By Jorge Amselle
Literally dodging bullets has become the official pastime of Chicago residents. Over the July 4th weekend 74 residents of the Windy City played this game and lost with 12 of them getting knocked out permanently. That is just counting the hits and the number of people dodging bullets was probably ten times that—assuming that Chicago residents, perhaps overzealously celebrating the Nation’s founding, had 10 to 20 percent hit ratios. That is still a lot of fireworks.
Of course there were plenty of political fireworks as well. Thanks to our wise overlords over at the Supreme Court we now have an individual right to own firearms and to self- defense. This applies to both the federal government (District of Columbia v. Heller) and to the states (McDonald v. Chicago). It might be news to the authors of the Bill of Rights that we did not have these rights all along but why split hairs. We have them for sure now, or until the Court changes its mind.
Illinois has the distinction of being the only state in the Union that does not recognize a right to self-defense outside your home—specifically the state does not have any provision for allowing the lawful concealed carry of handguns by law abiding civilians going about their daily business. Even in the most statist of states, provisions exist to allow for concealed carry even if no one is ever issued a permit or if it is extremely difficult to obtain one.
All of this has changed in the Land of Lincoln. Under threat of a federal court ordered defenestration of the State’s gun laws the legislature was forced to enact a fair concealed carry law. Fair means that concealed carry permits will be issued to anyone who meets the requirements instead of giving anti-gun public safety officials the power to pick and choose who can and who can’t defend themselves (as is the case in Maryland).
According to the AP, permits will be issued to those who possess an Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification card, pass another background check, go through 16 hours of gun-safety training—the longest anywhere—and pay a measly $150 (in addition to the cost of the training). They also report that the State Police have six months to get their act together to start accepting applications.
Before the bill could become law His Eminence, Governor Pat Quinn (whose two most recent predecessors are serving time in prison for corruption) amended the legislation more to his liking. He added requirements banning guns from all restaurants that serve alcohol, limiting permit holders to one gun (no backups) and one magazine with no more than 10 rounds in it, forbidding the carrying of firearms onto any private property unless there is a sign affirmatively saying your guns are welcome, allowing a patchwork of local laws banning “assault weapons,” and mandating that your gun must remain completely concealed (if it becomes slightly visible even for a second you are in violation).
All of this nonsense was overridden by the Illinois House and Senate with a three-fifths vote, not because they didn’t like the changes but because they threatened to derail the entire bill. If no bill was passed in time then all of the State’s laws against carrying a gun open or concealed were in serious jeopardy, the horror.
Still what did pass is a rarely seen collection of stupidity. Those with time and brain cells to kill are welcome to head over to the Illinois General Assembly website and read all 168 pages of House Bill 183. If you prefer to keep your sanity intact I took the hit for you and here are the basics.
Concealed carry will not be allowed in schools, child care facilities, government buildings, hospitals or nursing homes, libraries, public parks and playgrounds, all public mass transit buses and trains, all colleges and universities, any gambling establishment, any sports stadium, airports, zoos, museums, any licensed public gathering (concerts, fairs, protests etc.). This includes the building themselves and parking areas.
The level of training is also very specific. In addition to a comprehensive class you must fire “a minimum of 30 rounds; 10 rounds from a distance of 5 yards; 10 rounds from a distance of 7 yards; and 10 rounds from a distance of 10 yards at a B-27 silhouette target approved by the Department.” You also have to show a 70 percent accuracy rating. The instructor must keep all the records of your training (targets included I assume) for five years.
I like this one too. You lose your permit if any “physician, clinical psychologist, or qualified examiner…law enforcement official or school administrator” says you pose a “clear and present danger” or are “developmentally disabled.” Better make sure to improve the selection of gifts your kid brings to school on National Teacher Day.
As restrictive, idiotic, anti self-defense, anti-liberty and horrible as this law seems it is still a vast improvement over the old system and still better than what residents of Maryland, New Jersey, New York and California (along with several other states) face. Hooray, I guess.