Starting January 5, people can apply online for the concealed carry licenses. On Monday, Illinois State Police explained the necessary steps to get a permit.
The wheels have been in motion for nearly a year, and next month Illinois will begin what 49 other states have already done: concealed carry. Critics and supporters alike think the new law is pock-marked with problems and they want changes. For now though, the roll-out moves forward.
Training classes have been underway for weeks, and now those who desire a concealed carry license can apply starting Sunday. The online process was outlined by Illinois State Police Monday. That process will include a user ID, password, and questions which will serve as a start point for a criminal background check.
If there are no problems, a concealed carry license will come in the mail. Illinois State Police have 90 days by law to turn them around.
"We're committed to meeting the statutory requirements of the issuance," Col. Mar Maton, ISP, said. "We're hoping we can do it much sooner than 90 days."
The first concealed carry licenses, state police say, are likely to be issued by the middle of January. The new law prohibits concealed carry in a variety of places, including government buildings, schools, hospitals, libraries, museums and public parks.
"You could also carry through a forest preserve, but you can't go off and sit down and have a picnic," Colleen Daly, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said.
Critics say the new law is a confusing and contradictory patchwork. You can't carry a concealed weapon on mass transit, but if the firearm is unloaded and in a backpack or other container, you can carry it with you on the train or bus.
"Carrying a firearm is a really, really, really awesome responsibility. Yet I hear it being treated as casually as someone carrying car keys," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.
McCarthy believes the concealed carry training is inadequate, and has other concerns. Supporters acknowledge there are some flaws, but believe the safeguards built through political compromise will work.
"It's worked in Los Angeles. It's worked in New York. So it's worked in a lot of other big cities. So, I think, like you said, there could be some issues, but I think it's gonna work," Senator Gary Forby, (D) Benton, said.
Businesses have the right to disallow concealed weapons, but they're required to post a state-police approved sign saying as much. The same goes for churches.
Legislators are already talking about making changes to the law, but the compromise that shaped the new law came about only because the appeals court ordered the general assembly to act, and carving out common ground will be tough.
It's unclear how many people will apply for concealed carry licenses. One early estimate was 400,000.