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Illinois was the last state in the Union to allow concealed carry-- and they only did so after the a federal court in 2012 ordered the state to do so. Then in July, 2013, Illinois enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, which established a system for the issuing of concealed carry permits. What follows is a tale of one of the first to apply for these permits, and his epic odyssey to obtain it.

October 2, 2013 - I scheduled us for required classes with Fire Arms Safety Group, (FASG). All participants must also have obtained a "Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card," FOID which is issued by the Illinois State Police.

October 15, 2013 - My nephew (Recent Ex-Marine) and I completed our CCL class at Gander Mountain in Joliet, Illinois. We both received a waiver for eight of the 16 required hours due to our military service.

The FASG class had three instructors: a Chicago Policemen, an Afghan Army Vet, and Casey Fuller, the certified instructor, and owner of FASG. We had 30 people in our class.

Most of the classroom session concerned the law and how your life will change if you ever use your weapon. The instructors heavily emphasized the fact that your last option should be to shoot and that you should use any and all other possible strategies to avoid using your weapon. The civil, financial, and legal problems for the shooter are life changing.

They also stated that you should never be a "lone ranger" and you should not look for opportunities to use your weapon. Only use your weapon to protect yourself and your family. The class included videos of potential scenarios and then they advised how they should be handled within the law.

The instructors recommended the use of pepper spray (Sabre brand) as a possible deterrent to use before using your weapon. They also presented videos that illustrated how the pepper spray will incapacitate a person. (This stuff is really bad and will stop a person).

I now also carry a pocket sized Sabre brand canister of pepper spray.

Target archery Recreation Shooting sport Archery Precision sports

After instruction and practice at the range, we qualified with a silhouette target shot at 10, 20, and 30 ft. with 10 rounds each. At that time, 21 hits on the silhouette are required to qualify for the CCL. (See pic) I used a Glock 21.

Circle Clock Font Sport venue

The class content and instructors were great and we would recommend them to anyone living in the Chicago land area.

January 1, 2014 I applied for my Illinois Concealed Carry License via the internet on the Illinois State Police web site. This was the first day in the Illinois State history that the application process was opened. ($150.00)

March 19, 2014 I decided that my Glock 21 was too large to practically carry as it "prints" too easily. After some research, I purchased a KelTec PF9 (blue over grey) from Bud's, which was shipped, to my FFL. I also purchased a cable tethered lock box for my car when I am unable to carry because of conditions listed in the Illinois law.

Gun Firearm Trigger Airsoft gun Starting pistol

March 25, 2014 - I met with my FFL and transferred the ownership of the KelTec.

April 17, 2014 - I received my CCL issued by the Illinois State Police in the mail.

So, ~ 4 months from the application date to delivery of the CCL plus almost $500.00 later the State of Illinois now allows me to ccw in limited areas.

I have been practicing two handed, right handed and left handed while also breaking in my ccw (KelTec PF9) and have ~ 400 rounds thru it so far.

I did a "fluff and buff" that probably was not necessary but I have had no issues. The PF9 has performed flawlessly.

I purchased an Alien Gear IWB holster online and wore it every day for 2 weeks to try and break it in and for me to get used to it. Even after this period, I felt that it was uncomfortable. (I'm 6'4" and 285#)

Later I purchased a black leather Bulldog Cases brand OWB (size S) online and I am now using it every day (3:30 position) and it is so comfortable, I don't know it's there. This holster allows a high, tight, canted forward carry, which I prefer.

I have also taken some holster and self-defense classes to improve my confidence and skill level.

I now carry my KelTec PF9 every day possible. To work, family outings, shopping etc.

My Family, my work management and most friends are aware that I carry and have no reservations. They know that I have been trained to be a safe and proficient weapon carrying Grandfather who supports our 2nd Amendment right and wishes to protect our Family if necessary.

This was my journey to obtain a CCL and I hope yours is as rewarding. It is well worth the effort and economic outlay to uphold our 2nd amendment right.

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I am glad to see you can now carry with out fear in your state. SC has laws and restricts all states that do not have a class to get a license. I think it is good for all to take a class before using a gun of any type so you understand how to use it and what will happen if you do not follow safety rules. I had training in the army back in 1974 then again in 1986 for the corrections department and them again to get my CCP in 2010. All of these classes were a good reminder and worth the time as I saw people who were in the class and did not have a clue before the training. Watch out if you ever use pepper spray!! If the wind shifts you will not be able to find your hand gun or protect your self. The other guy will have the upper hand. a gun never turns on you in the wind.
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