Monday, April 7, 2014

Debating Gun Control and the Illinois Conceal Carry Law

I have often heard these statements about gun control and the Illinois Conceal Carry Law: “We don’t need any more guns in the world. Banning guns will save lives. There is no constitutional right for an ‘individual’ to bear arms. If you have a loaded gun, you’ll be tempted to use it. Guns in the home increase the likelihood of killing a family member. We won't be able to tell the difference between the bad guy and the good guy holding the gun. Concealed Carry will create a Wild West shootout on our streets. Conceal Carry gives a person a false sense of security. Law enforcement agencies do not support the Conceal Carry Law…”

It is a good thing that being confronted by an armed intruder is an atypical scenario for most people. Nevertheless, is it fair to deny well-trained law-abiding citizens a secure self-defense alternative before the police can arrive? Please explain in the “Comment” section.

It is believed that gun control laws do not work in a world where millions of weapons already exist and where hundreds of thousands of violent perpetrators illegally own them. (Like you, I wish there were no guns in the world, but that is not our reality). Moreover, it is believed by many people that the right to bear arms is a pre-emption for crime, and that gun control laws do not reduce crimes. Instead, they deprive law-abiding citizens of a means for contingent crucial protection until the police arrive too late.

What will help reduce violent behavior is “focusing action on crime and anti-social behavior hotspots, repeat victims, and prolific or high volume offenders is… [Furthermore], understanding what is causing high volume offending or problems in hotspots, and coming up with specific solutions – often in partnership with others – allows the police to drive down crime” (What is the best thing the police can do to reduce crime?). 

Do you agree or disagree that law-abiding citizens who are properly trained in the use of firearms can help deter a potential crime in their homes and perhaps in their communities, and that general public safety might in fact improve with a well-trained armed citizenry?

“[Do you remember when] Steven Phillip Kazmierczak, 27, a U of I graduate student and former Northern Illinois University student, shot and killed five NIU students and injured 21 others during what has been called the darkest day in NIU history [on February 14, 2008]?  Kazmierczak shot and killed himself on the lecture hall stage… [When] the carnage was over…, Kazmierczak was dead before police charged into the auditorium. [NIU Professor Emeritus Jack Bennett] wonder[ed] how that day might have been different if a handful of students had been armed and trained to shoot back.

‘“[According to Bennett], one or two of the 200-plus students with a weapon and the required skill could have easily reduced or stopped the damage. [No Gun] signs on the doors give the criminal or the mentally-ill person who wishes to kill a guarantee that no one will have a weapon to stop their inhuman activity. That notice is a license to kill’” (Concealed Carry: Not at Illinois Colleges and Universities).

Consider that legislators who make and pass restrictive gun possession laws for nonviolent rational citizens and for public places commonly have their own personal armed security with them on a daily basis; that a law asserting a “Gun-Free Zone,” for instance, is also an invitation for felons to commit crimes. Do you agree or disagree? Please explain.

Consider those people who believe the Conceal Carry Law will create more violence; that ordinary citizens will become “trigger happy” because they’re concealing and carrying a weapon. Do you agree or disagree? Please explain.

Finally, do you believe Illinois legislators should spend more time investigating and solving the causes of violent crimes in their communities instead of curtailing the rights of trustworthy citizens, and that they should be examining what needs to be done about keeping guns out of the hands of mentally-ill lawbreakers rather than impeding the rights of upstanding citizens because criminals do not obey laws? Do you believe well-trained, law-abiding citizens (who might conceal and carry a weapon) will obey the laws? Please explain.

Comment using your Google account (g-mail), Live Journal, WordPress, Type Pad, AIM or Open ID. Click on the “Comment” tab at the bottom of this post. Choose a question and respond.

If you are interested in what I believe about gun control rights, pull the trigger here for a related post.   


  1. Japan and the UK both have exceedingly strict gun control and both average fewer than 100 gun related homocides a year. This says all I need to say about gun control: You cannot shoot a person (or yourself) with a gun you simply do not have. Please note that both Japan and England have career criminals just like America, and they do not "get guns anyway." Indeed, the stuff penalties for gun possession motivate them to stay away from guns as a practical matter. British cops by and large don't carry guns because it's just not necessary. Our second amendment is a pact with Satan and we pay the price for it every day. Guns ARE a cause of violent crime. (When is the last time you heard of a drive-by knifing? Or drive-by assault?)

    1. An afterthought:

      Regarding a comparison between the U.S. and Japan from Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University: "The two nations differ enormously on almost all hypothesized determinants of homicide rates, including degree of social solidarity, cultural and ethnic homogeneity, history of racial conflict, hierarchical rigidity, obedience to authority, and subjective sense of unjust deprivation. Further, most of these differences are not currently measured, making it impossible to empirically disentangle effects of these variables from effects of gun levels on homicide" (Kleck, Gary (2006). Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control. New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction).

  2. From Mary Klonowski:

    “I think the important point is that no one is favoring 'banning' guns. It's a matter of supporting responsible gun owners and the broader public by requiring legislation that would help to maximize keeping guns away from the criminals and gang bangers. And, yes, in European countries with gun laws, the rate of gun-related deaths is far, far lower than in the U.S.”

