Just a month after the Illinois State Police began accepting permit applications to carry a concealed firearm, more than 100 Morris residents have applied.
Three months after the Firearm Concealed Carry Act became law, classes were being offered throughout the state, so by early January residents could apply for the permit.
Once an application is filed by an individual, the state police post the names to a private website for local law enforcement agencies to review and object to if police feel there is a concern with an applicant.
Morris police have reviewed more than 100 names in the month that applications have been accepted, Chief Brent Dite said.
The decision to apply for the permit is personal one for many of the residents who have participated in classes offered by ALL CCW, according to instructor Tim Dalan.
“We’ve asked what the participants’ intentions are,” Dalan said. “For most people they only plan to carry in certain conditions. Like if they are going somewhere they don’t know or aren’t comfortable with.”
Morris resident Tyler Leadinghouse said concealed carry is something he will do most of the time. He feels it’s just another safety measure.
“People have fire extinguishers not because they expect to have a fire, they have it just in case,” Leadinghouse said. “You aren’t expecting anyone to rob you, but you carry just in case.”
Dalan said that people in country areas like Grundy County are used to their daily lives, travel the same streets to the same stores and in 99.9 percent of situations, they will never need a firearm.
Dalan has had about 400 people take classes with him or his partners, and said the classes have a range of ages, from 21 to people in their 80s, and both genders are represented.
“We’ve had about 5 to 10 percent female participation, several of them by themselves,” he said. “We had one who was recently widowed and even though she has a dog and has used a gun before, she wanted to learn safety.”
Safety was a large part of the class Leadinghouse took in Joliet, and one of the key aspects he feels is necessary for those seeking to carry concealed firearms.
“I thought the class was very educational,” Leadinghouse said. “Especially if you haven’t had any prior training.”
Although Leadinghouse took basic firearm and hunting courses as a child, and has taken classes recently in his pursuit of a job in law enforcement, he said the class he took was very mixed in experience.
Understanding when to intervene is another subject addressed by the class. With stiff penalties in place for those who do not obey the law, it’s imperative that people know not only their rights, but their boundaries.
Dite said the state has put a lot into the educational component and charges for breaking the concealed-carry law can range from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony, depending on the number of times a person is found guilty of breaking the law, as well as the severity of the charge.
Dalan said when you hear of someone using a gun illegally, it’s typically a person who shouldn’t have a gun, and those aren’t the ones applying for concealed-carry permits.
Dalan said those seeking a permit must attend a minimum 16-hour class that has been approved by the state. They must submit their certificate of completion, a passport style photo and an optional live scan fingerprint, as well as pay applicable fees to be considered.
Dite said Morris Deputy Chief John Severson has been put in charge of going to the state database and providing a response to the local background of Morris residents seeking a permit.
“We may have had past dealings with a person that didn’t result in an arrest but causes concern,” Severson said. “We would file an objection with the state just to give them the information so they can make a decision.”
State approved curriculum for Conceal Carry Permit classes must cover five basic areas:
Basic principles of marksmanship
Care, cleaning, loading and unloading of concealable firearm
Applicable state and federal laws