Gun instructors investigated for granting permits without - FOX 32 News Chicago

Concealed carry instructors investigated for granting permits without training

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There are another two and a half weeks until Illinoisans may apply for a permit to carry a concealed, loaded handgun, but FOX 32 News has learned scam artists are already hard at work. State Police say they've already revoked the credentials of at least two firearms instructors and they may be investigating a half-dozen more.

Sources tell FOX 32 News some concealed carry instructors are offering to certify that applicants have done the required 16 hours of training in exchange for cash when, in fact, they have not. The revelations raise new questions about a process that relies heavily on the honor system--something that hasn't always worked real well in Illinois.

Illinois's new gun law details the 16 hours of training that most residents need to complete before they may apply for a permit to carry a concealed, loaded handgun.

But the law is largely silent on what's required of those who provide that training.

Rushing to comply with a tight timetable, state police have relied on the National Rifle Association and other, similar groups to certify the qualifications of firearms instructors.

The NRA's Illinois affiliate told FOX Chicago News it's discovered some trainers it certified committing apparent fraud. One, for example, even advertised, that applicants willing to pay him would only have to take three hours of gun safety training and he'd certify that they'd completed eight. The NRA's Richard Pearson wants such violators prosecuted as criminals.

Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, Richard Pearson, told FOX 32 a similar scam earlier this year in Missouri earned the offending firearms trainer a jail sentence. Pearson said his group and the Illinois State Police are investigating as many as eight instructors for fraud.

A state police spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday that they've decertified at least two concealed carry trainers, based on complaints from students and groups such as the NRA.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told FOX 32 News Monday that the process for granting concealed carry permits has too few safeguards and far too many question marks. Oak Park's State Sen. Don Harmon said he's worried too.

Despite Sen. Harmon's misgivings, a committee he chairs gave final approval to the process today. The first applications will be accepted online beginning Jan. 5th.

Many gun rights activists were delighted last spring when the General Assembly made Illinois the 50th and final state to let residents apply for a permit to carry concealed, loaded handguns. Others, though, were angry that the new law required a mandatory 16 hours of firearms training for most applicants. Military veterans or others that can prove previous experience only need to complete eight.

For information on what you need to get a concealed carry permit in Illinois, click here.

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