CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The initial flood of applications for permits to carry concealed weapons in Illinois has slowed down considerably and observers say the process for those still applying is getting a bit easier to navigate.
According to the Illinois State Police that processes the applications, after the first six weeks of the year in which more than 42,000 applications poured in, it has taken another six months for another 42,000 to come in.
At the same time, The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the process that was beset with technological problems is not nearly as difficult for those who applied in recent months as it was for those who applied earlier in the year.
"It seems like they've got their process down now and that the applications have slowed down a bit," said Scott Weaver, a resident of Murphysboro. Weaver said he impressed with the fact that after filling out the application in late May, his permit came in the mail late last month -- a 60-day turnaround that is 30 days shorter than the 90 days the Illinois State Police has to approve or deny applications.
Rep. Brandon Phelps, who pushed through the legislation after a federal judge ruled that Illinois' last-in-the nation ban on concealed weapons was unconstitutional, said he's been impressed with how the state police has processed the applications.
"For the limited resources they have and the time they have in getting this done, it's been a success," said Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat.
It also appears that the estimate by state officials that the year would end with about 300,000 applications was far too high, given that after more than seven months, the total of applications -- 84,000 -- has not come close to even half that number.
That figure is not a surprise to those whose job it is to provide the required 16 hours of concealed-carry firearm training that the state requires.
In Marion, Larry Morse of the Heartland Training Team said that his classes today average about five people -- a quarter of the size of the classes during the winter.
"The rush is definitely off now," he said.