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by John Boch

The Illinois State Police have done a fine job creating a chokepoint for Illinois gun owners in their handling of the mandated training requirements of the new Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Illinois residents wishing to exercise their right to carry a firearm outside the four corners of their home are soon going to discover there aren’t nearly enough training locations or available seats for the required training needed to apply for a carry license . . .

Experts estimate that at least 300,000 Illinoisans will apply for a carry license during the year 2014, and the best guess is that 150,000 of those applications will come within the first sixty days once applications are available – if training is available, that is.

The problem lies with the slow-walking of the approval process for instructors and courses. It’s been nearly three months since the law’s enactment and the state police have thus far approved fewer than five dozen instructors.  \The good news is that today’s 54 is up from fewer than two dozen approved a week ago!

Unfortunately, there are still zero courses approved at the moment, despite a plethora of hard chargers (fraudsters?) unlawfully advertising Illinois-approved concealed carry classes ahead of having any courses (and in many cases, the instructors as well) with an official blessing.

The ISP has pledged to do a batch release of courses and instructors on September 30th. From the ISP website:

On September 30, 2013, the Illinois State Police will post a list of all previously submitted curricula the Department has approved. At that time, we will have updated the registry to include as many approved instructors as possible.

Don’t think for a minute that the ISP to promise a release the information on the last day of the month wasn’t based upon a) pressure and publicity generated by Illinois gun owners and gun rights activists in the past couple of weeks and b) the upcoming hearing in the Shepard case in front of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on October 3rd.

Let’s do some back-of-the-napkin figuring, shall we?

On September 30th we’ll be about 90 days out from applications being available from the State Police. If every one of those currently-approved instructors holds a class every day with 10 students, that’s still fewer than 50,000 people having received the training required. And that’s a very optimistic number. Here’s why:

1.  Those instructors aren’t going to work seven days a week, let alone Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.

2.  It will be a challenge to find 50 suitable range and classroom locations while we have decent outdoor weather. When the weather turns winter-like? Forget about it.

3.  Some people will need the full 16 hours of training. Estimates vary on how many applicants will need 16 hours of training as opposed to eight vary, but it could easily be half. You can’t do a 16-hour class in one day.

4.  One instructor handling 10 students is beyond what the NRA recommends for instructor-to-student ratio and particularly for beginner shooters. It just isn’t as safe as having more instructors per student. While there is no requirement that Illinois CCW classes also be NRA training classes, the NRA has a very successful training program and their guidelines are a result of many years of experience in the school of hard knocks. Only a fool would ignore the NRA training program’s real-world experience.

Some will say that the ISP will approve lots of instructors and courses in the coming days. If so, great! But the lack of available training facilities will still remain the limiting factor – doubly so when the weather turns bad.  There are but a handful of indoor ranges in the state and it’s a pretty safe bet indoor range time will be commanding uber-premium pricing through this coming winter. While some facilities may keep the cost down to $15-20 per hour, don’t be surprised to pay $50 in places…where you can find a seat in a class.

As for firearm training outside in near- to sub-freezing temps…have you tried it lately? Cold weather isn’t conducive to good learning. When students can only think about how cold and numb their fingers are while holding a frigid piece of steel, they won’t be concentrating on learning new skills.

In the end, we in Illinois need the Illinois State Police to act expeditiously in approving instructors and coursework. Alternately, until the ISP gets its ducks in a row, we need the green light from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that FOID-card carry is acceptable.

John Boch is president of Guns Save Life. This article originally appeared there and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. And you are surprised by this because…..? In a previous post I predicted exactly what is happening here. Quinn undoubtedly told the ISP to do exactly what they are doing. Make it as difficult as possible to acquire then it will be ridiculously easy to lose the CCL. “You ran that red light? Hand over your CCL. Reapply after your court case.”
    Mark my words.

