It's months until people can carry concealed firearms, but many people are getting their training out of the way.
One local site that started training almost immediately was Crack Shot of Robinson. Owners James and Zina Lockhart were the first two people to be registered as instructors in the county.
They offered their first class on Nov. 2, the second day it was legal to do so, and have continued to hold classes, preparing people for the date it will be possible to get permits.
Carrying a firearm is a major responsibility, the two maintain.
"If you shoot somebody, your life is gonna change," James said.
A big part of the class is knowing what will happen to a licensee if that happens, he said.
There are two classes available to earn a permit, both matching the state law requirement. The standard one is 16 hours, which they offer on weekends. There is an eight-hour course on Wednesday available for people who were in the military, law enforcement or already have other training as approved by the law.
Part of the training includes a state-mandated 30-shot accuracy test that must be passed with a 70-percent accuracy to qualify. He suggests people bring about 100 rounds so they can practice before taking the test. Because of liability concerns, only factory-loaded ammunition is allowed.
Participants are also responsible for their own hearing and vision protection.
They should also wear their holster, he said. Zina, who is also the range safety officer, pointed out that many people who use handguns, such as hunters, do not necessarily draw from a holster before shooting.
To register for their course, people have to go to the store, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. It is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
The business can be reached at 544-4335, and James Lockhart can be reached on his cell at 554-0018.
People applying have to supply a government-issued identification and their FOID card. If they are eligible for the reduced time class, they also need to provide proof of training.
Costs are $175 for the two day class and $100 for the one day.
The range is on County Road 1650E, about a half mile south of Illinois Route 33.
Also available for training in the county are the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Dale Milam, Jacob Baxter and Joseph and Jean Campanella.