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State awards contracts for concealed carry

July 24, 2013 at 07:39 AM

The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD — The state is awarding at least two contracts on an emergency basis worth more than $350,000 in order to implement Illinois’ new concealed-carry law.

Both contracts involve upgrading computer equipment to identify people who should not be allowed to carry concealed weapons. Emergency purchases allow the state to speed up purchasing by not going through sealed bidding.

In May, the Illinois State Police entered into a $175,000 contract with LRS Consulting Services of Springfield that will allow the state to “automate the identification and entry of prohibited persons into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”

In purchasing documents, state police say automating the system will increase the speed and accuracy of information fed into the system. The agency contends the current state police Firearm Owner’s Identification systems “are antiquated and difficult to modify and keep pace with changing legislation.”

“If this procurement is not approved, the ISP will not have the resources needed to automate the identification and entry of prohibited persons into the NICS system,” state police say.

At the time the contract was awarded, the state thought it was facing a June 8 deadline to enact concealed-carry legislation. That deadline was later extended by a month. Lawmakers gave final approval to concealed-carry legislation July 8.

It could still be months before the first concealed-carry permit is issued. The law gives the Illinois State Police six months to set up an application system, and the agency has another three months after that to approve applications. However, a lawsuit is pending asking the federal courts to let Illinoisans carry concealed weapons immediately.

The Department of Human Services is entering a contract with Levi, Ray & Shoup of Springfield for help in dealing with mental health reporting requirements in the new law. The contract is for $180,000.

DHS says the concealed-carry law requires mental health professionals to report a person who is “intellectually disabled” or “developmentally disabled” to DHS and ISP within 24 hours. The agency says the current FOID reporting system is not capable of handling this.

DHS spokeswoman Januari Smith said the law requires reporting of six different situations instead of only two, and DHS needs to upgrade its equipment so that information can be conveyed to the state police and FBI as needed.

State police have estimated it will cost $25 million to implement concealed carry. That’s based on 300,000 people seeking permits the first year.

Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527.

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