Gun-Free Zone Hypocrisy
By Daniel John Sobieski
In President Obama’s hometown of Chicago on Halloween night Saturday, a robbery was thwarted when a concealed carry permit holder with a valid firearm owner’s ID card under Illinois law shot the thug dead. It showed that even in Obama’s Chicago, more guns mean less crime and, in this case, one less career criminal.
It also shows that opponents’ fears that concealed carry laws will mean carnage in the streets as garden-variety disputes escalate into a proverbial gunfight at the OK Corral are false. Since the U.S. 7th Court of appeals struck down Illinois’ ban on concealed carry as unconstitutional in December, 2012, there has been no wave of carnage perpetrated by concealed carry holders in Illinois or anywhere.
As McClean County Illinois Sheriff Jon Sonage and other local law enforcement officers told the Bloomington Pantagraph in January, concealed carry in Illinois has produced no dire results:
Sandage, who was elected in November but has been with the department more than 20 years, said “we haven’t seen By and large, the people getting concealed-carry permits are responsible gun owners, and they’re going to follow the law as it’s written,” he said.
“I thought initially we could see, as the applications got approved, an increase in calls for service with potential individuals with a gun,” said Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner. “We did not see (increase in) calls or incidents with folks on the street concealed-carrying, (although) some are going to be better at concealing than others.”
Decatur Police Chief Brad Sweeney said he didn’t really know what to expect when concealed carry became law in Illinois last year. While he and his officers hoped it would not cause any problems, the thought of the city turning into a “wild, wild west” of gun violence did cross his mind.
“It’s been such a nonevent,” Sweeney said. “We were worried these firearms may start to turn up in cases, but I could not find any report of an incident all of last year.”
In fact, Illinois’ adoption of concealed carry, the last state to do so, albeit unwillingly, led to a drop in Chicago’s crime rate. As Investor’s Business Daily reported in September 2014:
Chicago Police Superintendent Gerry McCarthy, at a recent city council hearing, reported the good news of less crime. He credited better police work, but there’s another factor McCarthy left unstated — the increase in the number of pistol-packing permits that let citizens defend themselves, their families and their neighbors. The law has left criminals uncertain of who might be able to shoot back.
“It isn’t any coincidence that crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted,” Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said in the Washington Times.
“Just the idea that criminals don’t know who is armed and who isn’t has a deterrent effect. The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy — and you have these incredible numbers.”
As of the end of July, Illinois had received 83,183 applications and had issued 68,549 concealed-carry licenses, with many more expected. According to media reports, the Chicago Police Department says robberies leading to arrests have dropped 20% from last year while reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft have declined 20% and 26%. The homicide rate hit a 56-year low in the first quarter of this year...
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