructors, too.”
Under the concealed carry law, instructors who improperly train students will have their credentials revoked. Students who received training under a revoked instructor will have their applications denied but are allowed to reapply.
According to the most recent state police data, 74,778 applications for concealed carry licenses had been filed statewide. Of those, 54,556 were active. State police officials still have a little more than 20,000 applications to work through.
That’s far off the pace of the 400,000-plus applications officials last winter estimated the state would receive in the first year of the program, but Bond said it’s hard to lock in reliable estimates or identify trends because the law is still so new.
“There are just a lot of firsts with this. We’re finding that applications are seasonal — sometimes they come in droves, sometimes not,” she said. “We’re not going to know how any year will go until we’ve had a year under our belt.”
Contact Tobias Wall: firstname.lastname@example.org, 788-1519, twitter.com/reTcWall.