Two St. Clair County firearms instructors fired; students’ applications to be denied

(KTVI)–Illinois State Police gave two St. Clair County firearms instructors the boot just a few months into the state’s new concealed-carry program.

Ninety-eight students who paid for training and might have thought they were about to get their permits are out of luck.

The new law requires 16 hours of training for a permit.

The two instructors weren’t even coming close, authorities said.

It is the first action of its kind since Illinois’ concealed-carry program launched in January.

Students came forward saying two instructors at Sparky’s Armory in Mascoutah gave as few as 2-6 hours of training instead of the required 16 and still issued certificates saying students were ready to get their permits from the state.

“There was some instruction given but it was not anywhere near the amount it should have been,” said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.  He said he did not expect any criminal charges in the case.   “It’s clear to us that they did not meet requirements they were supposed to meet or even attempt to.  That’s why we are making sure they cannot teach the classes any further and that the students who paid these fees, that that money will be returned to them.”

None of the students has received a permit.

Illinois State Police are notifying them that they no longer qualify.

The instructors at Metro Shooting Supplies in Belleville have trained nearly 900 people under the new program.  They and the owners applaud authorities for enforcing the rules.  They remind people to check the credentials of their instructors; make sure they don’t cut corners.

Metro requires even more training than the state does for people with no firearms experience.  Ultimately you have to hit a target within a certain range with 70% of your shots from varied distances.

“So if you’ve never shot a gun before, there’s almost no way you’re going to pass the shooting qualification.  If you have a valid instructor who’s following the regulations and doing things the way they should, you’re going to fail,” said Metro co-owner, Amy King.

She said the process typically costs students around $300 each.

Kelly is sending “cease and desist” letters to the instructors at Sparky’s, telling them instructors they’re out of the program and must return the students’ money.

People at Sparky’s tell Fox 2 they’ll have a response to the Illinois State Police disciplinary action but they first wanted to talk with their attorney.

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Email: Andy.Banker@tvstl.com

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