SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Certified firearms instructors in Illinois can now apply for concealed carry licenses.

The Illinois State Police say they opened the application process on Wednesday so instructors can apply in advance of the Jan. 5 deadline.

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Illinois law says that certified instructors must be eligible for a concealed carry license. State police say giving them early access to the application process will also help test the application system.

There are almost 2,000 certified instructors listed on the agency’s concealed carry website.

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Authorities say they expect the website will be used to process more than 400,000 applications next year.

Illinois lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that made Illinois the last state in the United States to make it legal for residents to carry concealed weapons.

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