Implementation issues have been the main topic of news relating to Illinois’ new Firearms Concealed Carry Act.  There are also a couple of potential mine fields to avoid for prospective licensees.



Illinois is going to require fingerprints for applicants seeking an Illinois concealed carry license, either in the form of “LiveScan” electronic fingerprints or the old-fashioned fingerprint cards.

The standard FBI fingerprint cards will add thirty days to the processing time.

The electronic LiveScan prints are a very pricey option, with the state’s handful of vendors charging $50-$75 for your prints.  Getting LiveScan prints offers the advantage of putting the State of Illinois on a 90-day clock to process your application.

Some vendors have been offering to take LiveScan prints for weeks now, data-basing them hoping the State will accept them after the first of the year.  Ordinarily, there is only a 30-day window in which LiveScan prints can be pulled from the server by the Illinois State Police.

If all goes as planned, these vendors claim their customers will be at the front of the line to get their carry permits when they eventually submit the prints.  That is, of course, if the State doesn’t reject them.

It might be prudent to wait until late December or early January to get your LiveScan prints done to ensure they are accepted.


The Firearm Concealed Carry Act specifies that a recent photo must accompany applications.  “Recent” as in within 30 days.  Your high school yearbook photo isn’t going to fly.


Applications are set to be made available on the Illinois State Police Department website on January 5th.  If the Department follows how they handled instructor applications, the applications may be available the last week of December or a few days early in January.

Check the ISP website regularly and we’ll not only post an update on the availability of the application, but we may make it available at in case the ISP’s web server crashes.

Screencap courtesy Chicago Tribune.


Buyer beware.

The Illinois State Police have expressed zero interest in pursuing unethical trainers.  

In other words, it’s the Wild West.

If you’re going to spend hard-earned money, you might as well demand decent training.

How bad is it?  We’ve heard of instructors:

  • using laser training pistols as part of the “live-fire range exercises”.
  • offering NRA Basic Pistol classes online, without even requiring a shooting component.
  • counting airsoft pistol shooting in hotel conference rooms as live-fire range time.
  • spending as little as a 20 minutes on the range when the law requires at least four hours of range time.
  • concluding eight hour classes (starting at 9am) before 3pm.

We thought classes advertising fifty students taught by an instructor and an assistant were a little short-staffed until we read a report of one NRA Basic Pistol class was held with 300 people taught by a pair of instructors.  150:1 ratio of students to instructors.  Awesome, huh?

Before you rush out and sign up with an instructor, double check that their course and their instructors are on the Illinois State Police’s approved lists.  Call the instructor and inquire about the projected class size and number of instructors.  Ask about the instructors credentials and how long he or she has been teaching.

Don’t settle for diploma mills.  Your life is worth more than that.



UPDATE:  An astute reader noted the ISP rules require “weapon handling” time, not live-fire time.  We stand corrected.

21 thoughts on “Illinois Concealed Carry update”
  1. John, it’s good to see you back online after your intense stretch of CCW classes. The class was awesome. Having actual attorneys give understandable and enjoyable lectures on Illinois law was great. It took a huge effort by many skilled, dedicated people to get so many safely trained before the weather turned cold. I just want to say thanks to you and the entire GSL team.

  2. John:

    What’s the latest on non-resident permits? I am a Missouri CCW permit holder who finds myself in your state frequently. I want to be legal so I have questions as to the hoops the ISP will put us thru.

    1. Last we heard was that ISP wasn’t issuing to Missouri residents because that state doesn’t maintain a record of those who seek voluntary psychiatric in-patient treatment.

      That may have changed in the last couple of months, but that’s what they were telling instructors from Missouri who wanted to get approved but could not.


  3. I bet if you look hard enough you’ll be able to find someone who will sign off on the CCW course requirements after a few hours of paintball.

