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Illinois concealed carry process getting easier

CARBONDALE — There are signs that the initial rush of applications for permits to carry concealed weapons in Illinois is slowing down and the process is getting a bit easier to navigate.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that observers say technology issues and other problems that applicants experienced when the process started in January have been largely remedied.

Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association says some people are getting their permits within 35 days of when they submitted their applications to police.

State Rep. Brandon Phelps supported the bill that made Illinois the last state in the nation to allow concealed weapons. He says that between February and July nearly 69,000 permits have been issued.

Cook County has the largest number of permit holders (17,477), but that’s only 0.33 percent of all residents, which ranks 96th out of 102 counties.

Click the map for the county-by-county breakdown of concealed carry permits:

While the percentage of people with a concealed carry permit in most counties is minimal, there are exceptions. For example, it reaches over 14 percent in tiny Mason County, which sits north of Springfield. In Southern Illinois’ Saline and Massac counties, there’s more than 6 percent of the population with a concealed carry permit in each county.

Phelps said that with the volume of permits being processed, a lot of credit should be given to the Illinois State Police.

“For the limited resources they have and the time they have in getting this done, it’s been a success,” Phelps told The Southern Illinoisan. “It wasn’t new to the country, but it was new to Illinois. The state police did a heck of a job.”