I never thought I’d live to see the day. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Illinois’ first concealed carry gun licenses — about 5,000 of them — are being printed and mailed today, Illinois State Police officials said in a morning press conference.

Officials said they have received more than 50,000 applications. Those being mailed today were early approvals, mostly for those who submitted fingerprints along with their application. …

The new law allowing concealed guns to be carried in public was cobbled together after an appellate court struck down the state’s concealed carry ban in December 2012.

An online system for applying for permits was launched in January. State police also are working on a paper application process that they hope to have completed by July.

Of course, permits are still very subject to the approval of law enforcement, and there are a whole heap of absurd restrictions on where Illinois residents can and cannot carry — but heck, it’s certainly something, and more than what I thought they’d accomplish in such a relatively short time frame. Despite all of the noise at the federal level and over a handful of states hastily pushing through ill-conceived gun restrictions in the last couple of years, the underlying and encouraging pattern in state gun-law changes has been trending most heavily toward liberalization and getting rid of the stigma of gun ownership. That’s good news, and to close, I’ll tease this great piece from on the topic from the Chicago Reader that I highly recommend you go finish:

The first lesson Gerald Vernon shared with his conceal-and-carry class is, to him, the most fundamental: “The only thing that stops bad people with guns is good people with guns.”

His ten students—eight men and two women, all African-Americans—were listening intently. They had gathered in a meeting room at a south-side social service center to learn about gun ownership and self-defense from Vernon, a veteran firearms instructor who was seated at the front of the room next to a table set with an array of revolvers and semiautomatic handguns from his collection.

The students didn’t appear to need any convincing. “I’m interested in protection,” explained Thomas Brandon, 57, when it was his turn to introduce himself. The others said they were there for the same reason.