Saturday, May 18, 2013

Don’t conservatives trust the police? Or is this all just partisan nonsense?

There is one aspect of the political debate taking place these days concerning the ability of people to carry pistols on their person for self-defense – the fact that it has the “law and order” types now questioning the authority of the police.

These people can't seem to play nice
These socially conservative types are usually the first to claim that police need all these powers in order to do the job of offering protection to the populace from criminal elements.

EVEN IF THOSE powers cross over the line into violating the privacy of the public, these types usually claim that the police should be trusted. Heck, why should we worry unless we’re doing something wrong?

But when the issue of “concealed carry” comes up, they suddenly become critical.

That was evident in Springfield this week when an Illinois Senate committee gave its recommendation to a measure that would allow some people in Illinois to get permits to carry firearms in public.

Actually, what the bill by state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, would do is put it into the hands of local officials to decide whether people should be able to get a permit that is valid within their communities.

THAT’S ANOTHER “VALUE” that the conservatives usually claim to support – trusting local people to decide for themselves what they want. But in this case, they’re willing to throw that “value” into the trash can.

What Raoul’s measure – which still faces a tough political fight in the Legislature and may well fail to gain approval – reflects is the fact that Illinois is NOT a unified place on this issue. It concedes that there are different ideals at stake, and tries to let everybody have their view on their home turf.

Unlike the people who are being led by the nose by the National Rifle Association whose primary goal in all this political blather seems to be to impose their own small-town, rural viewpoint on a state whose population is overwhelmingly urban.

This particular measure would require anyone from Chicago who seeks a permit to carry a pistol publicly to first submit to a review by the Chicago Police Department – which would have the authority to reject it before the state could even consider it.

IT ALSO WOULD allow the “home rule” communities (larger municipalities of 25,000 people or more) to say for themselves if they also would like to impose restrictions on firearms within their own boundaries.

NRA-types say this is unacceptable. When their lobbyist, Todd Vandermyde, told the Chicago Tribune that he thinks places like Chicago and Oak Park will throw up so many procedural roadblocks that it will be next to impossible for people to get permits in those communities.

They also spew out the rhetoric that people who get a firearm permit in their home community would wind up being criminalized if they venture into Chicago – or some other community where firearms themselves are “non grata.”

Of course, these are the same kind of people who usually go on and on and on about how they want nothing to do with Chicago and go out of their way to never visit the place.

BUT NOW, WE’RE supposed to believe that they’re eager to visit? They probably would; only for the reason that they want to be seen in public carrying their holstered pistols.

Which as far as I’m concerned is the last thing we need to have – a bully who’s armed and thinks he has a “cause” to pursue.

I’m not about to venture a guess as to how this issue will be resolved. The Legislature has until June 9 (the deadline set by the U.S. Court of Appeals based in Chicago) to do something, but the General Assembly’s calendar only gives them 13 more days to do something.

Maybe we’ll get a legislative miracle – although it probably won’t occur until the final hours of May 31. More likely, our differences will keep anything from occurring – and we fall over the cliff into legal uncertainty.


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