Gun range business booming

By Alex Davis |

Published 03/24 2014 04:30PM

Updated 03/24 2014 05:18PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Gun range owners are trying to keep up with demand as thousands of residents apply for concealed-carry permits. Applicants must attend at least sixteen hours of training before getting a permit. That's driving up business at area ranges. WCIA-3's Alex Davis has more on the booming business.

Owners are confident their classes will stay in demand. They say they think there will always be a need since young adults, turning 21, will need to go through the application process as well.

Plus, people need to keep up on their shooting skills. Ranges around the state are seeing a spike in business.

"It's busier on weekends, but you can usually get in if you're patient."

So, retiree William Andrew has adapted to the influx of foot traffic. He gets his shooting fix in during the week.

"Since concealed-carry, it's definitely gotten busier and it can be difficult to get in based on what time of the day or night you try to get here."

Andrew is among the first in Illinois to get his concealed-carry permit.

"Putting it all together, the process went surprisingly, surprisingly well and I got my permit, probably a month earlier than I anticipated."

Last month, 5,000 permits were mailed out and more are on the way everyday. That's just one reason Aaron Turner, of Capitol City Arms Supply, is expecting business to remain steady.

"The concealed-carry seems to be bringing people out of the woodwork. People who haven't shot before, that haven't been interested in firearms before are coming into the business."

Turner says, even if application numbers dip, he sees business booming for years to come.

"The thing is, is everybody turns 21, so it's not going to stop. It's still going to be there, but maybe the classes won't be as full. Maybe they won't be as many people so amped up to get it."

Plus, Turner says, gun owners need routine practice to keep their skills on target.

"Your shooting goes down if you don't practice. Your shooting skills, I should say, go down. You should be in here at least, two to three times a month, at least. Probably more like once a week is what they really should be doing in here."

Another reason Turner may stay busy? Illinois State Police expect 300,000 concealed-carry permits to be filed this year.

Nearly 14,000 Illinois gun owners can now legally carry a concealed weapon. Many business owners have placed signs stating guns are prohibited on their property. Others say they still haven't made the decision whether to allow them or not.

Illinois State Representative Dennis Reboletti (R) helped craft the law. He says it's one of the most restrictive in the country. Some of those places include airports, schools, courthouses, stadiums and hospitals.

If you violate any restrictions spelled out in the law, you could face fines or jail time. Three violations results in your license being revoked.

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