Illinois Residents Apply For Concealed Carry Permits in Other States

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By Sam Smith

WILLIAMSON CO. - Classes at John A. Logan College are helping people get the right to carry a concealed handgun in 30 different states. After the class, students are eligible to apply for a permit through the state of Utah. A step that's necessary until Illinois passes a concealed carry law.

Illinois stands alone in its views on concealed carry. It's the only state in the country that doesn't allow it, but that's not stopping people from getting a concealed carry permit.

"We travel quite a bit from state to state and sometimes you get in a position you'll feel more comfortable with if you had some kind of protection," says student Ray Wiesel.

Wiesel is among 200 people in southern Illinois who are taking a class to get that permit. For the first time, John A. Logan College held a course to help them do just that. However, the permit will not apply to Illinois. A conceal carry bill was introduced into the House last year. Representative Brandon Phelps says Chicago lawmakers have put the bill's progress on hold, worried it will lead to more violence.

"I agree with them. There are too many guns on the streets up there, but the problem is guns that are on the streets are the ones possessed by the criminals," describes Phelps.

Phelps says the high turnout here is an indication people support concealed carry.

"There are a lot of Illinois residents that have concealed carry permits in other states and here in the state that they live in they can't even get anything like that because it is not law," says Phelps.

Students participating in the course had to be finger printed, have their pictures taken and were educated on the gun laws in both Utah and Illinois. The students here still need to wait for a 60-day review period before officially getting their permits. Once that happens, they are eligible to carry a handgun in 30 of the 50 states. They hope someday soon, they'll have the right to carry in their home state.

The Illinois concealed carry bill is expected to be dicussed during the current House session. Those who have out-of-state permits will have to apply for Illinois permits if the bill is passed.
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