Sheriff says concealed carry impacting local crime

By WEEK Producer

July 16, 2014 Updated Jul 16, 2014 at 7:05 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- John Meek's East Peoria gun shop is one place people can get help applying for a concealed carry permit.

"In the beginning it was a full-time job just putting in applications for customers," said Meek. "That's slowed down considerably now. I think the initial surge has passed."

According to an Associated Press report, citing figures provided by the Illinois State Police, more then 80,000 concealed carry applications have already been filed in Illinois and roughly 64,000 have been approved.

Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy thinks that number will continue to grow as the system to handle permit requests gets smoother.

"The only complaints we've had have been the amount of time it takes, after you've gone through the class and get certified, to get your permit back through the mail," explained McCoy.

Illinois State Senator Darin LaHood (R - 37th District) thinks there's room for improvement.

"There are some things that we can tweak and some things that we can do based on some feedback that we've gotten from Illinois State Police and also from gun owners," said LaHood.

As far as the actual impact of the law in Peoria County, McCoy believes its resulted in a decrease in street crime.

"Because you don't know anymore if that person on the street that you're going to rob has a gun or not," McCoy said.

Experts also say as more instructors come on line the certification process is moving faster.