More than 12,000 people in the metro-east region now have licenses to carry concealed handguns, according to new data from Illinois State Police.
In 2014 and 2015 combined, State Police issued 12,680 concealed-carry permits to residents of St. Clair, Madison, Clinton, Monroe, Randolph and Washington counties.
The number of permits issued in the region has dropped off from 2014 — the first year of the program. There were 7,427 permits issued in the five-county region in 2014, compared with 5,253 in 2015.
That dropoff mirrors what has happened statewide. About 55,500 permits were granted statewide during 2015, compared with about 95,500 in 2014. Statewide, there are now about 151,000 permit holders.
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Valinda Rowe, spokeswoman for IllinoisCarry.com, said the permit numbers are about where she expected them to be for the second year. State officials have predicted there will eventually be about 400,000 permit holders statewide.
“It takes a while to build up to that point, but I think we’re right on course,” Rowe said.
Rowe said she’s expecting a bump in permits.
“I know there’s been a spike in applications being filed since probably last fall, especially since the San Bernardino incident,” she said. “All across the country there’s been an influx of applications — just about every state has seen that.”
I know there’s been a spike in applications being filed since probably last fall, especially since the San Bernardino incident.
Valinda Rowe, spokeswoman for IllinoisCarry.com
Although the number of permits issued has dropped from 2014 to 2015, there are more objections being filed by police and prosecutors — both statewide and locally.
Police and prosecutors in the region filed 60 objections to permit applications in 2015. They filed 42 objections in 2014.
Statewide, police departments, sheriff departments and state’s attorneys raised objections to nearly 11,000 applications statewide in 2015, compared with almost 4,000 in 2014.
A law enforcement agency must have reasonable suspicion that there’s a danger to the applicant or others in order to object to a concealed carry permit application.
When an objection is filed, the state’s Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board looks at the case and decides whether the state should grant the permit. The seven-member board is now required to tell applicants who are denied a permit the reason for denial and give them a 10-day window to appeal the decision.
In the metro-east region, Madison County leads the way with 5,955 permits issued during the two-year period. St. Clair County is next with 4,426 permits.
Behind them are Monroe County with 723 permits during the period, Clinton County with 666 permits, Randolph County with 647 permits and Washington County with 263 permits.
St. Clair County had the most objections during the two-year period: 70 filed by police and prosecutors. Madison County had 18 objections filed during the period.
Objections in the other metro-east counties: nine in Randolph County, five in Monroe County and none in Clinton and Washington counties.