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New law legalizes concealed firearms in Illinois

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(Jake Johnson/ Photographer) Conceal and carry is now legal in Illinois, however handguns must be hidden from view.  Concealed weapons require a license approved by the Illinois police.

(Jake Johnson/ Photographer)
Conceal and carry is now legal in Illinois, however handguns must be hidden from view. Concealed weapons require a license approved by the Illinois police.

On Jan. 1, Illinois became the final state in America to pass a concealed carry law allowing citizens to legally hide firearms in public.

House Bill 0183 states residents and non-residents who meet specified qualifications can apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm.

Applicants are required to take 16 hours of concealed carry firearms training provided by an Illinois State Police-approved instructor, have a valid Firearm Owners Identification card and Illinois digital ID, Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said.

The fee to acquire a conceal and carry license in Illinois is $150, Pearson added. An applicant must be 21 or older and have not been convicted or found guilty of any misdemeanors or felonies.

In addition, applicants will have to provide fingerprint services to Illinois Concealed Carry Instructors and Illinois Concealed Carry Applicants before obtaining a license.

“You have to have no convictions and have no arrests as a juvenile,” Pearson said. “So it’s a pretty tight situation.”

A background check of the applicant will be conducted to ensure compliance with the requirements of the act and all federal, state and local laws.

The law prohibits guns at events where there is a large gathering of people, but it allows people with guns to walk through a public gathering on the way home, to work or to their car.

Under the new law, most government buildings and schools will not be allowed concealed weapons on the property, but in the case for private buildings or businesses it is up to the individuals’ choice.

Concurrently, the law clearly states a resident will not be allowed to open carry at any time. A handgun carried on or about a person must be concealed from view of the public.

The only weapon allowed to be concealed was labeled as a handgun in House Bill 0183. A handgun was defined as any device which is designed to expel a projectile by the explosions of gas and fired by the use of a single hand.

Furthermore, the number of applicants wishing to obtain a license or attend a class has been on the rise since Jan. 1.

“The classes are being easily filled,” Pearson said. “I think they have 14 thousand applicants so far.”

Illinois State Police are required by law to approve a license and should no problems arise within 90 days, the first licenses are expected to be issued by the middle of January.

If a person wished to attain a license they can go to the Illinois State Police website at ccl4illinois.com/ccw/public/home.aspx.

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