Online Staff Report
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois State Police (ISP) announced March 18 that two firearms instructors are no longer approved to instruct Illinois Concealed Carry Curricula as a result of an ISP investigation into complaints of improperly certifying applicants.
The complaints were received from the public in January alleging that these instructors were awarding certificates to students who had not completed the required 16 hours of training required by law. After conducting numerous interviews and reviewing records, ISP investigators confirmed the training was not conducted in accordance with the law.
The Firearms Concealed Carry Act (430 ILCS 66/75) states that firearms instructors are required to teach all applicants, who are not eligible for prior training credit, a minimum of 16 hours of curriculum approved by the ISP prior to receiving an Illinois Concealed Carry License Training Certificate.
“No system is going to be 100 percent fail-proof, and we know that there will be individuals determined to abuse the process,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Our efforts to encourage applicants to report suspicious activity or inconsistencies at every level are working, and we want to remind the public that anyone caught abusing the system could potentially face state and federal fraud charges — including jail time.”
Investigators also determined that 98 students who received the training from these instructors did not meet the minimum hours of required training. The ISP is in the process of notifying the students that their training is invalid and their applications will be denied. These students will be allowed to appeal the denial by submitting a written petition through the ISP’s administrative review process.
The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office has been notified of the revocations and is in the process of reviewing a range of options for corrective action. These options will depend on the evidence and circumstances involved in each case and may include a cease-and-desist letter, restitution or even criminal prosecution.
St. Clair State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said: “Anyone seeking to legally obtain a concealed carry license also expects that the firearms training will be conducted professionally, honestly, and will reinforce firearms safety and responsibility. “The people of good faith who have come forward believe in law-abiding, responsible gun ownership, and will ensure that the integrity of concealed carry training is upheld and not twisted into a means to defraud consumers.”
Integrity is an important part of the Concealed Carry License process, and the ISP is committed to ensuring the guidelines and criteria are met under the law. The ISP strongly urges applicants to review the rules governing the firearms training requirements, ask questions and demand credentials from the certified firearms instructor they are considering. A list of more than 2,700 certified firearms instructors can be found on the ISP Concealed Carry website, and any instructor who is no longer approved will be eliminated from the approved list.
The public can report abuses by completing the complaint form on the ISP Concealed Carry website at http://www.isp.state.il.us/, or by calling (217) 782-7980.
Posted March 18, 2014