Illinois on Tuesday became the last state in the nation to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons, as lawmakers overcame a last-minute attempt by Gov. Pat Quinn to change the legislation.Don't you love that? Any type of carry - until today - has been illegal in Illinois. Let me spell it out for the educationally slow: They. Were. Not. Obeying. Gun. Laws. Yet Chicago routinely has some of the highest levels of gun-related violence in the country. Hmmm. Tough gun laws. Record gun violence. It's like the two are completely unrelated! Why, it's like only the law-abiding people pay any attention to gun laws!
Lawmakers were running up against a federal court's deadline to allow concealed-carry in their state. After Quinn, a Democrat, unilaterally tried to add more restrictions into the legislation, lawmakers decided it was better to override the governor than risk the courts allowing virtually unregulated concealed weapons in Chicago, which has endured severe gun violence in recent months.
Now Illinois will be shall-issue, meaning that it will leap-frog MA for no longer having terrible gun laws. No AWB, no "firearms roster", and now "shall issue" for concealed carry. This means it passes CA, CT, DE, HI, MA, MD, NJ, NY, and RI - all of which have "may issue" requirements - to become the 41st state with "shall issue" licensing laws. 41 out of 50 - 82% of the states have "shall issue" licensing for concealed carry now, meaning that if an applicant meets the criteria for getting the permit to carry, they will receive it.
Several states - NJ and MD come to mind - are effectively "no issue", with only the very rich and well-connected receiving the coveted permits. Others, like MA, NY, and CA, depend upon one's location and local licensing authority. Here in MA, certain areas, like Boston or Worcester, will not issue a license to carry at all, leaving them much like MD and NJ. Others, like my town and the city next to us, will issue to all qualified applicants. In all areas, the permit costs money - you know, the concept of paying to exercise a fundamental right.
For now, Illinois has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Since the mid-1980s, when more than half of all states were "may issue" and double-digit states had no provisions for concealed carry whatsoever, we've seen a steady march towards more sane - and constitutional - carry laws. We've seen the number of "Constitutional Carry" states - states that do not require a permit for open or concealed carry, go from 1 to 4, with several more filing bills repeatedly to join their ranks.
With any luck, we'll see a new effort in the fight: Let's turn all 50 states into "shall issue". There is, quite simply, no reason to deny people the right to keep and bear arms. 41 states allow some form of concealed carry, and there has been no "blood in the streets" as has been claimed for over 25 years now. Shootouts over parking spaces haven't happened. "The Wild West" - that Hollywood fiction - has not been brought back, with gunfights at the carriage corral seemingly out of vogue.
Bad people are going to do bad things. They are not going to be stopped by laws - the DGC addition posted earlier shows that. No public good is served by preventing honest, lawful people from legally carrying concealed firearms. The mere presence of a slip of paper does not turn a homicidal maniac into a choirboy, nor does the absence of said slip mean a choirboy will become the maniac. Turning good people into felons because they desire the best tools for self-defense, yet are denied by their government the legal right to do so, helps no one.
Kudos to Illinois for finally realizing this, and hopes that the remaining Gang of Nine will someday as well.
That is all.