SPRINGFIELD — Illinois now has a concealed carry law but that doesn't mean that citizens can carry concealed weapons.
That's going to take at least six months.
"Concealed carry is the law but there is a six-month waiting time now to allow the state police and other agencies to, for lack of a better term, get themselves organized and get their bureaucratic networks and processes up and running," said Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, a supporter of the legislation. "The law sets up a process by which people can get (concealed carry) permits. It doesn't automatically just grant people those permits."
Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said he fears that some Illinoisans might think they can start carrying concealed firearms today.
"The law says you have to have a license to carry. So you now have a six-month implementation period to go get the license," Rose said Tuesday. "You have to have a permit, so what happens if someone goes out tomorrow with a concealed weapon? With the amount of attention there has been and the amount of confusion there could be, people are just going to assume that it's good to go.
"But I would advise people to let this six-month rule-making take affect and then go get your permit."
Most of the action rules governing concealed-carry in Illinois aren't in the legislation, but will be drawn up by the Illinois State Police and later reviewed by the Legislature's Joint Commission on Administrative Rules.
"Most of this will be driven by the state police," said Righter.
He said he wasn't concerned that the state police lacked the time to come up with rules, regulations and the processes to develop a licensing process and to establish a forearms training program.
"This should be more than enough time to get it done. That's what the state police wanted and that's what they were given," Righter said. "They need to make this a priority, absolutely."
But Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said he was concerned about the implementation period.
"You look at the unbelievable nightmare record that the state police have on FOID cards and FOID card renewals and you realize they likely are ill-equipped to handle what will be a tremendous number of applications for this," he said. "We hope to not see that with concealed carry because there are a high number of people who will immediately want to get trained and apply."
The state police have 180 days to make concealed carry license applications (which will cost Illinoisans $150 for a five-year license) available to the public. Then the state police have 90 days to issue or reject a license once it is submitted.
According to the state police website applicants must:
— Be at least 21 years of age
— Have a valid FOID card
— Have not been convicted or found guilty in Illinois or any other state of a misdemeanor involving the use or threat of physical force or violence to any person within the last 5 years; two or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, within the last five years; not be the subject of a pending arrest warrant, prosecution or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification: and not have been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification or drug treatment within the last five years.
— Successfully complete 16 hours of firearms training, including classroom and range instruction.
There are some immediate limited consequences to Tuesday's legislative override of Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of the concealed-carry bill, said Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
"As of this moment you no longer need a permit to have a handgun in the city of Chicago," he said. "Chicago's ordinance on handguns, including the ownership and possession, are null and void. So are a few others."
And downstaters transporting locked firearms in the trunks of their cars no longer can be prosecuted in Chicago, he said.
"That part of the preemption on transportation is immediately effective," Vandermyde said.