Local Businesses Face Big Decisions for Concealed Carry

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By Stephanie Tyrpak

PERRY COUNTY -- The first Concealed Carry permits will be issued in Illinois in the next couple months. The change raises a big question for business owners. Do they want to allow people to carry guns in their store or ban them on their property?

 
Kellerman's Feed and Supply has been in business for years.  Hundreds of customers stop by everyday at the Pinckneyville store.
 
"We have a lot people come in," said owner Doug Kellerman. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of those folks that are going to apply for a concealed permit."
 
Over the next weeks, Kellerman will have to decide on whether to allow those shoppers to carry guns.
 
"I just don't know how we're going to address it yet," said Kellerman. 
 
Kellerman grew up around guns for hunting and isn't opposed to the concealed carry law. However, he's talking with his staff to see how they feel.
 
"I want to protect my employees," said Kellerman. "Because what's going on in today's society, we have to be prepared."
 
Kellerman also hopes to learn more about the rules in a seminar for local businesses next month.
 
"I got to find out the law, find out my rights, rights of my employees, and the rights of the public that comes in," said Kellerman. 
 
Perry County Assistant State's Attorney David Searby put together two sessions. There will be one in Du Quoin and one in Pinckneyville. He planned the meetings after questions started coming in to the office.
 
"It's more or less needing to know what is out there," said Searby. "What's legal, what's not."
 
More than 20-thousand people across Illinois have already applied to carry a concealed gun. The first permits will be here in a couple months.
 
"They do have 90 days from date of submission to actually issue those," said Searby. "So we could see these at the end of March."
 
Searby wants to make sure that if a business doesn't want concealed carry, they'll have the correct signs in place and ready to go.
 
"It has to be posted at the entrance of the building or the premises," said Searby. 
 
The seminar in Du Quoin is on Feb. 4 at City Hall. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. The one in Pinckneyville is also at 6:30 p.m. That meeting will be on Feb. 10 at the Perry County Courthouse.
 
The meetings are aimed at business owners, but everyone is invited to attend.
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