Michigan Avenue speaks: More Guns means more Gun Violence

Imagine: it is late out and you are walking home alone. You go down an alleyway near your house to save time. Halfway through, two men approach you displaying a knife. One of them demands, “Give us your wallet and your phone!” Then you pull out your concealed handgun so they could see. Instantly, they vanish back into the night and you are able to go home with a jolt of adrenaline and your belongings.

An anecdote like this one is commonplace for gun lobbyists in Springfield to explain that carry and conceal would level the playing field between thugs and victims.

Springfield is under immense debate over imperative legislature that would regulate carry and conceal. The State of Illinois is the only state in the United States without some form of carry and conceal.

On December 11 2012, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined in a historic Second Amendment Court Case, that Illinois’ ban on public carry of firearms was unconstitutional. This gave the State Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, and Illinois Lawmakers 180 days to draft their own law to allow carry and conceal licenses for law-abiding citizens.

Current bill, HB 148, is in the Illinois House of Representatives and would create the Family and Personal Protection Act.

The bill states: a person may be issued “a license to carry a loaded or unloaded handgun to an applicant that meets specified qualifications … either concealed or openly, on or about his or her person or in a vehicle, except in certain prohibited locations.”

While legislators still have a long way to go before a finalized version of the bill is passed, it has already drawing a lot of criticism in recent light of Chicago seeing the most violent January in 11 years and school shootings around the nation.

On Michigan Avenue, people were concerned that allowing more guns on the street would not either help the situation or could possibly escalate shootings immediately, especially where gun violence is already high in Chicago.

“The gun killings in the areas where guys will legally carry will be in the drug areas or the impoverished areas,” said 47 year old Derrick from Los Angeles. “[Concealed-Carry] is not going to change anything.”

Even without criminal intent, others were worried about regular people who go out to bars, concerts, or sporting events.

“If you have people that are armed and not thinking because they’ve been out drinking or just came out of a Cubs game, you just have an amazing increase in weapons violence,” said 36 year old Kristopher Soule, originally from New York.

The general consensus was that there would be an increase in violence especially out of fear that an aggressor may also have a gun.

As Julie, 66, from Connecticut put it, “people would just be walking around and you’d never know who’d have a gun.”

While there is the general notion that guns should not be on the streets, gun rights advocates say that Illinois’ ban has not deterred how most guns on the streets of Chicago are flooding. Arms can be purchased and brought over from other states, guns shows, or taken from the legal possession in someone else’s home.

Gun rights advocates also think that criminals will think twice before committing a hostile act while opposers think it could lead to twice the violent criminal activity.

On February 22, Madigan was denied a hearing before the full 7th Circuit Court in an attempt to change their ruling. While Madigan is able to, she has not said if she would appeal directly to the US Supreme Court.

Today, February 26, the Illinois House of Representatives will debate 25 questions as to where, in public, one could go with a concealed handgun.

Illinois Lawmakers are also urged to look and model a bill after other state’s current laws. A big influence is seen in New York where each district has it’s own limitations and requirements for a license as well as licensees having a special need to carry and conceal a handgun.

The Chicago Transit Authority is also asking lawmakers not to allow guns on public transit, which Illinois could again model after a New York law where anyone carrying a gun on a train or bus can be fined $100.

What seemed to scare people the most is how unpredictable a person could be.

“If [people] get upset at the drop of the dime and they say, ‘Well I have this gun’ and they pull it out,” Toyin Alaka, 36, from New Jersey explains. “I think that that would increase violence.”

The topic of gun control is split but, that will not stop some form of legislature for concealed-carry to be put into effect in the state of Illinois.

Murder shots still ring out in the air of Chicago and while the Bill of Rights defends our right to bear arms, Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men have an unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And as 23 year old Juan from Honduras simply put it: “There’s guns, there’s violence.”

2 Responses to “Michigan Avenue speaks: More Guns means more Gun Violence”
  1. Ziggy Mang says:

    Article I wrote about Illinois’ Concealed-Carry dilemma.

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