- Associated Press - Sunday, March 30, 2014

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Two southeastern Illinois counties have the highest per capita number of concealed carry applications, according to a newspaper analysis.

Hardin and White counties topped the state for the most permit requests based on their population - a rate of 12.5 applications per 1,000 residents, The (Peoria) Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1hPFWWW ) reported. The article was part of joint project published by GateHouse Media’s Illinois newspapers.

So far, 54 residents in Hardin County have applied for the permits issued by Illinois State Police and another 184 applications have come from White County residents.

Cook County, which is home to Chicago, had the least number of applications per capita - 2.3 per 1,000 residents. But the state’s most populated county led the state in simple numbers, with 12,027 applicants so far.

State Police began accepting permit applications in January and by early March the agency said nearly 49,000 people had applied. All permit applicants have to attend at least 16 hours of training before they can apply for the licenses, as well as meet requirements such as spending at least an hour at a gun range and passing a live-fire exercise involving shooting at least 30 rounds.

The first permits were mailed this month.

“Right now, we think the process is moving right along,” said Valinda Rowe, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Illinois Carry. “The Illinois State Police are doing a great job.”

Officials expect about 300,000 applications to be filed this year.

Illinois is the last state in the nation to allow concealed carry.

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Information from: Journal Star, https://pjstar.com

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