In January 2014, Illinois finally became the 50th state to issue concealed carry licenses to law abiding people living within its borders. Predictably, hoplophobes predicted that Chicago's streets would run red with blood, as crazed concealed carry permit holders reenacted the shootout at the O.K. Corral.
Sadly, for bloody-shirt-waving hoplophobes, but fortunately for everyone else, the hoplophobes' fantasies failed to materialize. Again.
Opponents of the concealed carry law in Illinois — which State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) said passed with "overwhelming support" — feared that it would increase rather than decrease crime, putting more guns into the streets that could fall into the wrong hands.
They always do.
In the year of concealed carry permits in Illinois, there have only been a couple incidents involving legal gun owners that have created headlines. In July, a concealed-carry permit holder in Crestwood tried shooting at a fleeing armed robber, hurting no one but forcing a police officer to duck for cover. In Chicago a member of the military who had a concealed carry permit shot and wounded an armed man who fired into a crowd on Chicago's Far South Side.
Nevertheless, Hayes said he stopped opposing the concealed carry law when he realized that the past year has not resulted in the level of violence some anticipated.In fact, just the opposite happened.
Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.Those of us who've been paying attention are not the least bit surprised. After all, we've seen the same trend throughout the United States since 1993. But those facts don't matter to hoplophobes.
But Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office has not changed its overall stance against the concealed carry law and its implementation, which as the Chicago Tribune reported recently, requires applicants to be vetted by a controversial state licensing board.
"Sheriff Dart has been very vocal about his opposition," said Ben Breit, Dart's spokesman, adding that "it's a tough spot," because "the courts have spoken" to legalize concealed carry.
"Gun violence is gun violence, whether it's in the suburbs or the city of Chicago," said Cara Smith, a Dart spokeswoman, acknowledging that the Sheriff's officers help police many of the county's suburbs.Sheriff Dart and his fellow hoplophobes opposed concealed carry - supposedly - because they believed it would result in more crime. The facts demonstrate that the opposite happened. Crime rates dropped with concealed carry, just as they did throughout the US, yet Sheriff Dart and his fellow hoplophobes obstinately continue to oppose concealed carry. Why? Because Sheriff Dart and his fellow hoplophobes fear law abiding armed citizens more than they fear criminals. Thus the term hoplophobe.
The next time a city or state considers relaxing gun laws, hoplophobes will again predict blood in the streets, because no matter how many times their prediction fails, it's the only trick they have. Don't fall for it.
By the way, Tombstone still rocks, especially Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holliday.