Monday, March 8, 2010

Who’s scarier? Gun “fans” or muggers

It has not even been a full week since the proponents of allowing people within Chicago’s city limits to own firearms argued their case before the Supreme Court of the United States, yet already their political lackeys are coming forth with changes to Illinois law that are meant to encourage more open gun usage in our society.

There are those who are eager to have the court issue a partisan ruling (I fully expect it will be a 5-4 split) that attacks the desires of Chicago city officials to keep the flow of handguns to a minimum because it comes from people who politically are not in line with their conservative ideological desires.

NOW I AM not going to rant on that point. I accept the fact that the partisanship of the court runs in such a manner. It is a fact of political life that we all have to deal with, particularly the political people who try to set public policy that will withstand legal challenges.

But the number of firearms-related measures that have come up in recent days for consideration show that some people are just chomping at the bit, so to speak. They’re literally drooling at the thought that they will get an environment where they can start “packing heat” to “shoot to kill” that mugger they perpetually fear.

It makes me wonder if some people in our society are just a little too eager for an excuse to shoot another human being. Personally, I fear the thought of them more than the muggers.

Literally on the same day that the Supreme Court spent one hour hearing testimony from attorneys on both “sides” of this issue, an Illinois House committee reviewed a bill calling for “concealed carry,” the shorthand used for laws that would allow someone to legally carry a pistol on their person outside of their homes – for self-protection, of course.

THAT COMMITTEE WAS the Illinois House Agriculture and Conservation committee, which is a legislative panel traditionally dominated by legislators from outside of the Chicago area. It is the committee that winds up hearing all of the issues that are of concern primarily to rural Illinois.

So it is not a stretch to figure that the committee was stacked with people who will vote for anything they perceive as a “drop dead” to Chicago. Which means the fact that this particular bill got through a committee is not evidence that it will make it through the full Illinois House of Representatives.

Considering how many times this issue has come up in recent years, I’m not sure it will ever go anywhere, considering that the bulk of Illinois’ population (about 75 percent) live in either the Chicago or St. Louis metropolitan areas.

On a certain level, I don’t understand how this issue is relevant. Technically, the Supreme Court case of “McDonald versus city of Chicago” relates to one’s ability to own a firearm and keep in in their own home. Being able to carry that weapon around in public is a different issue, and I have a serious problem with anyone who honestly believes that municipal officials do not have a right to restrict the possession of firearms in certain places.

POLITICAL OBSERVERS SAY that the Illinois legislative leadership wants to read the final ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States before even thinking of letting anything advance in Illinois. Considering that the court likely will not rule until late in the year, I’d be surprised if anything seriously had a chance of passage until 2011 – which means it will be a new Legislature and governor that makes the decision.

By new, I mean new terms. So it could still be Gov. Pat Quinn (only now elected to his own term, instead of finishing out the remainder of the Blagojevich years) and a Democrat-run Legislature. But the people eager to think that their life revolves around a pistol still want to engage in the rhetoric now.

There literally is one bill introduced by a state senator from Peoria who wants his home city to be the state guinea pig, so to speak, for a “concealed carry” law.

For two years, Peoria residents would be allowed to tuck a pistol in their waistband or purse to shoot someone who gets a little too threatening for one’s personal comfort. We then would get to see the results of how “concealed carry,” to follow the old cliché, “played in Peoria.”

I AM GLAD that particular bill has been stalled. Because as much as I think Peoria baseball fans are a bit daft for having their minor league ball club a few years ago give up a perfectly good St. Louis Cardinals affiliation to be connected to the Chicago Cubs, I wouldn’t wish this kind of law upon them.

Because I can honestly envision the moment when someone gets too trigger-happy at an inappropriate moment. Or, when someone winds up being shot with their own weapon. I’m skeptical that the presence of more pistols is really going to make the masses any safer.

-30-

EDITOR’S NOTES: The concept of Chicago’s laws that prohibit firearm ownership is becoming a focal point (http://www.wsiltv.com/p/news_details.php?newsID=9644&type=top) for the regional split that all too often defines the population of Illinois.

A lot of people with partisan political interests in seeing Chicago’s firearms ownership ban “shot down” (http://nwitimes.com/news/local/illinois/article_7bdfe577-c858-5fd3-934c-445a5749dfc6.html) are trying to position themselves with bills that will allow them to feed off the carnage of the city’s law, should it someday be struck down by the Supreme Court.

2 comments:

asplooger said...

We must live in a special place. 48 other states have conceal and carry. Unless you have never ventured out of Illinois you have undoubtedly been standing next to or driving next someone who was carrying a gun. Not everyone lives in a upscale area. Some of us live in high crime areas. People who obtain conceal and carry permits are trained and know the use of force should be a last resort.

asplooger said...

We must live in a special place. 48 other states have conceal and carry. Unless you have never ventured out of Illinois you have undoubtedly been standing next to or driving next someone who was carrying a gun. Not everyone lives in a upscale area. Some of us live in high crime areas. People who obtain conceal and carry permits are trained and know the use of force should be a last resort.