Demand for concealed carry keeps growing in suburbs
Editor's note: The projected number of applicants this year was corrected from the original story.
By Marty Hobe
Nearly 10,000 people in the Chicago area have applied to carry a concealed handgun in public, according to the first regional numbers released by the Illinois State Police.
Cook County received more concealed carry licenses applications than Dupage, Lake, McHenry and Kane counties combined since Jan. 5, when applications became available under the new law. As a state, Illinois received more than 23,000 applications.
The State Police reported that as of Tuesday, Cook County residents have sent in 5,305 applications since the application process opened on Jan. 5. The data from the State Police did not specify how many of the applications came from within Chicago city limits.
DuPage County residents sent 1,589 applications. Lake County reported 1,164, McHenry County had 822 and Kane saw 761.
No permits have been issued so far.
Lombard concealed carry instructor Ed Bryant, a pastor at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, said he has "all the students he can handle" right now for training required for concealed carry permits. The law making Illinois the last state in the nation to allow people to carry concealed weapons requires 16 hours of training done by a licensed instructor.
Other local instructors have had a tough time finding ranges, classrooms and meeting times to accommodate the growing number of students who want training.
"The legislation has given us a maze to go through but these people are doing everything to be law-abiding citizens," Bryant said.
There are 1.6 million licensed gun owners in the state, but Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said that doesn't mean they will all apply for a concealed carry license. The State Police is projecting that about 400,000 will apply by the end of the year.
"On Jan. 5 (we received) 4,000 applications. Obviously, the number was going to be high," Bond said. "Now we're seeing a decline. We're probably averaging 800 to 1,000 applications a day."
Number of concealed carry applicationsAbout 10 days after the Illinois State Police began accepting concealed carry applications, more than 11,000 people in the Chicago area have applied.
Cook, including Chicago: 5,305
Source: Illinois State Police