Nearly all the instructors approved so far to train Illinois concealed carry applicants are from the Chicago area, and one-third are from DuPage County.
Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said many more applications are in the approval process, where potential instructors must meet several criteria and go through background checks. So the number is likely to grow in the coming weeks.
Concealed carry instructorsSo far, 54 instructors have been approved to train people who want licenses to carry a concealed handgun. Many are from the suburbs and many more will be approved in the coming weeks. So far, instructors are in these suburban towns.
Hanover Park (2)
Oakbrook Terrace (3)
New Lenox (2)
Instructors who get state police approval can give people the 16 hours of training they'll need to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Of the 54 approved instructors posted on the Illinois State Police website as of Monday morning, 18 are from DuPage County, eight are in suburban Cook County, five are in Will County, four are in Chicago and three are in Kane County. None so far are from Lake or McHenry counties.
Bond said the instructors could start providing training as soon as the state's approved curriculum goes online, potentially next week. The police are expected to begin providing concealed carry applications in January, with permits available in the spring.
Information on local instructors is available at www.isp.state.il.us/firearms/ccw.
Among the instructors approved so far is Gregory Coyle of Arlington Heights, a National Rifle Association instructor and former competitive shooter.
He said people have already found him online, but he can't teach them without the curriculum. And he thinks there need to be a lot more instructors approved.
"I've got people calling me about training, and I can't tell them anything yet," Coyle said.
He said the 16 hours of training will be spent on safety and gun-handling instructions, as well as the details of Illinois' sometimes-complicated new concealed carry law, which allows for carrying concealed, loaded handguns but also keeps a number of specific locations like bars and playgrounds off limits.
Gun advocates have looked forward to Illinois becoming the 50th state to allow concealed carry, and people wanting to carry legally will have to continue waiting for permits as the state continues to work to set up the program. Approving instructors is one of those steps.
"I think that this is a really important right," Coyle said.