Legislators in both the state Senate and House are under extreme pressure to exempt Chicago and Cook County from any “shall-issue” mandate in the concealed carry law that a federal court has ordered to be adopted by June 9. Such an exemption would allow Chicago and Cook County authorities to deny a concealed carry permit to an applicant even if that person meets all of the statutory requirements used to judge eligibility in the rest of the state. Any exemption for Chicago and Cook County could easily deny 40% of Illinois’ population “shall-issue” right to carry, and put gun owners state-wide at risk of felony prosecution if they happen to travel across Cook County or Chicago lines.
Further, in anticipation of the June 9 deadline, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is trying to force an ordinance that would allow him to approve and reject licenses for concealed carry in Cook County, and force applicants to cough up a clearly discriminatory $300 fee just for a license to legally exercise their right to self-defense. Please contact your state Senator and Representative TODAY and urge them to support equal right to carry laws for ALL Illinois residents.
Any semblance of an argument for more restrictive gun control laws in Chicago and Cook County falls apart when faced with facts: at a time when gun ownership throughout the country is at an all-time high, the nation’s murder rate has fallen to a near all-time low. Additionally, Chicago has had a long history with the inverse relationship of increased gun control laws and public safety. Chicago imposed a handgun registration requirement in 1968, with no effect on the city's rising handgun homicide numbers or the percentages that handgun homicides comprised of total homicides. In April 1982, a law prohibiting possession of handguns not previously registered with the police took effect in Chicago. Annual handgun homicide numbers and percentages of total homicides fluctuated, and then rose sharply.
The bottom line is that criminals do not obey the law – but the law-abiding people in Illinois, regardless of where they might live, or what their economic standing may be, have a natural, fundamental, and constitutionally protected right to defend themselves. Any Right to Carry law passed by the legislature in compliance with the federal court ruling MUST recognize this. Given the high violent crime rates in Chicago and Cook County, law-abiding residents of these municipalities have a great need to carry a firearm for self-defense since they are likely to be victims of violent crime, and their local government officials refuse to deal effectively with violent criminals there. It is time for Chicago politicians to face the facts – their ideological crusade against guns has only ensured that criminals are armed and the law-abiding are defenseless victims.
Contact your state Senator and Representative immediately. Urge them to oppose any legislation or amendment that would discriminate among the residents of Illinois, recognizing the rights of some, but not others. Our constitutional right to keep and bear arms and inherent right to self-defense protect all Americans, not just some in a particular state, city or county.
Contact information for your state legislators can be found here.