I am a complete newbie to firearms.
I don't have my FOID card yet and I have not taken any formal training. My girlfriend and I are interested in getting into firearms for recreational plinking at ranges and self defense (mostly just for the plinking, we live in a very safe area).
I'd like to get a FOID card for myself and my girlfriend; I have seen that I can either go to a firearms dealer to fill out an application or print out an application online and send it in... and wait 30 days for it to process. Does the on-site application at the firearms dealer go any faster or is there any quicker way to get a FOID card (I was hoping to get her a firearm for a christmas present
Where are some good ranges in the Chicagoland/Milwaukee area? I have found a few online, but cannot find any reviews.
I would be interested in training if it would help out but I haven't been able to find out much information on available courses. I took training through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation when I started riding motorcycles and it was a big help (not to mention gave me a huge discount on insurance). Is there any good standardized training program for firearms in North-Eastern Illinois or South-Eastern Wisconsin? I'm willing to drive a little ways for a good program if you think it would help, but I'm a quick learner and don't mind reading or doing internet-based training if courses available are not worth it (I don't want to be treated like a baby due to the lowest-common-denominator factor).
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!