The first applicants seeking to carry concealed handguns in public could have their permits by mid-March, Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said Thursday.
"We're probably looking at some permits being issued after the first couple weeks in March," Bond said. "It's a possibility."
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Permit applications by countyCook County residents have submitted about half of the area's concealed applications since filing started Jan. 5. Here's how Cook and the collar counties stack up:
Cook 8,105 applications
As of Thursday, 16,800 people from area counties filed concealed carry applications. There is a $150 fee for the permit.
Cook County residents filed about half of the area applications with 8,105. Will County has seen 2,512 applications since filing started Jan. 5. DuPage County had 2,265 people sign up, Lake County had 1,675, Kane County had 1,126 and McHenry County had 1,117.
Applicants have to complete 16 hours of training, and local law enforcement officials can object to people they believe shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun.
Glen Ellyn concealed carry instructor Jim Appleby said his classes with suburban organization LRN2Shoot have been running smoothly.
Last fall, his classes were at capacity with 30 students each. Right now he said the numbers are dwindling to 15 to 20 students for each class.
"I've had a few students complain that they have to do 16 hours of training, but after the class they're glad they did it," Appleby said.
Appleby said his students had a few problems with the online application system, but he said the state police have been diligent in correcting the problems.