Daniel Schroeder wants to instill the right mindset in his students pursuing a license to carry concealed weapons.
As the lead firearms instructor of Metro Training Group, Schroeder said people need to understand that carrying a gun is a great responsibility. He wants them to try to avoid conflict at all costs when carrying one in public.
“We want to send them with something to think about, along with teaching them to know the firearm is a tool of last resort,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder, who moved his firearms training classes from Waterman to Plano a month ago, started holding the concealed-carry classes this month. He’s among more than a dozen certified instructors listed for DeKalb County on the state police website.
Local instructors say interest in these classes are building, even though applications for the concealed carry permits may not be available until next year. The license, created through the Firearm Concealed Carry Act state legislators passed in July, will cost about $150 for five years for state residents and $300 for five years for out-of-state residents.
Dennis Leifheit, owner of ZZ Cop’s Gun Room in Sycamore, said he has more than 70 people on a waiting list to take his classes. Leifheit has had firearms experience almost all his life and has been a firearms instructor at DeKalb, Rochelle and Genoa police departments during his careers with each of them.
People who decide to carry a concealed weapon can benefit by having personal protection, because police cannot be everywhere at once, he said.
“The majority of the time an incident happens, law enforcement are not always available,” Leifheit said.
Leifheit, whose classes have already been approved by the state, plans to begin holding them in November. His course would cost $250 or less, he said.
To qualify for a concealed carry license, a person must be at least 21 years old, with a firearm owner identification card and complete 16 hours of firearms training, among other requirements. People who have completed the National Rifle Association’s basic pistol shooting course can receive credit for 8 of those 16 hours, Schroeder said.
Schroeder said the first eight hours of the mandatory concealed carry training are similar to the basic pistol shooting course offered by the NRA, with some minor differences. The second phase of the classes educates trainees on the Firearms Concealed Carry Act, laws on the use of force and laws on having a firearm owners identification card. After that, people complete range training, which involves practicing how to shoot and draw from a holster.
“I don’t agree with mandatory training to exercise a constitutional right, but on the other hand, training isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder isn’t worried about safety issues with people carrying concealed weapons. He said people who hold concealed carry licenses are on average more law-abiding than other people, because of the mandatory background checks and training they undergo to receive their license.
So far, about 30 people have taken Schroeder’s concealed carry classes since he started them this month. He’s optimistic there may be more customers in the future.
“Once that word gets out there and we get closer to January,” he said, “it might be close to a time where it might be hard to find a place in a class.”
To learn more about concealed carry in Illinois, locate certified concealed carry instructors or find out about concealed carry classes near you, visit the Illinois State Police webpage at shawurl.com/u4h.