Just hours before Illinois legislators were due to adjourn for the Summer, the General Assembly, on Friday, approved a bill that will bring the state into line with the rest of the country; In a major – and hard-fought – victory for the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment advocates, Illinois is to allow concealed carry.
Although almost every one of the fifty states is in breach of the Second Amendment – since requiring someone to obtain a concealed carry permit infringes upon their constitutional right to keep and bear arms – Illinois was the sole state in the U.S. that has, until now, completely denied the right to carry. Late last year, a federal court ruled the state in violation of the Constitution and gave lawmakers until June 9th to pass a measure to allow concealed carry in Illinois.
The bill will now go to Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat who is opposed to residents of his states exercising their rights. Quinn may choose to veto the bill, just to make a point. Both houses, However, passed the bill with enough votes to override a Governor’s veto. The Senate voted, by a margin of 45-12-1, to move the bill forward; 36 votes were required to override a veto. The House then approved it by a vote of 89-28, with 71 votes being a veto-proof majority. After the vote, Quinn issued a statement saying “This legislation is wrong for Illinois. We need strong gun safety laws that protect the people of our state. Instead, this measure puts public safety at risk.” Quinn is either breathtakingly dishonest or incredibly misinformed: His state’s largest city, Chicago, has the strictest gun laws in the nation and the highest homicide rate. Chicago recorded 506 homicides in 2012. There have been more than 100 homicides in the city this year so far.
The numbers quoted are themselves dwarfed by the number of non-fatal shootings recorded. The majority of victims are black males in their teens or early twenties. Strangely enough, neither the President nor Al Sharpton seem particularly concerned about this fact – probably because most of those doing the shooting are also black, which doesn’t fit the Left-wing narrative of angry, white, gun-toting racists being the problem.
In the country as a whole, violent crime has been steadily declining despite (or, perhaps, because of) the steep rise in the number of concealed carry permit holders – particularly since President Obama was first elected.
The mainstream media constantly highlights mass-shootings and – along with the Left – heartlessly exploits the victims and their families to make a point about gun-violence. This argument misses the mark in three ways, however: First of all, the so-called “assault rifle” is singled out as the instrument responsible for the killings. Real assault rifles are actually not available for sale to the public and have not been for many years. Those who have no knowledge of firearms look at the semi-automatic versions of military rifles that are available in gun stores and call them “assault rifles”. This type of weapon, however, is not the one primarily used in mass shootings; handguns and shotguns are more commonly used. Secondly, the majority of mass-shootings take place in locations known to be “gun-free zones”, such as schools, colleges, workplaces, churches and federal buildings. The shooter who killed 12 and wounded 58 in a Colorado movie theater chose that particular location, not because it was the closest, but because it was the only theater in the area that proudly advertised the fact that firearms were not allowed on the premises.
The third way in which gun-control advocates fail in their argument is their complete disregard for – and, sometimes, misinterpretation of – the Second Amendment, which clearly states that the right (not a privilege, but a right) of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (emphasis added). For gun-rights advocates, this is the beginning and the end of the argument. If the Second Amendment can be violated for the “common good”, then so can any other Amendment, or any clause in the Constitution.
The Fort Hood shooter was able to kill so many – on a military base – because President Clinton had seen to it that military personnel were not allowed to carry loaded weapons on base. Unfortunately for the 13 who died that day in 2009, the shooter chose not to abide by this particular gun-control measure.
As the state of Illinois prepares to allow concealed carry, ending Chicago’s “gun-free zone” status, it is worth noting the following facts: Not reported in the media are the number of attempted mass-shootings that are prevented by armed citizens who are legally carrying concealed weapons, such as the incident in a Oregon shopping mall that occurred shortly before the Sandy Hook tragedy. In that incident, two people were shot before an armed citizen drew his handgun, causing the shooter to flee the scene, before taking his own life.
The average number of fatalities in mass-shootings is 14, when there are no law enforcement officers or armed citizens present at the time the shooting starts. When armed individuals are at the scene, the average number of fatalities is two.
Figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that, despite the common refrain from the anti-gun lobby, neither the number of mass-shootings, nor the number of average casualties in such incidents, has risen over the past decade, while gun sales have increased rapidly.
Although the new Illinois law will overrule Chicago’s ban on concealed carry, it will not overturn the city’s “assault weapon” ban. This was a revision from an earlier version of the bill which would have done so.
The gun-violence in Chicago is tied to violence between gangs who are involved in narcotics and gun-trafficking. Allowing citizens to legally carry guns will likely have no immediate impact on the level of violence, since the city leaders will inevitably make the concealed-carry permit application process a long, expensive and overly bureaucratic one, thereby discouraging many people from applying. However; the fact that Illinois is to allow concealed carry at all is a step forward. Gun-violence will not increase as a result, unless you include the incidents in which law-abiding citizens chose to defend themselves.
Written by Graham J Noble