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Brown: Legislature should pass concealed carry law — a very restrictive one

Updated: January 13, 2013 11:14AM



Oh, boy. I feel safer already.

Just knowing that within the next year or so there could be more people around me secretly but legally carrying guns, each of them prepared to shoot it out with the bad guys, well, it gives me a warm tingle all over.

Or was that a cold shiver. Sometimes it’s hard to tell one from the other.

For anyone missing my sarcasm, it’s always been fine by me that Illinois was the only state in the country that didn’t permit its average citizens to carry guns.

It sure beat the heck out of so many of our other distinctions in the Land of Lincoln, whether real or perceived, such as: Most Crooked Politicians and Worst Government Finances.

But I also realized that, once Illinois achieved the singular status of being the last concealed carry holdout, politics dictated that something was going to have to give, sooner or later.

Now that the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that Illinois must relinquish its distinction sooner, within 180 days, I think the Democrat-controlled state Legislature should jump in without delay and approve a concealed carry law — after making sure to devise one that is as restrictive as any in the nation.

Not more restrictive, mind you, just as restrictive as whatever state has been able to craft a law that has passed muster with the courts. There’s no sense in spending more money on lawyers than is absolutely necessary.

They tell me New York has a concealed carry law that the NRA hates but that the Second Circuit has now twice upheld. It requires applicants to show they have “a special need for self-protection.”

I’m sure state Sen. Donne Trotter would have much rather explained to somebody why he had “a special need for self-protection” instead of going through that charade of pretending to be a security guard to get his gun carry permit. Maybe he could tell us what that need is.

As far as I know, nobody keeps track of how many more goofs show up at airports with guns in their carry-on luggage in states with concealed carry laws.

But as I understand it, we already get plenty of them here even without such a law.

One thing we don’t have in Illinois, according to the gun control advocates at the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, is anyone who has died at the hands of someone with a concealed carry permit.

The center has documented 499 such deaths elsewhere across the nation since 2007, with 14 of the victims being law enforcement officers.

These include 23 incidents of mass shootings by concealed carry killers that resulted in 103 deaths.

The capsule accounts of these deaths show a common thread: People with legal access to a gun who got angry and used it.

Still, I suppose some might chalk this up to anecdotal evidence, which the NRA could try to offset with stories of people who have used their guns in self-defense to protect themselves and others.

I don’t doubt that it happens from time to time, although I am still of the opinion that the fewer guns that are circulating out there the better.

I know. Many of us disagree on that very basic point, which is why we’re really going to disagree about what else I have to say.

As long as the courts think our lawmakers need to allow more people to carry their guns around with them outside the home, this might be as good a time as any for those same lawmakers to pass some commonsense gun control measures as well.

My friends in the gun control world say they could start by requiring a background check before every gun purchase, closing the loopholes that exempt certain private purchases.

Legislators also could include a law to require gun owners to report a lost or stolen gun within 72 hours of noticing that it’s missing, which should discourage straw buyers.

Illinois could even go so far as to require gun registration, also anathema to the NRA.

Before the gun rights crowd gets all carried away with passing the concealed carry law of their dreams, a strong push from the new Democratic super-majorities for a couple of measures like these should bring everyone back down to earth.



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