Concealed-carry process to be easier for area residents
Grundy County buying new fingerprint machine to help speed up application time
MORRIS – Grundy County residents wanting to apply for their concealed-carry license can do so more conveniently now that the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office is buying a new fingerprint processing machine.
If fingerprints are submitted with a concealed-carry application, the Illinois State Police is required to process that application in no more than 90 days. Those who don’t submit fingerprints could wait as long as 120 days.
Currently, Grundy County’s fingerprinting machine is not equipped to submit fingerprints for concealed carry applicants, forcing Grundy County applicants to drive to Joliet or pay a private company for the service.
“I would request that we get a new machine now,” Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan said. “[Grundy County residents] can come to the jail, get it done and speed up the process rather than rolling ink prints and taking months to get the process completed.”
The Grundy County Finance Committee unanimously approved to appropriate no more than $15,000 from the county’s contingency fund for the new machine – which is estimated to cost about $24,000 – at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting. The remaining $9,000 needed for the machine will be paid by the sheriff’s office.
“It will be providing a valuable service to Grundy County,” Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson said.
This decision comes as the sheriff’s office already was shopping for a new machine. The current equipment is 10 years old, outdated and in poor condition, Callahan said. The estimated cost to repair the current machine was $9,000.
Callahan said the current machine wouldn’t have lasted beyond 2015.
“I strongly believe we shouldn’t invest money into that machine because we’re going to have to replace it in two years anyway,” Callahan said.
The new machine could be installed and ready for use within the week now that the funds have been approved, but the county still must decide how much to charge for concealed carry fingerprinting.
“I can guarantee you there is already a county that has the live scan machines and is charging fees,” Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland said. “We’re going to see what they’re charging and obviously Grundy County will want to be comparable.”
Helland said the fee will be “reasonable” and that the county may even price the service competitively to attract applicants from other counties to drive to Grundy for their fingerprinting.
The pricing structure could be different for residents and nonresidents and may offer discounts to veterans and others.
Based on the high volume of applicants, the finance committee agreed that the machine has the potential to raise enough revenue from a service fee to potentially pay for the new machine.
“I think there’s a revenue stream to pay for this,” Severson said.
In just two days, Jan. 5-7, 125 Grundy residents applied for their concealed-carry licenses, Helland said.
Concealed-carry law – allowing those with the proper license to carry a concealed handgun on their person – went into effect in Illinois on the first day of 2014. As of Jan. 7, the Illinois State Police reported that more than 11,000 concealed-carry license applications had already been accepted, with 4,525 of those being submitted Jan. 5 alone.
Severson said he expects a high volume of applicants in Grundy County.
“I want to get [my application]done, but right now, I have to drive Joliet for the service,” Helland said. “If we can get the machine in 10 days, I’ll wait.”