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Editor’s Notebook: Going through a concealed-carry class

In December, I received an email from GAT Guns in East Dundee with the subject line: “VIP Introduction to Concealed Carry.”

The email went out to members of the media and included an invitation for journalists to attend an event where they could learn about the state’s new concealed-carry law.

Knowing that we would be writing more about that topic (the Kane County Chronicle launched a two-day series about concealed carry Friday), photo editor Sandy Bressner and I decided to take advantage of the offer. And in early January, there we were, signing in at an actual training class for those seeking concealed-carry licenses.

We spent about eight hours at GAT Guns that day, learning about the new law, firearm safety, various concealed-carry holsters and other related topics.

I thought the discussions on how to properly handle concealed firearms were incredibly interesting. During one part of the training, the instructors spoke about the importance of practicing – over and over – how to unholster a weapon and prepare to shoot it.

Participants in the class practiced this maneuver many times with their own – unloaded – weapons. It was easy to observe how important that muscle memory would be, in the event one needed to use a concealed weapon in a life-threatening situation.

As a side lesson of sorts during the class, Sandy and I learned about different types of guns and ammunition from Paul Warren, the owner of Safe Side Tactical and a sergeant with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

Safe Side Tactical conducts concealed-carry training classes at GAT Guns.

Paul then took Sandy and me to the shooting range at GAT Guns, where we were able to practice the concealed-carry shooting test.

It was the first time that Sandy or I had ever shot a gun. (Although my dad and I used to practice target shooting with a BB gun when I was younger.)

We both would have passed the concealed-carry shooting test. The experience really got our blood pumping.

I asked Sandy this week what she learned from our concealed-carry training experience.

“I took away the respect that law enforcement has for gun control and their ability to convey that to a class to keep that respect going and to know that this doesn’t make Illinois an open shooting range,” she said. “It makes it so safety is the No. 1 concern.”

Thanks to GAT Guns for inviting the Chronicle to learn more about concealed carry.

For information about the state’s new law, turn to pages 12 and 13 of today’s paper, where you will find part two of our two-part series.

• Kathy Gresey is editor of the Kane County Chronicle and president of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Board. Contact her at or 630-845-5368. Learn more about NINA at

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