“Welcome to the Wild West!” some say.
“We’re safer,” say others.
And there will be lots of firing back and forth of arguments for and against Chicago’s concealed carry law.
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The law was enacted today.
That means, starting now, Chicagoans can apply to carry hidden handguns on their person — on the waist or in a purse — around the city.
Many of these people will be approved.
So we can be almost certain that, next time you walk downtown, there will be more guns in your vicinity, not less. It will only make some people feel better to know that these new guns will have state approval and, likely, some training behind them.
In a city with one of the highest murder rates in the developed world — more than 3,000 people were shot in Chicago in 2012, with 509 homicides (2013 murders were down to 421) — opponents of concealed carry will call the law a travesty and proponents will call it security.
What is sure is that a carrier will, rightly or wrongly, justifiably or unjustifiably, sometime, somewhere in the city, draw down. And someone — maybe a robber or a rapist or an innocent — will die.
It doesn’t require much daring to prophecy an obituary for the first concealed carry death — one that will start:
In the not-too-distant-future — The 21 year old man was shot and killed yesterday as he allegedly attempted to rob another man. The young man died from his injuries after his accuser and shooter pulled a concealed handgun from a holster under his jacket and fired.
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Everyone will have opinions about concealed carry. That may go double in an unusually violent city like Chicago.
Some will happily enjoy the call to arms and others will warn of high-noon shootouts. Some will point to gun-toting cities where violence has been held in check; others will note how, inevitably, some of the “wrong people” will carry. There will be hyperbole, cheap-shots, bad data from everywhere. Both will look to Luke 22 and co-opt for context.
The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’ And Jesus said, ‘That’s enough!’
Who’s right? Is it an issue for which time will tell? What does “That’s enough!” mean here, now; there, then?
What I know is that we should not be surprised when a 21 year old alleged robber is killed by a carrier this summer, and instead of uniting people, it entrenches them further in their foxholes, where both sides pile their ammunition, waiting to attack.