Concealed Carry will not do us in
December 13, 2012 6:00PM
Updated: January 7, 2013 5:55PM
I’ve long subscribed to the belief that if someone’s behavior isn’t hurting anybody else, then the government ought to leave them alone.
Legalizing marijuana certainly falls into that belief structure. If somebody wants to get high and eat Cheetos all day, then I don’t think they ought to be locked in steel cages.
There was a time just a few years ago when the “mainstream” media constantly fretted about blogs — forgetting that the First Amendment didn’t belong solely to “traditional” news outlets. But the country is much better off after a literal explosion of free speech. Blogs have made us more informed and are now as American as the Chicago Sun-Times. Heck, the Sun-Times now has blogs. The more speech, the better.
I’m not particularly religious, but as long as you don’t use the government to impose your specific religious practices on me, then I’m all for you doing your thing.
I think there are far too many restrictions on public protests. Having to reroute your shopping trip because a group is marching in the street is not really being harmed. The government has too often used the possibility of smallish annoyances to motorists as an excuse to literally steal peoples’ constitutional rights to peaceably assemble.
Guns are a different matter. Clearly, guns can really hurt people. I’ve struggled with this issue pretty much all my adult life. My mother hated guns, so we had none in our house, but her brother and a brother-in-law had guns and I used to occasionally shoot with them. I’m not afraid of guns the way some are. I’ve been to a few war zones, seen a few fire fights, but was never once armed. I’ve never felt the need to strap on a pistol while in “bad” Chicago neighborhoods, either, and I’ve spent time in those.
Most of the people who want the right to carry a concealed handgun happen to be white suburban or rural men. It’s easy to play armchair psychiatrist and dismiss them as perpetually angry, overcompensating paranoids.
But not everybody who wants a concealed handgun in public is a wingnut. Women are often threatened by ex-boyfriends and know the cops can’t offer much protection. People who work in dangerous neighborhoods at night could have a legit reason to carry . Decent, law-abiding citizens who live in areas infested with gang thugs can’t be blamed for wanting to pack heat.
I’ve spent some time in Florida, where the cities can often be as crazy or even crazier than anything we see up here. The state has a concealed carry law but the Sunshine State hasn’t exploded in violence. Florida’s murder rate in 1987, the year concealed carry was legalized, was 11.4 per 100,000 residents, according to government data on disastercenter.com. Illinois’s rate that year was 8.3. Last year, Florida’s murder rate was 5.2 per 100,000. Illinois’ was 5.6. I don’t think Florida’s law mattered much either way.
So, I’ve evolved.
Nobody wants to see gangbangers carrying concealed handguns. But if somebody has never been convicted of a felony, isn’t crazy, doesn’t have an order of protection against them, belongs to no gang, can pass a training course, can be required to renew their licenses every year or so and isn’t allowed to bring guns into schools or some other public places, then I don’t really buy into the hyperbolic fears about the tragedies that will befall us because Chicago’s U.S. Appellate court has ruled that the state’s gun carrying bans are unconstitutional. It’s just not going to be the end of the world.