Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nearly 100,000 concealed carry permits issued in Illinois and with none of the predicted bedlam




“While gun violence remains a problem across Illinois, the state's year-old concealed-carry law has had no noticeable negative effect, local authorities say. ‘For us, it's been a non-event,’ said Joe Gallo, deputy chief with Champaign police, echoing a similar sentiment as law-enforcement officials in other area counties…

“Through mid-December, about 90,300 permits have been issued in Illinois. Among area counties, Champaign leads the way with 1,319 applications for permits, 1,312 of which were issued, according to figures provided to The News-Gazette by Monique Bond with the state police…” (Authorities call year-old concealed-carry law a “Non-Event”).

“Supporters of the Second Amendment may well look at this story and say, so what? This was about as predictable as the sun coming up in the East. But in a way, that’s what makes it such an important story, and one which deserves more coverage in the mainstream press than it will receive. It speaks to the wider question of laws mandating gun rights restrictions in general in an important way.

Gun control laws don’t impact anyone who is already predisposed to break the law. Passing one more layer of restrictions isn’t going to prevent a gang member from using a weapon in a crime. There aren’t any Bloods or Crips out there thinking, Gee, I’d really like to murder Bill for cutting into my crack sales territory, but I can’t risk the fine for having an unlicensed gun.

“When you place burdensome restrictions on gun ownership, you are only limiting the rights of those who don’t wish to break the law. And as Illinois has now shown, when you allow for legal, concealed carry, all you produce is more law abiding citizens who receive training on safe, proper weapon use and the laws which apply to it. Sadly, I doubt this will make the chyron at CNN any time soon. Stories like this simply don’t fit the narrative” (Illinois concealed carry fails to produce hoped for bloodshed and mayhem). 

Commentary:

Illinois was the only state in the country without a concealed carry law until the U.S Court of Appeals in Chicago finally stated that this was a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Concealed Carry Law (HB 0183) was signed on July 9, 2013 and went into effect January 2014. It has been one year, and nearly 100,000 permits have been issued in Illinois.

To the many naysayers who said: “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…,” instead of asking for more gun control laws and worrying about responsible citizens who conceal carry, let’s ask our legislators to focus upon and begin to address the causes of violent crimes: mental illness, racism, economic injustice, poverty, unemployment, gang activity, drug trafficking, and inefficient law enforcement in high-crime areas.

“[Moreover, our] focus [should be] on crime and anti-social behavior hotspots, repeat victims, and prolific or high volume offenders… 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?). 

Laws and their restrictions will never apply to deranged criminals. Furthermore, business owners (and their customers) who believe the “No Guns Allowed” signs in windows are all they need in order to prevent gang bangers, robbers and derelicts from entering their establishments with guns are oblivious to reality. The right for citizens to bear arms is a pre-emption for crime. Gun control laws will never reduce crimes. They do, however, deprive law-abiding citizens of a means for contingent crucial protection until the police arrive too late.

Let’s celebrate the right of self-defense: “The Declaration of Independence asserts that ‘life’ is among the unalienable rights of all people. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms for ‘security.’ The laws of all states recognize the right to use force in self-defense. The Supreme Court has recognized that a person ‘may repel force by force’ in self-defense, and is ‘entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force’ as needed to prevent ‘great bodily injury or death.’ Beard v. United States (1895).

“Congress affirmed the right to own guns for protective purposes in the Gun Control Act (1968) and Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (1986). In 1982, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution described the right to arms as ‘a right of the individual citizen to privately possess and carry in a peaceful manner firearms and similar arms’” (H.R. 2959, the Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2013 (March 11, 2014)).

“[Let’s pursue a policy goal that continues to shift] the distribution of gun possession as far as possible in the direction of likely aggressors being disarmed, with as few prospective victims as possible being disarmed. To disarm non-criminals [through more gun control laws] in the hope that this might indirectly help reduce access to guns among criminals is a very high-stakes gamble, and the risks will not be reduced by pretending that crime victims rarely use guns for self-defense” (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control). 


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