(Received: 03/11/2014, Posted: 03/12/2014)


Firsthand Look at the IL Concealed Carry Licensing Process

Valinda Rowe - IllinoisCarry spokesperson
Mike Rowe - IllinoisCarry
Richard Pearson - Executive Director, Illinois State Rifle Association

The implementation of the Illinois Concealed Carry licensing process is an involved and complicated undertaking tasked to the Illinois State Police. Having worked with the ISP for a smooth roll out of the new licenses, an invitation was extended to Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association and Mike and Valinda Rowe of IllinoisCarry to view firsthand the concealed carry licensing process.

ISP Deputy Director Col. Marc Maton has headed up the project and has been very diligent in ensuring that goals and deadlines were met on time. He and members of his staff and the Firearm Services Bureau took us through each step of the license application process.

First, the application is scrutinized for proper documentation and errors. The most common mistake by licensees are failure to sign the training certificate or submitting the wrong training certificate. Other common errors include entering 'O's instead of zeroes or zeroes for 'O's, double spacing between first and last names, and uploading a photo that does not meet the head and shoulders requirement. Any of these errors will require a correction made by the licensee. If an email address was submitted with the application, an email is sent out with instructions to correct the mistake. However, if an email address was not submitted then a letter must be sent through the mail which creates a delay in the application process.

Once the application is deemed complete it is entered into the database that is available to local law enforcement who then have 30 days to submit an objection if they have information that would indicate the applicant is a danger to themselves or others. The application is also routed to the department tasked with doing the background checks. The applicant's identification information or fingerprint number is entered into the computer system which has the ability to check multiple agencies at once. At any point during these steps, if an indication appears that the applicant has a prohibiting factor in their history, their application may be denied or if the prohibiting factor is in question, the application can be sent to the ISP concealed carry review board for further scrutiny.

When an application is approved it is routed to the printer, an amazingly impressive hi-tech piece of equipment which pretty much fills a room by itself. At one end, blank cards with only the color scheme are stacked in a tray. Each card travels along a track where the color photo, license information, and a hologram is applied via multiple spools of mylar. Simultaneously, the same piece of equipment begins printing the letter which will accompany the license, shoots a dab of glue on the card and matches the card and letter via a barcode, attaches the card to the letter, tri-folds the paper, inserts the letter into a windowed envelope, and finally glues it closed. All that is left to do is add postage. The machine and technology is very impressive.

Many things stood out to us during the tour. First of all, we found the team of people charged with issuing the licenses to be a hardworking, dedicated team who have a goal and are working hard to meet that goal. The people we talked with were open to our questions and appear to take great pride in their part of the process. Col. Maton, seems to have set the tone for the department by establishing the goals and deadlines which has made it possible for the ISP to begin issuing thousands of carry licenses before the deadlines mandated by the new law.

Our members can be proud of the hardworking, dedicated staff under Col. Maton's leadership who are doing exactly what they were tasked with doing, especially with the difficulties of a start up operation of this magnitude. It is our expectation that as they continue forward, the licensing process will become even more streamlined and proficient. Our hats are off to the ISP on this aspect of the new concealed carry law and we appreciate their tireless efforts in this process.

We would like to thank:

ISP Deputy Director, Col. Maton

Asst. Deputy Dir., Lt. Col. Matt Davis

Chief of Staff, Lt. Felix Canizares

Staff Ofc. of Information and Technology , Sgt. Gary Clark

Firearms Services Bureau Chief, Ms. Jessica Trame

Asst. Chief, CCL Unit, Master Sgt. Jennifer Radosevic

The card printer technical team