The conservative ideologues who long have liked the idea of changing Illinois law to permit people to carry pistols on their persons while out in public (they say it’s for self-protection, but I wonder if they just get off on the idea of being able to use the weapon on another human being) are claiming a significant jolt for their pet cause.
Every police officer I have ever known has hated the idea of “concealed carry” because they’re wary of anything that puts more weapons on the street.
YET THE ILLINOIS Association of Chiefs of Police, which engages in some lobbying of the Legislature on issues related to police (they hate the idea of medical marijuana and think cars should be required to have two licenses plates – instead of one), came out last month and said it no longer opposes “concealed carry.”
They’re not the only group related to police officers that says it can support a means by which people would be issued permits that would let them carry that pistol in a shoulder holster or tucked in a purse (so long as they don’t tuck it in the back of their waistband).
The Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association made its own stance in favor of “concealed carry” earlier this year. Although a part of me wonders if their support for the measure is just a means by which they can be cantankerous and disagree with the top brass.
Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard made it known this week he still hates the idea of people walking around Chicago with handguns and thinking they will encounter a situation in which they would be legally capable of using them.
THE CHIEFS ASSOCIATION is a little different. But since that group represents the interests of law enforcement types outside of Chicago and whose current board of officers includes people from Champaign, Momence and Sherman (a Springfield suburb), I wonder if this is just a group inclined to think it wants to be opposed to Chicago – which has been the leader in keeping measures such as “concealed carry” from becoming law in Illinois.
What is different this year is that the gun-types who have been eager for this measure for decades are feeling a little emboldened. The fact that Richard M. Daley is now a political lame duck (with Rahm Emanuel making the mayoral appearance on Friday at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day festivities) makes them feel the time is now to strike to get this measure passed by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn into law.
There also is the fact that our state government has made some serious moves on issues ranging from marriage to capital crimes, and has taken a progressive stance that makes Illinois among the leaders in the nation.
That actually has some political people feeling that some sort of bone should be thrown to the conservative ideologues – particularly those from outside of Chicago who are willing to have the “Democrat” label attached to their name.
THAT “BONE” COULD well wind up being allowing someone to issue a card that permits the bearer to have that holstered pistol on his (or her) person.
Personally, I think it is a bad trade-off, although I am aware there are individuals who will vehemently disagree with me to the point where I’d be concerned about them ever having a pistol in their presence.
If anything, I think that situation confirms my stance on this particular issue, which is that we ought to regard firearms ownership as being similar to owning a car – some people should be prohibited from driving.
So what will happen? I’m not about to venture a guess, particularly since news reports indicate that state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg (who includes the National Rifle Association among the groups that have endorsed his electoral bids for the state Legislature) himself admits his “concealed carry” bill will be amended between now and the time when it meets its ultimate fate this spring.
HE ALSO SAYS he’s negotiating with law enforcement groups to try to get their strong support – appealing to the naturally conservative ideological nature many of these police officers have to get them on board with a bill desired by many conservative ideologues, particularly in the outer reaches of Illinois where Paducah, Ky., or Cape Girardeau, Mo. (Rush Limbaugh’s birthplace) are a more real daily-life presence than Chicago.
This is one of those perennial issues on the Springpatch Scene. I can remember all the same talking points on this issue coming up in the debate that occurred when I covered the Illinois Statehouse more than a decade ago.
Is this an issue whose time has finally come? Or will the urban majority that comprises more than two-thirds of Illinois’ population keep this measure in check for yet another year?