  3. Glen, I couldn't agree with you more. I am a responsible citizen. live in Chicago and recently received the conceal carry training. I hope and pray that I never have to draw my weapon but will if faced with deadly force. These situations do unfortunately happen. Its insurance. No one has threatened me with deadly force just as my house has not burned down. But I do have home insurance against that. I respect those who choose not to own firearms or carry a gun. I wish that we didn't have crime, gangs, violence, and the subsequent victims. I just choose not to be a victim.

  4. From Phyllis D.

    “As to the idea of concealed carry saving lives at the Northern Illinois massacre that might be a cogent argument if say, five students, were armed and went through regular combat training together and they all happened to be in the lecture hall on that particular occasion. But I don't think that's what would happen. I can imagine panic and confusion as five other apparently random civilians started firing. How would arriving police be able to identify the ‘good guys’? How would the people in the audience possibly also armed be able to tell who was who?

    “I think the way licensed and trained drivers behave on our highways might be a good predictor of the range of behaviors of armed citizens. Some people drive responsibly; others think they're riding the range in the Wild West and drive accordingly.”

  5. From Jeffrey Welsh:

    I believe carry concealed helps reduce crime as a deterrent. I don't live in fantasy land that we will be like Japan or some other nations. We have guns and they are not going anywhere. I believe people that use guns for crimes should see their sentences double or triple and give the chronic offenders life. If they don't care about other people’s life, I don't care about theirs. I lost a 19 year old son to suicide in the home. Not my home, I would never allowed him to have one. He drank and used drugs and guns and that combination is almost always deadly. I'm ex/army and I know I can safely have a gun. I think that 16 hours of training and hardly any range time is not near enough; that's terrifying. They should double or triple that also. I also agree with the professor that trained armed students should be able to carry. It fosters safety. Criminals always look for the easiest and softest targets. Law-abiding citizens won't start acting like the Wild West. The majority of states have had concealed carry for years, and it has not happened so far. The mentally ill is the dangerous group because we never know who will snap and when. It's unpredictable. We must spend more money helping these people. We also should do everything in our power to keep weapons out of their hands.

  6. A Few Statistics:

    “Seventy-seven percent of all violent crime occurs in public places” (Criminal Victimization in the United States, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1993). “Due to onerous laws forbidding concealed carry, only 26.8% of defensive gun uses occurred away from home” (Kleck and Gertz, National Self Defense Survey, 1995).

    “According to a study spanning 1980-2009, gun homicides were 10% higher in states with restrictive CCW laws” (An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates, Applied Economics Letters, Vol. 21, No. 4).

    “In a survey of 15,000 officers, 91% said concealed carry should be permitted for citizens ‘without question and without further restrictions’” (Gun Policy & Law Enforcement, PoliceOne, arch 2013).

  7. From John Alletto:

    “Some people would love to live in a utopian society where unicorns play and everyone loves everyone and there are no locks on doors and never ever a robbery or murder. I want the coordinates of that society. It's not here. They need to get their heads out of their collective rectum because there are millions of guns and lots of bad people in this world. No one is responsible for our protection but us....we the people. I hate people who try to control us. Some in our government believe they should rule. We say protect our Constitutional rights and leave us alone.”

  8. I agree with the Conceal Carry law to some extent. I do not think that it is as effective as it was supposed to be intended. The majority of public places, including schools and hospitals, now have posted no gun/weapon signs on their doors before entering so how effective is the Conceal Carry law in important places like these? The NIU shooting was mentioned, however guns are most likely prohibited here as well, so if there was someone armed inside the school, would one have to run out to their car just to grab their gun to be able to defend themselves? I also think that the Conceal Carry Law is just promoting violence. I’m sure as soon as this law was passed people who have never even thought of wanting to keep a gun in their home are now considering it, but for what? If they have been left unharmed and safe thus far, why would one need a weapon in their home? On the other hand, I think the law will also decrease burglaries based on the sole fact that more people are becoming licensed and keeping guns in their homes. Overall, yes, I think that the Conceal Carry law does stem from some good but I really do not think it is a necessity. Legislators can be focusing on how to make communities with high violence, murders, and death rates safer, opposed to encouraging gun use for protection.

  9. John Alletto -
    As per your request, the coordinates are:

    51.5072° N, 0.1275° W
    London, Coordinates
    35.6895° N, 139.6917° E
    Tokyo, Coordinates

    Gun control is a political not practical impossibility in America.

  10. I completely agree with your position on the issue of gun control. Representing the majority of the population as a law-abiding, mentally capacitated individual, I can go on to say that I could never shoot another human being unless the lives of those I care about are in danger, and even still may have trouble actually executing the action. It is true that many people have illegally ascertained guns and that cannot be undone. Therefore, for the protection of oneself and one's family it seems only logical to be prepared. I personally am physically incapable of "taking down" most if not all potential intruders and feel that legally owning a gun would be a great thing to have in such situations. This also helps in decreasing the number of potential robberies as carrying them out won't be as easy with the threat of armed response. Of course many people may say if there has never been a need for a gun in the past why would there be now? It is likely that these people don't live in underprivileged, high-crime neighborhoods where gun shots are not uncommon sounds. It is inhuman to take the life of another human and suggests mentally-ill behavior to do so. Since this population does not make up the majority of our state, it is only in the best interest of everyone to protect the most people.