October 29, 2013
Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM CST
PEORIA, Ill. -- The phone is ringing more often now at Vital Security Training Academy.
Callers are eager to sign up for the first concealed carry class there on November 9 and November 10.
Only 20 students will be allowed in each class. They will learn the basics of a gun and eventually work their way to the firing range, which includes shooting 30 rounds at different distances.
"It's important people understand as they're firing how to shoot with an accurate sense of having the target picture rather than firing with willy-nilly attitudes," said General Manager Jay Toncray.
Toncray said his licensed instructors aim to make the 16-hour class engaging but the key is to ensure students leave with a good sense of responsibility.
"It's not a toy," he said. "It's not something kids should be playing with."
John Meek, owner of Midwestern Firearms in East Peoria, said the high interest in concealed carry classes has holsters flying off the shelves.
Firearms sales are increasing too, but Meek said there is another reason behind that.
"We've had a lot of street crime," Meek said. "It's gotten a lot of publicity and certainly will be a deterrent for that."
Meek feels the state of Illinois has done a good job putting the concealed carry program together but not everyone is picking up the phone just yet.
"There's also some thinking that when the program gets started it will become easier," Meek said. "Like the restrictions may be a little too stringent in the beginning and possibly it would be easier to do at a later time."
But it appears later can't come soon enough at Vital Security Training Academy.