For a state still struggling with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, some potential good news: next year, Illinois is expected to have a boom industry in concealed-weapons instructors.
The Springfield State-Journal Register is reporting that within the last few weeks, state police have approved more than 860 concealed-carry instructors in anticipation of Illinois becoming the last state in the union to adopt a concealed weapons law.
Currently, 1.6 million Illinoisans have a valid Firearms Owner’s Identification Card (FOID), and more than 400,000 people are expected to apply for concealed-carry permits within the first year.
Under the new law, “carry” applicants are required to undergo 16 hours of training covering such topics as state and federal carry laws, including where people can and cannot carry a weapon, how to interact with law enforcement, and rules around use of lethal force. The requirement of 16 hours of training is currently the most in the nation.
Some folks in Chicago have questioned whether allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons in a city reeling from gun violence is a good idea. Earlier this year, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart proposed an ordinance exempting Cook County from state law. Last month, the Chicago City Council passed a law banning firearms from businesses that serve alcohol within the city limits.
Instructors must be approved by the Illinois State Police to provide Illinois Concealed Carry training. A review of the Illinois State Police website shows that currently, 66 people have been approved in Chicago to carry out the training.
But with 1.6 million registered gun owners in this state, and 400,000 expected to line up next year for the right to carry concealed weapons, there’s little doubt the need for concealed carry instructors will grow.
Which means that while the number of Illinoisans—and Chicagoans—packing heat is likely to skyrocket, at least there’s a chance the state’s unemployment numbers might go down as a result.