Illinois takes aim at concealed carry

By WEEK Producer

December 13, 2012 Updated Dec 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM CDT

WOODFORD CO., Ill. -- Now that concealed carry is on the verge of becoming law in Illinois, it's likely to include some restrictions.

For example, many states require training in order to receive a permit to carry a gun.

Brian Cooper is learning how to properly handle and shoot a gun. He's working with Lee Merriman, a certified NRA instructor, who is licensed to carry in three states.

"I just feel that can operate safely any gun because I know how it works," said Cooper. "Not just pull the trigger and it shoots."

"They've got to be able to load, unload and handle their gun. We've got a guy who shows them how to clean them, take them apart, the whole bit," said Merriman.

Now that a federal court has struck down the ban on concealed carry in Illinois, the state is fast-tracked for its own version of the law. Like in most other states, implementation will likely require applicants to get training like this as well as time in the classroom.

"A lot of people think you can just walk in the door in a state and get a permit," said Jon Symmonds, NRA certified instructor. "Most states require you go through some form of training, a minimum of 8 hours. They will fingerprint you. You have to go through and FBI background check to make sure you have no criminal history. It's pretty extensive."

But achieving a statewide consensus in the general assembly on concealed carry could prove to be a difficult target to hit.

"The people from Chicago are going to try to come down and make it as onerous as possible," said Symmonds. "I think everyone downstate realizes we're the last state. We have an excellent bill right now in Springfield. It's already been passed last year in the House of Representatives. Michael Madigan wouldn't let it see the light of day to come to the senate floor for a vote."

And now, the state has 180 days to pass something. When they do, these gun owners will be prepared to get their permit.