A fairly common question, and one that has received much disinformation from various sources, is the question “Are fingerprints required for an Illinois concealed carry license?”
The short and simple answer is probably not. That is somewhat vague though. In most cases fingerprints are not required, however, the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing (FCCL) Licensing Review Board (CCLRB) may request fingerprints on a case by case basis. This request likely would only happen if you have a very common name. Students who CHOOSE to submit fingerprints with their application may receive their License approvals up to 30 days quicker than those who choose to submit their license application without fingerprints. However, fingerprints are no guarantee of a speedy application process.
Illinois Concealed Carry fingerprints Are Optional…
Even though fingerprints are optional, some instructors are insisting their students must get fingerprinted. While there is nothing wrong with getting fingerprinted before applying for your Illinois Concealed Carry license, it simply is not true that it is a requirement for every applicant. In fact, the added fees for the live scan fingerprinting service only serves to drive up the price to exercise a freedom, the right to bear arms.
So why are some unscrupulous persons insisting that applicants must be fingerprinted? I can’t answer for all, but it’s probably about money. Some instructors have gotten set up with the very costly Live Scan fingerprint scanners, and are now trying to recoup that investment. Other live scan fingerprint vendors who have been set up scanning for other purposes are offering instructors kickbacks.
But don’t take my word for it. The Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act (FCCL) states the following in regards to fingerprints:
The Board shall issue a decision within 30 days of receipt of the objection from the Department. However, the Board need not issue a decision within 30 days if:
(1) the Board requests information from the applicant, including but not limited to electronic fingerprints to be submitted to the Department, in accordance with subsection (e) of this Section, in which case the Board shall make a decision within 30 days of receipt of the required information from the applicant;
(8) a full set of fingerprints submitted to the Department in electronic format, provided the Department may accept an application submitted without a set of in which case the Department shall be granted 30 days in addition to the 90 days provided under subsection (e) of Section 10 of this Act to issue or deny a license;
Sec. 50. License renewal. Applications for renewal of a license shall be made to the Department. A license shall be renewed for a period of 5 years upon receipt of a completed renewal application, completion of 3 hours of training required under Section 75 of this Act, payment of the applicable renewal fee, and completion of an investigation under Section 35 of this Act. The renewal application shall contain the information required in Section 30 of this Act, except that the applicant need not resubmit a full set of fingerprints.
In considering an objection of a law enforcement agency or the Department, the Board shall review the materials received with the objection from the law enforcement agency or the Department. By a vote of at least 4 commissioners, the Board may request additional information from the law enforcement agency, Department, or the applicant, or the testimony of the law enforcement agency, Department, or the applicant. The Board may require that the applicant submit electronic fingerprints to the Department for an updated background check where the Board determines it lacks sufficient information to determine eligibility. The Board may only consider information submitted by the Department, a law enforcement agency, or the applicant. The Board shall review each objection and determine by a majority of commissioners whether an applicant is eligible for a license.
(1) the Board requests information from the applicant, including but not limited to electronic fingerprints, to be submitted to the Department, in accordance with subsection (e) of this Section, in which case the Board shall make a decision within 30 days of receipt of the required information from the applicant;
Read the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Licensing Act here: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3497&ChapterID=39
Now that you have the facts, if you are considering an instructor who is telling you that fingerprints are mandatory one of two things is happening; Either the instructor has not read the law, or the instructor is intentionally misleading you. Ask yourself, “Either way is this the right instructor for me?”
Update September 8th, 2016
It has come to my attention that some fingerprint vendors are claiming that it may take 150 days for the Illinois State Police to process your Illinois Concealed Carry License Application if submitted without prints. I have heard this vendor state twice that the ISP is sending out extension letters for applications without prints.
THIS IS NOT TRUE. It is a scare tactic to trick you into getting fingerprints. Currently, applications without fingerprints are taking about 110 days on average while applications with fingerprints are taking about 45 days, based on conversations with my students and other licensees. Yes, your application may be processed quicker if you get fingerprints done, but I can not stand lies and scare tactics!
The following is a correspondence from the Illinois State Police on this subject…
ISP FSB has not sent any extension letters out. Only the CCLRB has requested additional time and it does not matter if prints are submitted or not. If you apply without fingerprints it is processed in 120 days.
Illinois State Police
Firearms Services Bureau
Concealed Carry Unit
Finger prints are optional for the Illinois Concealed Carry license. However there are some benefits to voluntarily providing your fingerprints which includes reduced processing times.