I always knew that Illinois would get concealed carry through the courts and not through our lawmakers.
As we reported yesterday, a federal appeals court ruled that Illinois' ban on concealed carry is unconstitutional. Illinois is the only state in the union that does not allow law-abiding citizens some form of concealed carry.
Some random thoughts on the ruling from a journalist and firearms owner ...
• THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: While it sounds good that the court ordered state lawmakers to come up with a concealed-carry law within 180 days, there's the small problem that most of our state lawmakers cannot be trusted under any circumstances.
I think the odds of legislators coming up with a legitimate bill focusing only on concealed carry are about as good as winning the Powerball. So expect the gun-grabbers among our lawmakers to add onerous legislation including, but not limited to, an assault weapons ban, registration of all firearms concealed or not, and a permit cost that would require us to take out a second mortgage for the privilege.
Let's keep an eye on our state lawmakers to keep them – and this bill – honest.
• SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE SHOW: While Tuesday's ruling was great, waiting for the inevitable drooling apoplexy is priceless.
It's started to creep into news coverage already. The Chicago Tribune story in the second paragraph called the ruling "a victory for the National Rifle Association." How about, like the AP wrote, "a victory for gun rights advocates?"
But I'm savoring the Sun-Times (the paper that helped bring you the 67 percent income tax increase). Their righteous indignation is just getting started. The resulting meltdown on its editorial page and among its columnists could make Karl Rove's election night Fox News meltdown look like Edward R. Murrow by comparison.
• AS LONG AS I'M ANGERING MY BELOVED FOURTH ESTATE: I have one piece of advice for lawmakers, and it's one you'll rarely hear from an open-government guy. The identities of concealed-carry license holders must absolutely, positively be exempt from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
As I blogged here almost a year ago, news agencies in the past have come up with the bright idea of outing concealed carry license holders, and lawmakers subsequently respond to the public outrage by passing laws curtailing transparency. Trust me, media organizations will print the Illinois concealed carry list for the sole nefarious purpose of discouraging people from getting the license, which of course is not journalism but advocacy.
I don't think of this as opposing openness – I prefer to think of it as saving my beloved mainstream media from itself.
• YES, SHE ACTUALLY SAID THAT: The Tribune quoted the reaction of gun control advocate House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago:
“If we need to change the law, let us at least craft a law that is very severely constrained and narrowly tailored so that we don’t invite guns out of control on each of our city’s streets."
You mean, just like now in Chicago?
“I don’t want people out of control wandering the streets with guns that are out of control.”
You mean, just like now in Chicago?
Listen, ma'am, I understand your fears. But I'll say it plain – your city is a war zone, and has been for years, despite having some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. I'm not spouting NRA rhetoric when I state the obvious that criminals don't follow gun laws. The only difference now is that Chicago's bumper crop of thugs will have to think twice about whether the innocent person they want to terrorize is carrying a more powerful caliber than they are and are faster on the draw.
I have an idea – rather than guns, why don't you instead try to fix Illinois' $94 billion unfunded pension liability? I bet if we polled Illinois residents and business owners as to what keeps them awake at night, concealed carry doesn't hold a candle to Squeezy the Pension Python.
• THEY ACTUALLY SAID THAT, PART 2: I read an opinion on Twitter that concealed carry might mean more money for Cook County because of that $25 tax on gun purchases the Cook County Board just approved.
Uh, no. People will cross county lines to avoid the tax, just like they do for, well, everything else.
• AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is reviewing the ruling to determine whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
You mean, to the very U.S. Supreme Court that started all of this with District of Columbia vs. Heller? Good luck with that. The best-case scenario for gun-control advocates is that the court upholds the ruling. The worst-case scenario for them is that the justices hand down a ruling that forces other states to loosen their concealed carry rules.
I have an idea – how about focusing energies on cleaning up Illinois' rapacious corruption that costs taxpayers $500 million a year? Madigan's office has been great on the transparency and consumer protection fronts, but has shown little interest in cleaining out the Augean stables of Illinois graft that have resulted in our two previous governors making little rocks out of big ones.
• SPEAKING OF CONCERNS: For the life of me, I don't understand why so many journalists seem to be opponents of concealed carry.
One of my biggest fears is that one day some tea party "patriot" is going to decide to walk into a newsroom somewhere and open fire to "do something" about that evil liberal media that his endless stream of talk radio and fever-swamp blogs is telling him is destroying the county.
If you want to try to interview said maniac before he lets daylight through you, be my guest. I'll be busy returning fire.
Senior Writer Kevin Craver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.