Will Co. Board members offer concealed-carry gun course
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com November 1, 2013 11:08PM
Will County Board Member Steve Balich is co-hosting an Illinois concealed-carry class with 2A Firearms Education on Nov. 7 and 8. | Susan DeMar Lafferty~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:38AM
In two months, adults in Illinois will be eligible to get a license to carry a concealed handgun for self defense — something that residents of every other state are able to do now.
“They should have done this a long time ago,” Will County Board member Steve Balich (R-Homer Glen) said of Illinois legislators.
Balich has a Utah license that allows him to carry a gun in more than 30 states.
Part of the licensing process under Illinois’ concealed-carry law is completion of a 16-hour training class that involves classroom instruction and at least four hours at a gun range.
To help local residents meet that requirement, Balich and fellow county board member Mike Fricilone (R-Homer Glen), will host the two-day program from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Mullets Sports Bar and Restaurant, 14309 Bell Road, Homer Glen, in cooperation with 2A Firearms Education and the Homer-Lockport Tea Party.
They have secured reduced pricing of $260 for the 16-hour class for those who register through the local Tea Party at www.2AFE.com/tea-party.html or call 2A Firearms Education at (815) 714-9757. The class will be limited to 40 participants.
Balich, a member of the Homer-Lockport Tea Party and founder of the Will County Tea Party Alliance, said he expects the class to be popular and plans to offer a weekend class later.
“I wanted to be sure to offer this in our area because it is our constitutional right,” Balich said, estimating that half the residents in the Homer Glen/Lockport area own a gun.
“Since it is part of our state law, we are just looking to give the opportunity to people who qualify. Classes are being run throughout the state, but this is an opportunity to have it locally,” Fricilone said.
Ironically, the class is being held in the rear banquet room of a bar. Illinois law prohibits guns in bars as well as at schools, parks, government buildings and on public transportation.
Balich stressed that no guns will be allowed in the class, which will use a separate rear entrance and have no access to the bar area.
Mullets’ owner Sam Akkawi said he offered the room free of charge to Balich and Fricilone because he has a “great relationship with the township and the village. Any time they need anything, I’m here. I want to maintain that relationship.”
The class will cover all aspects of the new law — where it’s legal to carry a gun, where it’s not and when the law allows you to use a gun, Balich said.
“You have to feel your life is threatened. You have to make sure you have no other choice,” he said.
Students will be able to make an appointment for the shooting portion of the training class at 2A Firearms Education’s range in Kankakee, where they will learn to handle, load and fire a gun, Balich said.
He said he’s arranging the class because he fully supports concealed carry and views it as “my constitutional right. I do not feel threatened, but I could protect myself if I need to.” Although he’s never had to use his gun, Balich said he would as a “last-ditch effort” to protect himself.
Not everyone is required to take the full 16-hour class. Active or retired military personnel and those who have taken a firearms safety course may only need the eight-hour class, which is offered on Friday for $135.
Persons with any firearms training may be exempt from four or eight hours of the 16-hour course. Those who are unsure of what training they need should call Brian at 2A at (815) 714-9757.