EDITORIAL: Allow concealed carry in Illinois

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

At a July 23 South-West Kiwanis Club meeting, Kevin Lyons spoke against concealed-carry in Peoria.

The Peoria County State’s Attorney is adamant on this topic. “We need fewer guns, not more,” Lyons said. “It’s the increased circulation of guns I have a dispassion for.”

Lyons argues that people can have a gun in their home or business as the law stands right now.

Lyons makes reasoned arguments. His position merits airing, because he has a very valid point when he says, “The advancement of gun safety laws has little to do with safety.”

Lyons is absolutely right that feeding political agendas is not a reasoned argument in favor of concealed carry.

But, a growing fear of crime by responsible citizens is reasonable.

Those who favor concealed carry can argue convincingly that it is growing increasingly likely you will be robbed, or worse, at an ATM, a stoplight or even the golf course. 

There is no shortage of violent crime in Peoria. Would more people carrying guns address the issue of violent crime? Or, would it just make people think it does?

Those are valid questions. Lyons is right to raise them. But, those are questions that cannot be answered until Illinois residents have an opportunity to carry concealed weapons.

Let us not forget the people have a right to keep and bear arms guaranteed in the Constitution.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis wants Peoria to become a test-market for concealed carry. Bartonville has asked to be a part of any pilot program agreed to by the state. An Illinois Sheriff’s Association survey shows 90 percent of their membership support concealed carry.

Currently, 48 states have a concealed carry law of some sort permitting law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only holdouts.

There is debate as to whether concealed carry has a positive impact on crime. But, concealed carry, at least, puts citizens on a somewhat more level playing field with the criminals who are packing guns.

It is reasonable to believe people carrying concealed weapons legally are going to be more hesitant to draw a weapon and be much more circumspect in using it, than a criminal. 

For those citizens willing to take on the responsibility of carrying a gun legally, that right should exist. 

We need strong measures to govern this issue, such as those proposed by the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. That association suggests permits should be issued by a state agency to ensure consistency in evaluation and screening. They say training should be mandatory. They want applications processed by the local sheriff’s office. And, they suggest those with a concealed carry permit have identification so an officer knows they may be armed.

The key to this argument is responsibility.

Those who follow the legal route to carry a concealed weapon are certainly more responsible than the criminal element walking our streets packing guns and using them with some regularity.  

Make concealed carry legal in Illinois.