As Illinois prepares to implement its new right-to-carry law for handgun owners, the Illinois State Police have begun the approval process for instructors and curricula. The State Police began sifting through instructor applications earlier in September and are now posting the names of approved instructors.
In October, the State Police will add information on approved courses as well.
Also during the week, the state unveiled a new child abuse prevention program using the slogan, “You are Not Alone.”
The state’s ongoing economic problems continue as the latest jobs numbers show the state now has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation.
And, Illinois families are being urged to take advantage of College Illinois!, before the annual deadline to lock in rates.
Review of concealed-carry instructors underway
The Illinois State Police are beginning to roll out the state’s initial listing of approved concealed-carry instructors and as of Sept. 26, there were 467 accepted instructors. The list is likely to grow, as Illinois State Police (ISP) officials say there have been more than 1,000 applications submitted.
Approving instructors and training curricula are among the first steps needed in order to meet the expected demand for permits once the application process begins January 5.
ISP officials will publish a listing of all approved curriculum on September 30. The department will continue to update the listing for approved instructors in the coming days and weeks.
For more information on the concealed-carry permitting process, please visit www.isp.state.il.us/firearms/ccw.
State Launches New Child Abuse Campaign
It is estimated that one in five children are abused or neglected before they turn 18. Furthermore, 70 percent of child abuse goes unreported and children tell an average of seven adults about mistreatment before it is reported to authorities.
To combat child abuse and neglect, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has launched a new statewide campaign aimed at stopping child abuse and neglect. The campaign, called “You are Not Alone” aims to distribute 25,000 child abuse prevention posters to public and private schools statewide.
The posters will promote the state’s Child Abuse Hotline, and inform children and adults to call if they, a friend, or relative may need help. The number to the state’s Child Abuse Hotline is (800) 252-2873. It is available 24 hours a day and calls can remain confidential.
Illinois Economic Indicators Flat
The latest federal statistics continue to show an Illinois economy that remains stagnant, lagging behind the rest of the nation.
Illinois’ August jobless rate of 9.2% remained unchanged since June. Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly compilation show Illinois with the second highest unemployment rate of any state. Only Nevada at 9.5 percent is worse.
The 9.2 percent unemployment rate represents about 600,000 Illinoisans out of work and is nearly two full percentage points above the national unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. Another comparison of figures shows that while the national unemployment rate dropped from 8.9 percent to 7.3 percent over the past year, Illinois’ unemployment rate has increased over the same time period from 8.9 percent to the current 9.2 percent.
Figures also show Illinois ranks 45th among the 50 states for job creation and other recent federal figures show nearly 15 percent of Illinoisans live in poverty. On the jobs front, if Illinois had simply grown at the national average over this time period, we’d have nearly 283,000 more jobs today.
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), a non-partisan public policy research organization, reports the average unemployment rate of the five surrounding states is 7.2 percent. That’s also a full two percentage points lower than Illinois’ 9.2 percent rate.
On the positive side, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reports approximately 5,900 jobs were created in August.
Violence Prompts Questions about Guard Role
In the wake of a mass shooting at a park in Chicago that left 13 people wounded, some in the news media speculated that the governor could take action by calling in the National Guard.
Similarly, when gun violence flared in July in Chicago, a state representative held a press conference demanding the National Guard be brought in to stop the “mayhem.”
But, experts say such tasks are outside the ordinary duties and training of the National Guard. They point out that the National Guard is trained as a military force not a police force and, even if deployed, would not have powers to stop and search citizens for weapons or the power to arrest anyone.
Instead, the National Guard is perhaps best known on the domestic front for its expertise in dealing with natural disasters – the kind of quick response and rescue mission that is more in keeping with military training.
Typically, guard forces are mobilized in a state after a governor declares an emergency. The guard then coordinates with state and local emergency management teams to assist in relief and rescue efforts as needed.
The National Guard has its legal foundation in the United States Constitution and was started in Massachusetts in the 1600’s when three militias were formed by colonists. The National Guard became a federally-funded component and reserve unit of the U.S. Army in 1903.