Joliet Police Preparing for Concealed Carry: Benton
State police could begin issuing concealed carry permits this week.
Joliet police have already drafted a policy to deal with the new law, and Chief Brian Benton said local officers will undergo training on how to deal with legally armed citizens.
"It increases the caution our police officers will have to maintain when dealing with a citizen who is armed," Benton said, adding, "We respect the law allowing people to carry."
Benton said he does have concerns that the new law will result in more calls to police.
"You can't carry a weapon into government buildings and some businesses," Benton said. That means in many cases, a law-abiding gun owner will have to remove the gun, place it in a locked box and store the box in the trunk of their vehicle.
"We're concerned that there may be more people calling the police when they observe people taking off their gun," Benton said.
He said the Joliet Police Department has already drafted its own policy for dealing with the new law. Local law enforcement is waiting for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police to issue the final draft of its policy before making it official, Benton said. The final version could come by Monday, he said.
"We have our own draft that we will tweak and finalize," Benton said. "It's something that we're readily prepared for."
Benton pointed out that Illinois is the 50th state to legalize concealed carry.
"Since we are the last state in the nation, we don't feel like we're re-inventing the wheel," he said. "We've been watching carefully other states where it's been implemented.
As of the end of January, more than 16,000 people had applied for concealed carry permits in Illinois. State officials estimate that as man as 400,000 people will apply during the first year of the law.
To receive a permit, gun owners must complete 16 hours of concealed carry firearms training with an Illinois State Police-approved instructor, and must have a valid driver's license and FOID card. There's also a $150 application fee, and background checks are done on applicants by both state police and local law enforcement. Click to view ISP's concealed carry application page.
Permits can be denied for various reasons, such as a record of substance abuse, mental illness or convictions for battery, assault and aggravated assault.