The Illinois State Police have opened up a new application process for people who want a concealed-carry gun license, giving applicants an alternative to an online process that critics say is cumbersome.
Up to now, according to the State Police, residents could only file for an application online by computer. Now people can apply by telephone by calling (217) 782-7980 and supplying the same information needed for the on-line application process.
Valinda Rowe of IllinoisCarry.com said the online application process has been difficult for people because it requires a computer using the proper operating system, the proper browser and the proper java script.
"It's a technical complication that, unless you're really savvy with your computer, the average person has difficulty," Rowe said.
Rowe said some gun clubs have been setting up application days, at which members with laptop computers help others apply online.
Tom Martindale, owner of 4 Pines Firearms in Millstadt and a shooting instructor, said he was glad to hear about the phone-in option.
"The online (application process) is a big pain," Martindale said. "I am actually an instructor and I have had to help people with their applications. A lot of people aren't applying because they can't figure out how to do it on the website. Now, if they're going to do it by phone, that's a better option. Even better than that would be if you could do it by mail. But I'm glad to hear things are improving. We're a whole lot farther than we were a year ago."
According to the State Police, a call taker will help applicants process their information. They'll have to supply their Firearm Owners Identification Card, their current address and 10 years of previous address history, training instructor's name and their Concealed Carry Trainer's Identification number, driver's license or state ID number and other information, including date of birth, full name and any previous names.
After the interview is completed and payment is received, applicants will receive a copy in the mail to review. They'll have to fill in background check questions and supply a 2-inch by 2-inch headshot photo and all required training certificates, and mail them to the State Police.
More than 78,000 applications for concealed-carry permits have been submitted in Illinois so far, according to State Police records. And more than 60,000 have been approved and are currently active.