By Meredith Colias
The state police say they will need additional money and staff to oversee a new concealed carry law in Illinois.
In December, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated an Illinois law banning residents from carrying concealed guns. The law was the only one in the nation. The court gave the state 180 days to pass new legislation.
In addition to their other duties, the state police approve Firearm Owner Identification [FOID] applications for prospective gun owners. Under legislation currently being considered, the state police would also issue concealed carry permits. Under the proposals, applicants would pay fees for their permits, creating a funding source for administering the program.
Hiram Grau, director of the Illinois State Police, estimates his agency will need at least 60 staff members and a minimal $25 million in additional funding to devote to administering a concealed carry system in the state. “While our numbers and personnel are dwindling, our responsibilities are growing,” Grau said during an Illinois House hearing today.
Rep. John Cavaletto, a Salem Republican, said he wanted to help the state police as much as possible, but money is tight under the current budget situation. “When you're dealing with X amount of dollars, X amount of dollars is all you've got,” he said.
The Illinois State Police is asking for nearly $383.6 million for Fiscal Year 2014 operations. The number is down slightly from the $383.8 million the state police estimates it will spend in FY 2013.
Grau said he planned on instituting three new cadet classes. He estimates seven to nine cadets from a class of more than 40 would be used to police some high crime areas in cities such as Chicago and East St. Louis.