Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Land of Lincoln

By Dave Dargo

Illinois has just become the last state in the Union to authorize the concealed carry of firearms. They were a hold-out for a very long time, mostly due to the anti-gun politicians in Chicago.

As concealed carry permitting schemes go Illinois' is pretty good, so far.

The Illinois State Police have 180 days to make applications available and set up the licensing mechanics. Illinois will require 16 hours of training, the most in the nation, but will be a shall-issue state. Shall-issue states require that permits be issued to any applicant who qualifies.

While all 50 states now have a method for citizens to carry a concealed firearm, not all states are shall-issue. There are states that are may-issue - that is, a government official has to give the permit requestor permission in order to exercise the right. Generally, the states that are may-issue require the permit applicant to show "good and substantial cause" as to why they should be permitted to carry a concealed firearm. For those states that are may-issue and don't allow open-carry this means that citizens in those states aren't allowed to carry a firearm at all without the permission of a government official. Most states that are may-issue tend to be anti-gun and won't give permission which, effectively, makes them no-issue states.

Illinois has not yet determined who can provide that 16 hours of training or the rules regarding that training. Hopefully, the training will be sensible, practicable and easily procured. Illinois has also stated that they will not have reciprocity with other states' concealed carry permits; non-residents who wish to carry concealed in Illinois will need to qualify for and apply for an Illinois permit and the mechanisms to do so have not yet been defined.

We should celebrate that all 50 states now have a mechanism to "legally" carry a concealed weapon.

We need to continue to fight on two fronts:

  • Get all states to become shall-issue - that is, a state may not require an applicant to show "good cause" on why they should be allowed to get a permit but just the opposite - the state should be required to show "good cause" on why someone is denied a permit
  • Get national reciprocity implemented - a recognition that a concealed carry permit issued by one state is valid in any other state in the Union
Ultimately, I believe no permit should be required to exercise this fundamental right but as long as we require permits they should be issued to anyone who qualifies without regard to any government official's personal opinion.

Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are may-issue states and, for political reasons, most of them are no-issue states unless the applicant is politically connected. While some of these states are permissive may-issue states, that is, they are may-issue in name but shall-issue in practice, the state government still has the power to restrict the rights of their citizens.

Out of 50 states, 41 are now shall-issue for permits to carry a concealed weapon - this is great news worthy of celebration. We still need to work on the 9 that inhibit carrying of a weapon for self-defense but we have made a lot of progress over the past decade.

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