The Illinois State Police have taken byzantine bureaucracy to new levels with their botched handling of the approved concealed carry firearms instructors and curricula, as evidenced by their website.
It’s like pot-luck to click on their approved instructor webpage each day to find out who is approved.
Example: For a week, there were no new names listed. Then on Thursday, September 19th, the State Police added thirty-three approved instructors, bringing the total up to 56.
A day later, the number was down to 40. Later on the 20th, it was down to 16 instructors.
The next day it was back up to 55 and today we stand at 54, at least when we don’t get an error that looks like this:
Also, with the numbers of instructors bouncing around, it’s clear that some instructors are “approved” on one day and suddenly, without warning or notice, they suddenly fall off that approved list.
And in some cases they suddenly re-appear.
While this is of relatively inconsequential at the moment because there are no approved curricula, once courses are approved this could have serious ramifications and here’s how:
Let’s look at hypothetical instructor Joe Smith. He is an approved instructor as listed on the ISP website on a Friday. He teaches a two-day, 16-hour class on that weekend and issues a certificate upon completion of the course to his students on Sunday afternoon. Unbeknownst to Joe and his students, his name “fell off” the list at some point between Friday and Sunday, suddenly there is a whole class of students who just took a class that will not count towards Illinois’ 16-hour training requirement because for some unknown reason (and the ISP doesn’t answer the phone to field inquiries, either), Joe isn’t an approved instructor any longer.
While that might seem far-fetched, don’t tell that to Jon “Max” Capp.
For a week or so, his name was listed on the ISP approved instructor registry.
Suddenly, late last week, his name came down.
Mr. Capp, an instructor in Missouri, submitted the required paperwork and was one of the earliest approved instructors by Illinois’ top law-enforcement agency.
When he name was abruptly removed, he reached out for help.
Valinda Rowe, spokesperson for Illinois Carry, an online forum, was able to reach someone in authority at the Illinois State Police to get some clarification. She was told, according to Mr. Capp, that Missouri lacked a centralized historical database of mental health patients.
Because Missouri had no list of those who voluntarily or involuntarily were committed for mental health treatment, the Illinois State Police decided to declare Mr. Capp “guilty until proven innocent” and disqualified him from the approved instructor list because he “might” have sought inpatient mental health treatment in the past five years.
It’s not like he’s an extra from the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Mr. Capp has a Missouri concealed carry license and he’s been teaching firearms for some time. He runs a successful shooting school, the Northeast Missouri Firearm Training.
We left a message with Mrs. Rowe asking for comment and will update the story if or when we hear back from her.
In an interview with Mr. Capp this morning, he said he pretty much threw up his arms in frustration and is just waiting for his paperwork to make it through the labyrinth at the ISP to see if he can get back on the approved list.
To further complicate issues in general, the NRA’s man in Springfield, Todd Vandermyde, says the ISP is wanting to make changes to the Instructor Approval Application and it is looking as though hundreds of the 1000+ applications may have to be sent back to the applicants to seek further information.
It’s just another in a long list of setbacks and missteps.
How the Illinois State Police can completely fumble this process and turn it into such a three-ring circus is an embarrassment both to the ISP and to the State of Illinois.
In the nearly three months since this bill’s enactment, the ISP has approved less than five dozen instructors and no classes to date.
Three months and NOT A SINGLE CLASS APPROVED.
It is an embarrassment and frankly, it is denying the right of Illinois residents wishing to exercise their right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside of the home by delaying their application process for purely bureaucratic reasons.
Few of the 300,000 people anticipated to seek licensure next year are likely to have the training they are required to have. Why? Because the ISP has ineptly handled what could have been, and should have been a straightforward and simple process, turning it into a bureaucrat’s dream.
Until and unless the State of Illinois is motivated to make the carry license program work for the residents of Illinois, look for more of the same from the ISP.