By Eric R. Sonnenberg
Tuesday, June 21, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a law allowing concealed carry of firearms by a vote of 68-27. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has said he will quickly sign it into law. This will make Wisconsin the 49th of the 50 states that have some form of concealed carry, and it will make Illinois the ONLY state in the union without concealed carry.
In April of this year, the Illinois General Assembly voted in favor of concealed carry by a vote of 65-32, but that fell 6 votes shy of the 71 votes needed to pass. Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn (D) has gone on record as saying he would veto concealed carry in the Land of Lincoln.
Illinois is widely regarded as having the most corrupt state government in the country, and now it will be the only state in the union that denies its law-abiding citizens the right to exercise their Second Amendment right to defend themselves.
It is no coincidence that the state where the politicians trust their constituents the least is the same state constituents trust their political leaders the least.
I can’t remember who said it, but “fear the politicians that fear your guns” certainly seems to apply here. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees us the right to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms.
TWICE in the last several years, the Supreme Court has ruled the Second Amendment is an INDIVIDUAL right (Heller v. Washington, D.C., and Macdonald v. Chicago). What makes Illinois think it can be the only place in the country where that does not apply?
If Illinois is denying our constitutional rights on the pretext of lowering crime, it sure isn’t working. Rockford’s Chief of Police, Chet Epperson, says the crime rate is down here. My response to that is poppycock, down from what to what?
All things are relative, and Chicago is still pretty much the murder capital of the country. Winnebago County has the highest crime rate in the state. Rockford was just voted among the 10 most violent cities in America. If you think we have high crime here now, just wait until Illinois is the only state without concealed carry. That will make Illinois a magnet for every bad guy in the country.
Think about it, if you were a bad guy intent on committing crime with a gun, where would you go: to Illinois, where its citizens can’t legally carry, so they can’t shoot back; or to any one of the other 49 states where they could defend themselves?
I am all for reasonable gun laws and restrictions, but we have all of those we need already. Look, nowhere in the country is it legal to commit a crime with a gun. Nowhere in the country is it legal for a felon to even possess a gun. Illinois does not need to worry about law-abiding citizens who jump through all the hoops to get trained and licensed to carry a concealed weapon. They need to worry about criminals with weapons.
Criminals will not get—and cannot get—a concealed carry permit. If Illinois wants to reduce gun violence, the way to do it is to enforce the existing laws we have on the books and prosecute those who break them to the fullest extent of the law. When Illinois wakes up and realizes this, as all the other states have done, we will be safer and the crime rate will go down, as statistics have proven in all 48 states that now have concealed carry.
It’s a shame Illinois had the vote on concealed carry before Wisconsin passed it, and I don’t know if Illinois can bring it back up this session, but this should put extreme pressure on Illinois legislators to get it done ASAP. All Illinois voters should demand this from their legislators and let them know if they don’t git-r-done, we will remember it come next election.
Eric R. Sonnenberg is a Federal Firearms Licensed gun dealer who owns Forest City Firearms, 137 N. Chicago Ave., Rockford or online at www.forestcityfirearms.com. He can be reached at (815) 262-4279 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the June 29-July 5, 2011 issue