  2. This 16 hours business is garbage. We had them by the balls… we could have done better than that.

    Sucks for poor folk like myself…

    • While I vehemently oppose this whole process on a Second Amendment basis, in the real world (for now) at a minimum if you were ever qualified in an branch of the U.S. military or a recognized police force to use and carry a firearm the training requirements should be reduced to a 4 hour refresher and a quick range qualification.

      That’s not allowing for the fact that the head of Homeland Security thinks that ex-servicemen (or former Marines) are exactly the kind of people this administration would love to prohibit from owning weapons. I wonder why that would be?

      • In Virginia military and police don’t have to do the training requirement. Texas military technically doesn’t have to do the shooting portion, but you have to have a copy of your last range qualification score and they don’t keep that in your records. Just the training record saying you qualed expert isn’t enough. Pretty ridiculous considering we probably shoot more than most police do.

  3. The first of many bottlenecks to come.

    Come January,well doubtlessly witness another excuse why IL CCW permits will be delayed further.Perhaps the ISP headquarters will run out of toner,resulting in a 30 day delay on the BG check forms ?

  4. It seems to me that as much as people rail on California for being a gun-unfriendly state, we at least have a decent number of indoor ranges, plus good weather such that the outdoor ranges are generally usable year-round. Illinois seems like it has a long way to go in that respect.

    As a matter of fact, since I’m working near one of the better indoor ranges in the Bay Area today, I’ll be headed over there after work this afternoon…

  5. I guess you guys have not been reading about how wonderful it will be in MD since the state PD has not even put out guidelines on the training requirements

  6. I keep repeating it
    June 8th bill signed, 4 hours training required Utah accepted
    Nov 1st first permit issued
    I submitted on a Tuesday received card in mail on Friday.

  7. Nothing at all like the BS in Maryland. The admin and MSP are changing their mind by the minute about how to interpret the law.

    Also, I’ve read that they are not prosecuting people for carrying weapons with a FOID card, in certain places, unless you are wearing a hoodie and carrying skittles.

  8. Man oh man, it do get cold out there too. I shoot outside all winter for fun (in SE PA) so it’s doable but I’ll tell you what will kill it. There’s going to be a lot of standing around I imagine at various points during the training. That’s what will become unbearable. Cold fingers. Cold toes. Cold attitudes.

  9. I called the closest range to my home (a good 30-60 minute drive) the week after the legislation passed, to see if they were taking names for when they had a class in place. I was put down on page 54. I shudder to think how long the reservation list is now.
    And since I recently decided to pursue different employment, the idea of dropping $300+ on a class I don’t need, and another $150 for the permit to carry has me extra annoyed at Illinois.

  10. This is one of the reasons I was against the suggestion of mandatory safety training as criteria from owning a firearm. It sounds nice in a perfect world, but it is rife for mischief by a recalcitrant state. I remember years ago, attempting to get my Hunter Safety certificate at fairly late age. Very few courses available, all on weekends, which I worked. It took months for me to arrange the time to take a course.

  11. That STUPID ASS police commissioner in Chicago announced today they caught the offenders in the park shooting of 13 people .Yhen that DUMB ASS says they used Military Grade weapons multiple times to drive home the point that these ” military grade weapons are the reason for the deaths mas though they jumped up by themselves and did the killings .Then this Asshole starts to name the offenders and their arrest records ,all felons ,all with over a dozen prior arrests ,all in their 20s.Then this ignoramus goes on to say how we must have stricter gun laws against these “military grade weapons”.Nothing about Hello,why are these felons on the streets after 12 convictions. The mental instability problem looks like it starts with the police.How can these guys be Soooooooo Stuuuuupid?

  12. I have applied to be a conceal carry instructor in Illinois and the biggest hurdle I see is the lack of public ranges for CCW applicants to do their qualifications.

    I don’t know what the issue with curriculum is.

    The ISP has an instructor applicant sign off that their curriculum meets the following requirements in my names URL link.

    A contact of mine with the ISP states that the NRA basic pistol will meet the first 8 hours and the second 8 hours is covering the law and the shooting portion.


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