and firing ranges to carry out 16-hour training courses mandated by the law, and
probably modifying the Law Enforcement Agencies Data Systems computer database
to accommodate the background checks, Bond said.
The governor also will have to appoint a seven-member Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board to handle objections to permits lodged by law enforcement and mental health officials. The law requires the board to be made up of mostly people with experience as federal law enforcement or court officers.
State police will have to run background checks, including fingerprint searches, on all applicants, Bond said. One of the most complicated tasks will be searching for evidence of mental illness, she said. County and state mental health agencies, as well as courts, will report mental health issues to the state, she said.
Under the new law, police and prosecutors can object to a permit on several grounds if they believe a person is a danger to themselves or others. In addition to mental health issues, objections can be filed if a person has been arrested five or more times in the previous seven years, or three or more times on gang-related charges.
Applicants can be rejected for two or more convictions related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if they underwent residential or court-ordered treatment for substance abuse in the last five years.
Reaction from law enforcement has been mixed.
Several Chicago police officers who work in high-crime neighborhoods said they support the law, in part because law-abiding citizens who live in dangerous neighborhoods may have a better chance to defend themselves. The officers, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified, agreed that there would be a learning curve for police officers encountering people permitted to be armed.
"I think it'll be a little bit of a rough start in the beginning," said one officer who works in a South Side district. "I'm happy for the average citizen who is not up to no good."
That attitude is not in step with the Chicago Police Department's top brass. Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have opposed concealed carry, saying that more people carrying guns is the last thing that's needed in Chicago, home to some of the most violent neighborhoods in the country.
"The answer to guns is not more guns," McCarthy said when asked about the law at an unrelated news conference Monday. "We're going to have tragedies. ... It needs to be controlled in a reasonable fashion. And I don't see that that's happening right now.
Training, both to shoot a gun accurately and to do so in a life-and-death situation, is a concern shared by McCarthy and other law enforcement experts as they evaluate the new law. A former federal agent who spent many years as a firearms trainer said the willingness and ability to use deadly force should be a daunting and serious consideration for people planning to apply for a permit.
When a person feels threatened, using a gun becomes more difficult than firing at targets at a gun range, said the former agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"When your heart rate goes up in a stressful situation, your fine motor skills deteriorate. You get tunnel vision," he said. "The added stress of not knowing whether you have the skills to fire a well-placed shot -- to eliminate that, you need to practice."
Federal agents shoot anywhere from hundreds to more than a thousand rounds of ammunition a year to maintain their shooting skills.
Although they trained for years with firearms and had been in numerous dangerous situations on the street, the former agent said he and his colleagues had a joke to sum up their attitudes about guns: "Best way to survive a gunfight is don't be there when the gunfight happens."
Tribune reporter Ray Long contributed.
(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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