Safety and an understanding of the law were stressed during a recent concealed carry class.
Certified instructors from the Twin Towers Gun Club were offering aNov. 16 class in Oregon to train a dozen people with the rules and regulations. A second portion of the class, practical skills, includes range shooting and additional safety demonstrations.
"A gun is a tool of self defense," said instructor Scott Schultz. "No one needs to know you have the gun."
He said having a concealed carry permit does not give the weapon's owner the right to go up to people and wave their gun around.
Students in the class learned that Illinois defines a concealed firearm as a loaded or unloaded handgun on or about a person. A firearm is concealed if it is completely or mostly concealed.
"If you can see the gun it is not concealed," Shultz said. "If it is accidentally visible that is allowed."
A concealed gun could be revealed when bending over or raising arms above your head, he said.
Training is required to earn the privilege to carry a concealed carry permit.
"In Illinois you need to be 21 years old, and complete the training," said Schultz. "The license is only valid for five years."
Training consists of an 16 hours which includes classroom time and pistol class at a gun range, both with certified instructors.
To qualify for a license a shooter needs to be 70 percent accurate on a target over 30 rounds. Ten are at 5 yards, 10 at 7 yards, and 10 at 10 yards on a standard B-27 target.
"In addition to being accurate, you need to follow all of the instructors instructions during the range class," said Schultz.
To renew a license, an additional three hours of training is required.
The permit fee is $150.
During the application process, local police agencies will have the ability to view who is requesting a permit and can make an objection to the application.
A situation that will come up for concealed carry permit-holders are routine traffic stops.
Any interaction with a police officer, including a traffic stop, the officer can request a concealed carry license.
Schultz said the permit-holder does not need to disclose the permit or if a gun is on their person or in their car unless specifically asked by an officer.
"You are not required to tell the officer you have a gun, but after a request you need to tell them about the weapon," Schultz said.
Instructor Jason White, who is also the Mt. Morris Police Chief, had a suggestion for permit-holders.
"Do not yell 'I have a gun' because an officer might pull a gun on you," said White. "Maybe hand your concealed carry permit with your license to let the officer know."
He said officers in the future may be able to see whether someone has a license on their squad car's computer by running the vehicle's tags.
A student in the class asked what should happen if the officer asks to see the gun.
"If the officer asks, then let the officer know where the gun is," said Schultz. "They may have you exit the vehicle and check for the gun."
Another section of the class discussed the 23 prohibited areas where guns are not allowed to be concealed.
Loaded firearms are not allowed on any form of public transportation, but an unloaded gun in a bag or case is allowed.
"At events like Autumn on Parade you can not attend the event with a concealed firearm," said Schultz. "You can go through to get to a home or business. You also can not attend the Oregon Trail Days beer garden with a concealed firearm."
Other locations that are not allowed include government buildings, public parks, and any facility displaying the 4 by 6 inch sign showing guns are not allowed.
A concealed carry permit-holder may bring their firearm to certain parking areas as long as they store the unloaded firearm out of view in a locked vehicle or case.
However, there are some locations where guns are never allowed.
Any property that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversees prohibits firearms from the property. This also prohibits the firearms from being in the vehicle.
In Ogle County that means anyone going to the Byron Generating Station may not bring a firearm to the property.
For additional information about a concealed carry course contact the Twin Towers Gun Club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classes will be also posted at www.nrainstructors.org/searchcourse.aspx.
The instructors will be scheduling additional classes in the spring.