Expectations off target

Expectations off target

Six months after the state mailed out the first batch of permits, a little more than 1,000 Champaign County citizens have become licensed to carry a concealed handgun in public.

That's less than 1 percent of the county population.

Statewide, 73,158 permits have been issued and 87,183 applications received — far fewer than the 400,000 Illinois State Police said they expected to receive in 2014 following the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling, striking down the state's longtime ban on concealed-carry.

"It's nowhere near the number predicted," said Bryan Lierman, a concealed-carry instructor near Sidney. "To me, (the 400,000 figure) was terrifying. That's just too much out there all at once.

"I'm glad it worked out the way it did. It's a serious thing."

In late 2013 and early 2014, the line of people signing up to take the required 16 hours of training with many local instructors was out the door. The rush to be among the first — in the last of the 50 states to allow concealed-carry — had several businesses taking names for waiting lists.

"You had the initial surge of cowboys, guys who had been waiting a long, long time for this," Lierman said. "So that big wave came through."

But by the start of summer, sign-ups among beginners slowed considerably. Business has picked back up recently, area instructors say, but much of it is coming from previous students — ones already licensed to carry concealed handguns.

Many students want to work on their skills — such as loading, how to take cover and what to do if the gun jams — said Dean Hazen, a Champaign-area certified instructor. Hazen, a 16-year police veteran, has added level 2 and 3 classes to accommodate nonbeginners.

Lierman said instructor friends working in the Peoria area and around Chicago have reported similarly slow summers. Barring an unexpected surge in the final four months of 2014, that means early permit projections by state police will be way off.

In East Central Illinois, Champaign County has the most permit carriers — 1,038. That's 14th-most statewide, trailing Cook (18,681), Will (4,949), DuPage (4,606), Lake (3,493), Madison (2,656), Kane (2,340), McHenry (2,140), St. Clair (2,107), Winnebago (1,727), Sangamon (1,645), Tazewell (1,553), Peoria (1,491) and Macon (1,050).

An East Central Illinois breakdown of concealed-carry permits, denials and TBAs by area county:

County Under Review Active Denied
Champaign 176 1,038 7
Douglas 27 260 3
Edgar 31 184 1
Ford 21 133 0
Iroquois 34 266 3
Macon 150 1,050 4
McLean 179 999 17
Piatt 28 206 2
Vermilion 176 693 10


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IlliniwekMerica wrote on August 29, 2014 at 8:08 am

With close to $800 in total expenses and 16 hours of time required, i'm not surprised that fewer than expected people have applied.  Leave it to the state of Illinois to believe those numbers are reasonable.

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 29, 2014 at 9:08 am

The $150 fee does seem a *bit* high, but expecting 16 hours (which is also the majority of the cost) is not unreasonable at all. To claim otherwise is ridiculous.

Tango wrote on August 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm

A *bit*? Why can we assume you have little expertise in this particular area?

Here's why -  our "registration fee" (more appropriately called a poll tax) is the second highest fee in the country, behind Colorado's $152.50, likely set at that level to be as onerous as possible in reprisal for the state being dragged through the court to recognize our right to self defense.

$150 is a definite barrier to the poor and thos on fixed incomes who might benefit the most, yet not so high as to be obviously discriminatory like the $500 Cook County Sheriff Dart suggested.

I bet you also did not know that we have the absolute highest renewal fee, having to pay the same $150 amount after 5 years, when the majority of other states typically require less than half their initial amount.

These amount were also not set at that level because of any concern about "safety", they are also intended to compensate for line-item cuts made to the Illinois State Police Firearm's Services Bureau by Governors Blagojevich and Quinn, which had resulted in lawsuits for a simple FOID renewal taking over 6 months when the law clearly states within 30 days.

The 16 hours is the longest training time mandated by any state; even places called anti-gun like California, Maryland and NYC have less of a requirement.

If you wish, I can provide you with a spreadsheet comparing the states in terms of cost (both initial and renewal) and time/training requirements. The national average is $75 for 5 years, and 9 hours of training, which is often waived if you are a veteran or have completed a hunter safety course.

You sound like the Democrats who were demanding 40 hour training sessions, so since you are claiming authority on what is "reasonable", please.... show me statistics that support the idea that more training is better than less.

I'm sure if they could be found, they would have been presented during the hearings for HB997.

Oh, wait... there was no such evidence presented. Just crying and moaning about "feelings" and predictions of "wild west" and "blood in the streets" which sound virtually indentical to predictions before Florida enacted their Shall issue" in 1987... Pennsylvania in 1989...Missouri in 2003, Ohio in 2004, Wisconsin in 2011.

Such "predictions" went totally unrealized... but I'm sure most readers with a clue will get the point.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm

When will state law enforcement start arresting those who carry hidden guns without a conceal and carry permit?  Perhaps with the lower than anticipated numbers, more businesses will start posting no guns in stores signs.   

jdmac44 wrote on August 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I'm all for more training, you can never be too safe, but I encourage people to seek training on their own.  Indiana has had concealed carry for thirty years with zero training requirement, there has been no dilemma of blood in the streets, rashes of accidents, no one's called for it's repeal or for a training requirement to be added.  Wonder why?