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Anibal Contreras leads a second-day class at Fidelity Investigative Training Academy.

Chris Alan Williams/MEDILL

Illinois forges ahead with concealed-carry training

March 18, 2014

After court rulings at the federal and state levels Illinois became the last state in the union to legalize the concealed carry of firearms.

"Safety is always a concern," said Andre J.W. Queen Sr., the executive director at Fidelity Investigative Training Academy located in the Kilbourn Park neighborhood. We "want people to know the best practices."

Illinois requires 16 hours of training to receive a concealed-carry permit, which most training programs split into two days. The law stipulates the first eight hours are waived for any "active, retired or honorably discharged member of the United States Armed Forces."

Fidelity Training Academy charges $99 for the first day and $100 for the second.

Anibal Contreras is one of the instructors at Fidelity. During a second-day class last week, he stressed remaining calm and thinking clearly.

"Illinois does not have a stand-your-ground law," Contreras said. "If you can walk away from a situation, walk away."
The concealed-carry law allows the weapon to temporarily only be partially concealed, which "allows you those accidental mistakes" such as bending over, Contreras said. "It does not mean you can open carry."
If pulled over, remain calm, Contreras said. He also showed a video on YouTube titled "Tips When Stopped By Police and Carrying a Firearm" which is linked on the side of the page.
"I also urge you to go and start looking for self-defense insurance," Contreras said. "But remember this about self-defense insurance: it only pays out if you're justified to do something."
"If [a woman] puts an order of restraint against you, you're loosing your license" Contreras said.

Illinois does not have reciprocity for concealed-carry permits from other states, Queen said. "Indiana has a very broad" policy, and would accept an Illinois permit, however.

"Wisconsin is more restrictive," he said, but they will "recognize an Illinois resident who has a Utah non-resident" concealed-carry permit.

Utah is the most broadly accepted nationally because it conducts "periodic background checks for the entire life of the permit," Queen said.

Non-resident permits are also available from Florida. During the class, Contreras said "this class covers Florida." A student just needs to file the appropriate paperwork and mail it in.

If someone has an Illinois concealed-carry permit as well as non-resident permits from Utah and Florida, then they can "carry in 39 states," he said.

Fidelity became a licensed facility July 2000 and was one of the first places licensed to teach concealed-carry classes in Illinois, as of October 2013, Queen said.

At the end of February, the first 5,000 Illinois concealed-carry permits were mailed.

At 16 hours, Illinois has the longest training requirement in the nation. Queen said that requirement is correlated with the same concerns that kept the state from allowing concealed carry until forced to do so by the courts.