Illinois State Police began mailing the first 5,000 concealed carry licenses today, marking the beginning of a new era in the Prairie State, according to the Chicago Tribune, and Bellevue’s Second Amendment Foundation is cheering because it was a SAF federal court case that forced the state into the 21st Century.
SAF’s Moore v. Madigan, and a similar case filed by the National Rifle Association known as Shepard v. Madigan, forced the Illinois Legislature, over the objections of anti-gun Gov. Pat Quinn, to adopt a carry statute. Illinois was the last state in the nation to deny its citizens the right to bear arms in self-defense outside the home and had to be compelled by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
“While politicians had to be dragged kicking and screaming into compliance with the Second Amendment,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said in a statement just released to the press, “the good citizens are rushing to enjoy their newly-restored firearms freedom. State officials said today they have received more than 50,000 permit applications.”
He recalled with no small amount of irony that last month, Fox News reported that the number of Illinois residents applying for carry permits had outpaced applications for Obamacare. Perhaps those people have determined they can protect their health a lot better by being armed than by being told they really can’t keep their doctor or their plan, even if they like it.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that about 400 applications are coming in daily, which is down from the initial surge of 1,000 daily applications. Still, this is a strong indication that “the die-hard anti-gun politicians who opposed this new law are horribly out of touch with their constituents,” Gottlieb said.
Nationwide, estimates go as high as 10 million on the number of private citizens who are legally licensed to carry concealed, and that may not include all of those citizens in Vermont, Arizona, Arkansas, Alaska and Wyoming who carry legally without permits or licenses. That is called “constitutional carry,” and activists in other states are considering pushes for similar legislation.
It also doesn’t include armed citizens who carry openly, which is legal in many states, including Washington.
What will be interesting to watch are the violent crime rates. Many concealed carry advocates contend that states with higher concentrations of legally armed citizens have lower violent crime rates, while anti-gunners say the opposite is true. More important, however, is whether they rise. Many gun prohibitionists have insisted for years that more guns in the hands of private citizens leads to more violent crime, but FBI crime data tends to belie that claim. Murder rates have declined over the past few years as gun sales have climbed dramatically along with the number of concealed carry permits and licenses across the country.
On the subject of concealed carry, after 40 years, the King County Sheriff’s Department will no longer have a substation serving residents of North Bend and the upper Snoqualmie Valley. Starting March 8, North Bend will get law enforcement services from the Snoqualmie Police Department.
What that means for residents living in the county is that they will have to get their concealed pistol licenses renewed at the Sammamish precinct, according to Sheriff’s Office information officer Sgt. Cindi West. A check with that office confirmed that renewals will be done by appointment and there is about a two-and-a-half week wait to get in.