    We used to play laser tag in college back in the 80’s.. does that count? 🙂

  4. We are an approved ISP licensed fingerprint vendor as well as licensed fingerprint agency. Our agency has been doing LIVESCAN fingerprints for (6) years. Our agencies position is to wait until the ISP has all the proper requirements in place so when we do a person’s prints we know the first time it is going to be done correctly. I believe that the ones that are being printed now will have a surprise when it comes January when the new requirements are released. The fact the new figures project over 800 thousand the first year applying for conceal carry would make me think that a majority of them will want LIVESCAN prints and with that in mind there will be plenty of business to go around. I would love to have the business now and could get it real easy but I have told everyone that we want to do it right the first time and will take their name. I would rather be slow and correct than be fast and lose my reputation. Once the ISP releases all of the requirements, identifiers, applications etc we will be ready to go onsite or set appointments at our office for all of Southern Illinois and the Metro East. As we have always done for our valued clients we make special appointments for weekends, evenings and even holidays if needed to take care of our clients. Should anyone have any questions please feel free to call 877-532-1152. Kevin McClain President of Kevin W. McClain Investigations Ltd.

  5. I took my CCW course through Chuck Bergeron in Sheridan, IL. He is the police chief there. I have been through NUMEROUS training courses and his was hands down the BEST course I Have ever been through. Look him up on the ISP website and take his course. You will NOT regret it!!!

  6. The Illinois CCW permitting process does NOT require fingerprints. If the applicant elects not to submit fingerprints, the ISP has an additional 30 days to process the application.

    1. It appears the ISP is not interpreting the regs the same way you are interpreting them. From what I know, the ISP is requiring finger prints. If you submit paper copies, they have 30 additional days. If you submit nothing, it’s not going to happen.

    2. There is no provision in the law for inked prints on paper cards. The law provides only for electronic submission, and even that is not mandatory. There’s a lot of very expensive fingerprinting being sold that, IMHO, is not necessary to get an Illinois CCW permit if you can wait an extra 30 days on top of the 90.

    3. From the ISP’s own wesite FAQs (under how long will it take to get a permit):

      Upon receipt of a qualified application, the ISP shall issue or deny the applicant an Illinois Concealed Carry License within 90 days, provided the applicant submits a full set of fingerprints in electronic format. If fingerprints are not submitted the ISP is granted an additional 30 days to complete a manual background check.

    4. Judson: You’re right. It says the ISP “MAY” accept apps without prints.

      However, they aren’t going to exercise that option.


    5. Pls see above. From the ISP’s own FAQ, seems the ISP itself is reading “may” to mean “granted” an additional 30 days if no fingerprints are submitted, IMHO.

  7. Something to consider your prints are also going to go to the FBI. I am not aware of any provision from them for not submitting in fingerprints as well as requiring a photograph with specific gradient color for the backdrop of the photograph.
    Please keep this in mind when you hear someone getting their fingerprints done now and having them stored on a computer awaiting transmission sometime hopefully January 5, 2014.

  8. Fingerprints are not required and the ISP has stated that they are not going to be accepting ANY ink & paper print cards.

    Please correct your article because it is promulgating a lot of misinformation.

    1. There was NO time requirement in the LAW. THe ISP rules state 1hr “weapon handling”. You are not prohibited from conducting 4 hrs of range time, but it is not required and you should not berate instructors who conduct less. Furthermore, the 1hr minimum “weapon handling” portion means, at a minimum: handgun fundamentals; handgun concealment; live fire qualification instruction; and live fire qualification with a concealable firearm using a B-27 silhouette target consisting of a minimum of 30 rounds and 10 rounds from a distance of 5 yards, 10 rounds from a distance of 7 yards and 10 rounds from a distance of 10 yards.

      Do you really have a problem with using SIRT, Blue Guns, or airsoft guns for the “safe handling” and “presenting from concealment” portions? If so, why? Training guns exist just for this use… Training.

  9. Finger prints are not mandatory.

    Finger prints must be digital if you CHOOSE to submit finger prints.

    The law clearly states this fact.

  10. From the ISP’s latest proposed rules (pay close attention to the last sentance):

    Section 1231.60 Issuance of License

    e) Applicants submitting fingerprints shall do so electronically by submitting a full set of fingerprints to the Department in an electronic format using a Live Scan vendor licensed by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation or a law enforcement agency registered by the Department. Manual fingerprints will not be accepted.

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