Illinois' first concealed-carry gun permits are about to show up in mailboxes.
Illinois State Police issued a media advisory late Thursday afternoon saying ISP is "prepared to begin mailing the first round of approved concealed-carry licenses."
ISP officials and state lawmakers will hold a news conference Friday morning in Chicago to formally announce the milestone.
They plan to offer a glimpse of the actual licenses and provide updated information about the program.
In mid-January, State Police said more than 1,600 people from the metro-east area had applied for permits to carry concealed weapons. At that time, 615 people from St. Clair County and 748 people from Madison County had applied. Statewide, more than 23,000 Illinoisans had applied for a permit.
After much debate, state lawmakers in July approved a bill that allows the carrying of concealed weapons, making Illinois the last U.S. state to allow concealed-carry. Since then, State Police have been working to launch the program, which involved setting up rules and procedures, as well as accepting applications and screening applications.
Those who are 21 or older, have a valid Firearm Owners Identification Card, complete a 16-hour training course and pass a background check can obtain a concealed carry permit for a fee. The five-year permits cost $150 for residents and $300 for nonresidents.
The law bans carrying concealed firearms in places such as schools, child-care facilities, courthouses, public transportation, college and professional sports stadiums and in establishments where alcohol sales make up more than 50 percent of a business's receipts.
Illinois lawmakers have projected that there would be 350,000 to 400,000 applications for concealed carry permits in the first year of the law.
Applications for permits are processed and approved by State Police. A local sheriff or police chief can object to an application. Applicants who are rejected can appeal to a review board.
State Police have up to 90 days to approve or deny applicants, provided their applications are complete and fingerprints are submitted in an electronic format. If an applicant's fingerprints aren't submitted, the State Police will have an additional 30 days to complete a manual background check.
Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2511.