By Tom Gentry
With the passage of concealed carry in Wisconsin, Illinois now stands alone in denying law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms for self-defense. Illinois’ own concealed carry bill, H.B. 148, failed to gain the “super majority” needed to pass, in large part because of political pressure from the Chicago political machine. The same Chicago political machine where aldermen are allowed to carry concealed guns, and the mayor and former mayor demand armed security forces to protect them and their families. If concealed carry is so dangerous, why do they either do it or surround themselves with those who do?
The anti-H.B. 148 leaders claim 49 states, some with concealed carry laws decades old, are all wrong. Our leaders know many Illinoisans are licensed to carry in other states while traveling, only to disarm when entering their home state. Perhaps they’re saying we aren’t as smart or trustworthy as our neighbors in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and the rest of the country, even though our neighbors think we are. They ignore the drop in violent crime that has occurred after concealed carry became law in so many states, and yet they can’t point to a single state where concealed carry caused an escalation in gun violence. Certainly they see the streets haven’t run red with blood from re-enactments of the OK Corral shootout, but they continue to cling to that image.
Chicago itself is proof that the lack of concealed carry law, or indeed, legal gun ownership, does not deter criminals from carrying weapons. While they tell us to rely on police for our security, they know the police don’t have the ability to protect us from harm, nor the duty to do so according to federal courts. Even though guns are used for legal self-defense thousands of times a day across our country, often without firing a shot, they continue the mantra that guns, inanimate objects, are inherently evil. If that were so, why would we let police carry them?
So, we must ask ourselves, why do other states trust Illinoisans more than Illinois? Why do other states believe law-abiding Americans, including Illinoisans, can safely carry the tools of self-defense? Why do Illinois politicians who vehemently oppose our right to self-defense demand armed security forces to protect them and their families? Or maybe it’s not about trust or safety at all, but more about power and elitism. You decide. Then, find out who didn’t vote “yes” for Illinois H.B. 148, and vote accordingly at the next election.
Tom Gentry is a lifelong resident of Rockford.
From the June 29-July 5, 2011 issue