The enactment Tuesday of a concealed-carry law in Illinois did not surprise gun store owners in the metro-east.
They are already fielding calls from gun owners interested in completing the 16 hours of training required to apply for a concealed-carry permit.
"I think it's great for Illinois residents," said Amy Chase-King, co-owner of Metro Shooting Supplies Inc. in Belleville. "It means our customers and people all over the state will have the opportunity to carry and protect themselves. I think it's high time we had concealed-carry. The other 49 states have had it for a time and I think it's time we had it, too."
She added, "We've been getting phone calls since the announcement was made this afternoon, people asking when classes will be available. We're hoping to have classes as soon as possible."
Before residents can begin taking classes to qualify for a concealed-carry permit, an administrative body will be appointed to determine the requirements. The law will require Illinois State Police to issue a concealed-carry permit to a gun owner with a Firearm Owners Identification card who passes a background check, pays a $150 fee and undergoes 16 hours of training -- the most training required by any state.
Under the law, the ISP has six months to set up a system to start accepting applications. When an application is submitted, the agency has 90 days to approve or reject the permit.
"We're very happy the veto was overridden and that Illinois is finally going to be the final state in the country to have concealed-carry," said Doug MacMorran, owner of Trojan Arms and Gunsmithing in Troy. "It's been a long, uphill climb, and we're happy it's just about over."
Bob Bollman, owner of The Gun Shoppe in Highland, said: "There is a lot of optimism and a lot of customers wondering when we can start offering classes. I'm thankful they did override the veto. I didn't think the amendatory veto was the right thing to do, and I was not supportive of it. The bill they drafted, while it's not perfect, it's a good compromise and I think it's a good starting point."
All three owners are waiting to hear about what the curriculum requirements will be and what qualifications instructors need to teach the classes, so they can start offering concealed-carry courses to interested gun owners.
The Illinois State Police website has a section with information about how the concealed-carry program will work: http://www.isp.state.il.us/firearms/ccw/ccw-faq.cfm
Contact reporter Jennifer A. Schaaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2667.