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Concealed Carry for Illinois

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In the United States, there are only two states which don’t allow carry of a concealed weapon by civilians. Illinois is one of them. The topic of concealed carry is both an ethical issue and a statistical issue, and really, both parts of the issue show that concealed carry is an overall positive thing, and should be allowed. Ethically, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with law-abiding citizens being able to defend themselves outside of their own home. Statistically, violent crime generally goes down in areas which allow concealed carry. There are those who say that concealed carry raises the overall crime level, but this isn’t the whole truth, so there’s no real reason that concealed carry shouldn’t be allowed.

As for the ethical side, there are few who think there is something wrong with a person being able to justifiably defend themselves. Most would agree that it is an innocent person’s natural right to do so. Even famous leaders generally associated with pacifism, such as Martin Luther King and the Dalai Lama see the reason behind this statement. To quote the Dalai Lama, “[…] if someone has a gun and is trying to kill you…it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun” (“Celebrity Gun Quotes”). This shows that even pacifists see the reasoning behind allowing civilians to carry guns, and that such a thing isn’t done in pursuit of violence. Another way to look at the ethical side of concealed carry is through personal testimony. The common perception about Texas is that it’s relatively lax when it comes to gun control and concealed carry laws. There are many good reasons for this, one of which is the story of Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who started keeping a gun with her when a friend suggested she do so, despite it being illegal at that time. Her friend’s logic was, “it’s better to be tried by twelve than carried by six” (Stark). However, one day in October of 1991, when Hupp and her parents went to Luby’s cafeteria for lunch, she left her gun in her car out of fear of being caught with it. She still regrets her choice, because it was that day that George Hennard walked into the restaurant and opened fire, killing Hupp’s parents and 21 others. Hennard ignored all gun laws. Hupp did not, and that’s the main reason why so many died that day. As Hupp has said, “I’ve lived what gun laws do. My parents died because of what gun laws do. I’m the quintessential soccer mom, and I want the right to protect my family” (Stark).

As for the statistical side of the issue, there’s very strong research to suggest that allowing concealed carry lowers the overall violent crime rate. Murder, for instance, is usually the most important topic in any concealed carry argument. It’s also the violent crime that is most affected by allowing concealed carry. According to a study done by John Lott and David Mustard from the University of Chicago, after the instatement of concealed carry provisions, there was an average reduction in murder rates of 8.5%. Also, while concealed carry is generally opposed in areas with high populations, the study shows that, in counties with populations of over 200,000 people, the instatement of concealed carry laws resulted in an average drop in murder rates of over 13%. “While support for strict gun control laws usually has been strongest in large cities, where crime rates are highest, that’s precisely where right-to-carry laws have produced the largest drops in violent crimes” (Lott). The numbers for other kinds of violent crime are no less impressive. According to the study, concealed carry provisions have produced a reduction in rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robberies by 3%. “If those states that did not permit concealed handguns in 1992 had permitted them back then, citizens might have been spared approximately 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes, 60,000 aggravated assaults, and 12,000 robberies” (Lott). According to these numbers, simply relaxing a regulation can spare society a lot of violence.

There are still those who, despite the previously stated evidence, ardently fight concealed carry provisions. Generally, the reason used to justify this is that the overall crime rate goes up. As stated in a campaign ad for Bill Brady’s anti gun violence campaign, “Studies by reputable academics who study this problem have discovered, ‘The weight of the evidence is now firmly behind those who have found that right-to-carry laws do not reduce, and may even increase, the overall level of crime’” (“Reported Crimes and Misdeeds...”). There is some truth to this statement. In areas where concealed carry provisions have been adopted, the overall crime rate sometimes goes up. However, just looking at this statement gets one no nearer the whole truth. While the statement, by itself, is true, its users don’t seem to take into account the distinction between violent crimes and property crimes. They act as if being raped and having a bicycle stolen are the same thing. It is true that, in line with John Lott’s theory of substitution, property crime goes up as violent crime goes down. Criminals who would otherwise turn violent prefer non-confrontational crimes when they know that any one of their targets may be armed. Thus, instead of pulling off one big violent crime, a criminal may turn to multiple, lesser crimes. Jeff Garvas, of OFCC news, plainly describes the tactic seen here in Brady’s anti-gun campaign: “A big gambit for gun banners is to combine all crime into one total, ignoring the dynamics that differentiate violence from property crime. In doing so, they don’t have to confront the logic of Lott’s principle” (Garvas). Looking at the whole truth, this commonly-used anti-gun argument is nothing more than a misrepresentation of the facts.

Both basic ethics and statistical evidence support the benefits which concealed carry provisions have. It’s generally seen as a bad thing to deprive someone of their basic right to self-defense, and the statistics show that, if concealed carry provisions were adopted in Illinois, there would be fewer cases in which people have to defend themselves, anyway. The main argument against concealed carry, that it sometimes raises overall crime, is true, but is almost meaningless in terms of the types of crime committed and prevented. The question which remains to be asked here is why there is no concealed carry provision in Illinois, considering the amount of violence it would prevent. There are lots of associations petitioning for a concealed carry provision in Illinois, and it may be a wise move to sign for a few.



Works Cited
“Celebrity Gun Quotes.” Buckeyefirearms.org. 24 Feb 2011. http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/celebrity-gun-quotes
Garvas, Jeff. “Analysis: Violent Crime Down Since Ohio Concealed Carry Became Law.” Ohioccw.org. http://www.ohioccw.org/200504193004
Lott, John R. “More Guns Equal Less Violent Crime.” Largo.org. 17 Feb 2011. http://www.largo.org/lott.html.
“Reported Crimes and Misdeeds by Concealed Weapons License and Permit-Holders.” Bradycampaign.org. 24 Feb 2011.





http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/pdf/facts/ccw-crimes-misdeeds.pdf
Stark, Chris W. “A Daughter’s Regret (Suzanna Hupp).” Gunownersalliance.com. 24 Feb 2011. http://www.gunownersalliance.com/hupp-10.htm



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