I thought Elmhurst was the true Western Front, now I'm not so sure. This may just be poor reporting but is likely also a further demonstration of how much more education people need. I've probably walked right past this Kirsten Powers with a loaded handgun...
Safety concerns raised over a planned firearms class qualifying people to carry concealed weapons in Illinois are baseless, according to Elmhurst police chief Michael Ruth.
"It's strictly a classroom environment," Ruth said Wednesday. "There's no weapons, there's no firearms, there's no ammunition. There's none of those things."
Social media activity on a couple of Elmhurst Facebook pages had raised the specter of armed students coming to the Sept. 23 and 24 classes being offered in the Knights of Columbus Hall at 537 S. York St.
Brad Carey, who manages hall rentals, was as emphatic as Ruth about the rental by Illinois Concealed Carry, LLC, the organization putting on the classes.
"In the contract I had them sign, there's no ammunition allowed in the hall," Carey said. "There's no shooting going on."
Carey said during the rental the Knights bar will be closed and locked up.
The issue may have been fueled on social media, but it got to the Elmhurst City Council meeting Tuesday when resident Kirsten Powers told council members about her concerns. Powers cited what she said were written statements by previous class attendees that they were "required to bring a firearm" and were "required to shoot on the last day of class."
Ruth and Carey were clear that no firearms would be brought to the class and certainly none would be fired in Elmhurst. Both said after a full class day on Saturday, the Sunday classroom work would end at 1 p.m. Participants are expected then to leave Elmhurst for hands-on gun work at an approved firing range outside the city.
Ruth said those intending to fire weapons outside Elmhurst after the class must possess a valid Illinois Firearms Owners Identification card issued by the Illinois State Police. Weapons to be transported must be broken down and not easily accessible from within the vehicle.
A representative of Illinois Concealed Carry declined to comment.
Ruth said the classes don't violate any local laws and that city officials had no reason to intervene.
"It's a freedom of speech issue and a freedom of assembly issue," he said.
Carey was also clear that for the Knights, it was simply a hall rental.
"If there was any danger to anybody in Elmhurst, we wouldn't be doing it," he said.
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