It has been nearly five years since Illinois allowed gun owners to carry concealed weapons.
2019 will be the first time that concealed carry holders will have to renew their licenses.
Rockford Police Investigator Chris Aldrich says the first five years under the law have gone pretty smoothly.
“We have not had issues with those individuals, dealing with our officers, which, again, we’re very thankful,” he said. “We want to keep it that way.”
One Loves Park gun store owner is seeing responsible gun owners planning ahead already.
Kenny Polhamus, owner of KAP Guns, at 7307 Edward Drive, said, “This month, we did two or three renewal classes already, and we’ve got two already scheduled for January. We’re adding more every day.”
Local police officers have been working with citizens who regularly carry a weapon concealed on their body.
“We fully support people using their 2nd Amendment rights, just do it legally and cooperate with law enforcement and we’re not going to present you any problems,” Aldrich said.
Polhamus has a unique way of explaining why he believes it is better to be safe than sorry, comparing a concealed carry license to having a working fire extinguisher in his business.
“Every year, a guy comes out and goes through every single fire extinguisher and charges us money, but they’re charged good and they’re ready to go. Every year he comes out, and every year I pay the bill. Every year, I’ve never used them,” he said.
Aldrich says that after seeing numerous school shooting reports from across the U.S., he understands why people want to get a gun license.
“I do believe that is weighing on people. And, their safety, and their family’s safety is paramount to them,” he said. “I don’t disagree with that. That’s the same way I feel about my family and whether I was in law enforcement or not, you want to keep your family safe and you want to keep yourself safe.”
Just as with a driver’s license, concealed carry licenses expire every three to five years.
If a gun owner is caught with an expired license, they could be arrested.