SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — More than 91,000 concealed-carry permits have been issued in Illinois since the state began allowing guns to be carried in public a year ago, according to Illinois State Police figures released Friday.
State police said 91,651 permits had been granted by the end of 2014. Cook County, which includes Chicago, led the way with almost 24,000 permits, or more than one-quarter of Illinois' total. Suburban Will County was a distant second, with more than 6,100 permits.
Illinois in 2013 became the last state in the nation to sign off on allowing concealed carry.
State police said the number of permits issued last year in Illinois peaked at about 18,000 in both March and April before sharply declining. Last month, about 5,000 permits were approved.
The state denied more than 2,300 applications, and 175 permits were revoked after they were granted, Friday's figures show.
Illinois, which had been the last state in the nation to allow its citizens to carry handguns in public, was compelled to change that when the Chicago-based federal appellate court ruled in December 2012 that the prohibition was unconstitutional.
After months of debate, Illinois lawmakers in 2013 narrowly beat a federal court deadline and adopted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act over then-Gov. Pat Quinn's vehement objections. Officials rushed to establish a system to handle what was expected to be a flood of applications and put in place an online application process that began in January 2014.
A flurry of ensuing state and federal lawsuits from Illinois residents whose applications for a permit to carry a concealed weapon were rejected without explanation prompted state police to require a state review board to reveal its reasoning.
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