Walk into the Congress building at Columbia College and you will see a picture of a suspect who has robbed several people on the Redline and in Chicago’s South Loop. This past year, students have received many campus security alerts about these robberies. The crime rate in Chicago has reached ridiculous levels; we now have a murder rate higher than Sao Paulo, Brazil. In addition to all the shootings, we’ve had flash mob attacks, pepper spray robbers, a girl who was raped in a residential area on New Years Eve , and a man who’s throat was slashed with a ten inch blade while he was out walking his dog.
Columbia will be hosting a town hall meeting on the violence and I’m sure gun control will be one of the issues that will come up. However, what if instead the City of Chicago started respecting the Second Amendment and allowed people, who have passed a background check and taken a firearms training course, to carry concealed loaded guns for self-defense? Sound radical?
Thirty seven states have “Shall Issue” concealed carry laws and 4 don’t require any permit at all. Eight states are “May Issue”, which allows law enforcement to deny the permit even if the applicant has passed a background check and completed a training program. I’m sure the anti- gun crowd will repeat the same old tired talking points that more guns will lead to more murders and shootings and that there is no evidence that more guns make us safer. Unfortunately they completely ignore the facts. While national crime has declined, Chicago’s murder rate has gone up 35 percent during the first half of the year. We are now expected to hit 500 homicides by the end of the year. Those who say “right to carry” laws would lead to an increase in violence simply ignore the facts. When Florida passed its right to carry law in 1987 the murder rate dropped 36 percent. When Texas did the same its murder rate declined 30 percent, and Michigan’s declined 6 percent after it passed its concealed carry law. It is worth noting that Michigan may have had an even larger decline in murders if you took out Flint and Detroit. Anti-gun activists often point to “Firearms mortality rates” to back up their claims. These statistics are irrelevant because these statistics don’t just include firearms murders. They also include suicides, accidents, and lawful self-defense shootings. In other words if a woman shoots and kills a man who tries to rape her, that man is counted as a “victim of gun violence”.
There are other solutions to Chicago’s crime problem. I applaud the General Assembly for passing the Street Gang Rico Act which allows police to prosecute gang members in a similar way that the RICO act has been used to prosecute the Mafia. However, more needs to be done if you want to reduce violence. Start by addressing the city’s 51 percent graduation rate as well. Also one should look at the issue of father absence in many of these communities. Has the City looked at any of this? The answer is no; instead they are now trying to pass a “violence tax” on firearms and ammo. The only thing this tax will do is put legitimate businesses out of business and put more people out of work. The gang bangers will just have to drive to DuPage or Lake county or Indiana to buy firearms. Will concealed carry cause the violence in Chicago to magically disappear? Hardly, but I don’t know how it would cause anymore considering that most of the perpetrators of these shootings would be ineligible to legally buy a firearm, let alone get a carry permit. What it will do is give law abiding people of Illinois and Chicago a fighting chance against the flash mobs, muggers, rapists, robbers and predators that prey on defenseless innocent people, like the three gang members who beat to death honors student Derrion Albert in front of dozens of witnesses. Even if an armed citizen had been nearby they would not have been able to legally stop this crime because the City of Chicago has made it a criminal offense to take your legally registered handgun outside of your home. You can’t even walk to your garage with it or take it on your porch. In other words, if you see a crime in progress outside on your front lawn, you can’t stop it without violating the city’s gun ordinance.
While working at a church, Mary Shepard was attacked and viciously beaten by a 250 lb convicted felon who was on parole and had a history of violence. She had a permit to carry a concealed weapon in two states but was denied that right in Illinois. She’s now lost sight in one eye and has had to go through expensive physical therapy. She is suing the State of Illinois over its carry ban and is another victim who was legislated out of her right to self-defense.
We always hear about the stories of people like Blair Holt or Starkesia Reed who were killed by gang bangers who obtained their firearms illegally. The gun ban crowd uses these stories to push for further gun control. However, you don’t hear about the people who were legislated out of their right to self-defense and then were victimized by violent criminals. Shouldn’t people be able to ride the CTA and walk their dog without being beaten into a coma or having their throat slashed? How many Derrion Alberts and Mary Shepards are we gonna have to have before this City and State wake up? How many women are going to be raped because they don’t have an effective means of self-defense? How many people are gonna be viciously beaten by mobs of thugs for their cell phones or wallets? How many people are going to be attacked while walking their dogs? How many tragedies is it going to take?
I encourage anyone who cares about the Second Amendment and their own safety to write their representatives and demand that they give the people of Illinois a fighting chance. I also encourage anyone who cares about this issue to come to the town hall meeting and bring it up and to educate those who are ill informed on this issue. Check out my six minute show on this issue, featuring legislative debates and police in favor of concealed carry in Chicago.