It took until July of 2013, but my home state of Illinois became the last state in the Union to enact a concealed carry law. Illinois was last for a reason, and both sides offered plenty of rhetoric. The Antis claimed the law would paramount to the Wild West; the streets would lawless and gun fights rampant. A friendly punch to the snot locker would instead lead to murder conviction because everyone would be packing heat.
On the other hand, there was the pro Second Amendment crowd and the NRA. We claimed the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun was a good guy (or gal) with a gun. Those bent on evil have already proven laws do not deter them. Nowhere was that more evident than god ‘ol Cook County, Illinois. Touting the highest murder rate in the state and likely the country, Cook County posed the strongest opposition to the new law.
Beginning January 1, 2014, Illinois began accepting applications for concealed carry permits. The pro 2A crowd was thrilled and skeptical at the same time. The state gave police the task of handling the issuing of the permits. The prevailing fear was that the police would follow the lawmaker’s example and drag its feet to make every effort to slow the process.
I am pleased to report that was not the case. Given the volume of permits and complexity of implementing a new process, I think the police have been just about as efficient as possible given the circumstances and bureaucracy to which it is also subjected. That left the onus to the people; the empowered people who have successfully completed their training and been vetted by the authorities. The permits started arriving in mailboxes and I am sure more than a few handguns were subject to a long overdue breath of fresh air.
As of yet, I have not heard of any high noon shootouts or gunslingers with hats pulled low over their eyes looking for a fight. However, I have listened and managed to hear gun related news. This week, Chicago police announced that the city’s first quarter murder rate was the lowest since 1958.
Via ABC-affiliate Eye Witness News in the Windy City:
- The first three months of the year saw six fewer murders than the same time frame in 2013—a 9% drop—and 55 fewer murders than 2012, according to a statement from Chicago Police.
- There were 90 fewer shootings and 119 fewer shooting victims, drops of 26 and 29% respectively, according to police statistics.
- Compared to the first quarter of 2012, there have been 222 fewer shootings and 292 fewer shooting victims. Overall crime is down 25 percent from last year, and police said they recovered more than 1,300 illegal guns in the last three months.
Now to be fair, I have used some 2012 statistics that show a downward trend before the enactment of the law. Unlike the antis, we have truth on our side and can afford to be honest without the need to skew the numbers. The downward trend is a victory, but more importantly, the numbers also show law-abiding gun owners have never been the problem nor the people whose rights should have been restricted.
In the end, the Right to Bear Arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the murder rate or any crime statistics. In a country of well over 300 million, if there is going to be a single violent crime, one incident where a person is forced or obligated to defend his person, property or loved ones, I do not want that person to be me. As Shakespeare once famously penned, “To thine own self be true…and exercise your right to carry concealed!” I think that is what Polonius said. At least, I am sure that is what he meant to say…
How do you feel the future crime rate will be effected by the new concealed carry laws? Tell us in the comment section.
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