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Hundreds approved as instructors

Update: 5:05 pm, 9/26/13, Thursday ATWOOD -- Hundreds of people waiting to be concealed-carry instructors got their wish.
Update: 5:05 pm, 9/26/13, Thursday
ATWOOD -- Hundreds of people waiting to be concealed-carry instructors got their wish. A big response within about an hour.

It happened after people found out the lead instructor at Atwood Guns, along with 412 others, can offer training. He said earlier this week, he knew it was just a matter of time, but he didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

Just two days ago, the list of approved instructors was at 54. Now, it's up to 467.

State police have been sorting through applications, so in the meantime, Heath Fleener has been working on getting his classroom ready. He and other instructors can start teaching as soon as they get their curriculum approved.

Fleener says he's not sure how much the course will cost, but he's trying to keep it as affordable as possible. He's also working on securing a spot for a shooting range.

Fleener says a big priority will be on keeping the student-instructor ratio low. He plans on having one instructor for every five students during classroom training. Then, giving each instructor just two students in the field.

Another thing Atwood Guns is doing once classes start is giving back to the community. Profits from the first week will go toward helping a needy family in Villa Grove get a new van for their wheelchair-bound child.
Original: 5:44 pm, 9/24/13, Tuesday
ATWOOD -- Many people were disappointed when they didn't see their names on the approved instructor list for concealed-carry classes. That includes some in Central Illinois.

Atwood instructors say they were pretty surprised. Heath Fleener, lead instructor at Atwood Guns, says he's more than qualified for the job and he's got a wall of certificates to prove it. Fleener has trained people in the Department of Defense, law enforcement and the military. He thought his team would make the cut, but they haven't yet.

Fleener has been working on a special classroom anyway, which he plans to use once they get approved. He says it may just be a matter of time.

"I have confidence that they'll do it and they'll do it right," said Fleener. "But I also know that it's a process that we've never had before so the instructors at this point are kind of the guinea pigs for how the process is going to play out later."

Fleener says he's not sure how the state police is making cuts, especially since so many of the approved instructors are north of I-80. But he says he'll be ready to start classes as soon as he gets the call.

Fleener says he can't promote concealed-carry classes until he gets the go-ahead from state police. But he's already thought about what will be part of the curriculum when it's ready.
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