Thursday, December 27, 2012

how Illinois should handle "concealed carry"

Rep. LaShawn Ford is chairing the task force making recommendations on how to respond to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Illinois has 180 days to write legislation allowing "conceal carry" of firearms.

Below is what I submitted to Ford. It begins with a rant against the ruling. The second part is a number of ways Illinois could narrowly grant "conceal carry" in a way that would probably be safe.

The rant:
The Seventh Court of Appeals has been arrogant in ruling Illinois' ban on “concealed carry” unconstitutional.

Based on experience in other states, we know that someone with a “concealed carry” permit will escalate a situation—perhaps a situation where there was no underlying criminal activity—to the point where someone gets killed.

The examples from Florida make it pretty clear, the shooter will probably be a middle-aged “White” male and the victim will probably be a Black male between 14-25 years old.

Whether George Zimmerman gets successfully prosecuted for murder or not, Trayvon Martin is dead because the firearms industry, through the NRA and ALEC, set firearms policy.

It is deeply offensive to me that federal courts would decide the “rights” of the men who fetishize firearms to carry a weapon trump the rights of young Black men to not be killed by racist cranks who are looking for fights.

The Supreme Court's ruling in DC v. Heller is a joke. Just like the Paula Jones ruling was a joke. And Bush v. Gore was a joke. And Citizens United was a joke. The Supreme Court has devolved into “Conservative” ideological hackery. And the public opinion of the court reflects this.

Justice Scalia and the majority have erased the first half of the Second Amendment. Like all rights, the right to bear arms is a balancing test. What does it get balanced against? The security of the state, among other things. Scalia and the “Conservative” hacks have decided that the individual gets to decide when the security of the state balances against the right to keep and bear arms.

Doesn't it seem like Congress & the President and the state legislatures and the governors have some role in deciding the security and safety needs of the American people?

The Illinois General Assembly may be full of people who aren't particularly clever, courageous or honorable. But they are elected. The federal courts removing the power of the state legislatures to decide criminal justice policy in their states is offensive. The NRA and gun owners know how to participate in elections. Whether Illinois should allow “conceal carry” is a matter for the Illinois General Assembly.

Denying individuals the authority to legally carry firearms concealed is not an offense against individual rights that rises to the level of Jim Crow, literacy tests, school segregation, etc.
The recommendations:
However, if Illinois is going to allow “conceal carry” it should include these elements.

Pledge: Follow the Law: First and foremost, individuals should be required to sign a statement and clearly state in front of witnesses, “Neither possessing a 'conceal carry' permit nor a firearm in any way deputizes me to act as a law enforcement officer. I understand that if I draw my weapon inappropriately, illegally discharge a firearm or in any way violate the 'conceal carry' rules for the State of Illinois, I will definitely lose my 'conceal carry' permit and I may be subject to prosecution.”

Don't be incompetent. Accidental discharge of a firearm shall be permanently disqualifying for a “conceal carry” permit.

Be recommended. A licensed firearms dealer must recommend an individual as part of the “conceal carry” application process. The Illinois Attorney General shall establish criteria for taking action against firearms dealers that recommend “conceal carry” permits for people who abuse “conceal carry” or violate Illinois' “conceal carry” rules.

Document utility: Every time a “conceal carry” permit holder draws or brandishes his/her weapon, s/he shall be required to submit a report of the incident. This should not be objectionable to the “pro gun” crowd because it will help document all the good that comes from “conceal carry”. Heroic action by “conceal carry” permit holders is not authorized in Illinois. If you want to be a hero, use your cell phone and call 911.

Investigate incidents: These incidents of “conceal carry” permit holders drawing, brandishing or using firearms shall be investigated by law enforcement. The cost of these investigations shall be paid for by fees charged for “conceal carry” permits.

Avoid conflicts: People carry weapons shall avoid conflict and confrontations. If someone is armed with a concealed weapon and initiates a conflict or escalates a conflict s/he shall lose the ability to get a “conceal carry” permit for life. This includes raising one's voice while armed.

Let people know, retreat when possible: If someone carrying a weapons finds him/herself in a conflict, s/he should identify him/herself as armed and disengage from the situation. People carry firearms and other weapons in Illinois shall have a duty to retreat. If there is ambiguity in the situation, the ambiguity shall be construed against the armed party.

Notify people you might shoot: If someone obtains a “conceal carry” permit and expects having conflict or confrontation with specific people, e.g. domestic violence, history of conflict at work, arguments with a neighbor, the person obtaining the “conceal carry” permit shall have an affirmative duty to notify the other party within 72 hours of getting the “conceal carry” permit.

Make the permits public: There shall be a place on the web where everyone authorized to carry a concealed firearm in Illinois shall be listed. This will include members of law enforcement, politicians, private security guards and private individuals with “conceal carry” permits.

Create a process for reporting permit holders whose competence is in question: The State of Illinois shall maintain a board that reviews actions by people who have “conceal carry” permits. If someone has reason to believe that someone should not be carrying a firearm, this board shall make it possible to report these concerns and review the competence of individual “conceal carry” permit holders. The activities of this board shall be paid for by the fees for “conceal carry” permits, including the fees on private security and everyone who is not an active law enforcement officer.

Revoke "conceal carry" if it's a problem: If “conceal carry” permit holders shoot anyone who would not have been shot had “conceal carry” not been law, “conceal carry” permits shall not be granted or valid in the county where the shooting occurred. If “conceal carry” is revoked in a dozen counties or in counties totaling a third of Illinois' population, “conceal carry” shall be revoked for the State of Illinois.


  1. In Flight of the Intruder, the crew of an A-6 is facing courts-martial and the Navy captain played by Fred Thompson gives this speech:

    You took an oath, Mr. Cole. You, too, Mr. Grafton. You took an oath to defend the constitution and obey the orders of the officers appointed over you. It's the same oath that every officer in the navy has taken for damn near 200 years. And during all that time, the military has obeyed the civilian elected government. Now, they might not have always been right, or wise... or even smart, but they were elected. Any other way and the United States would be nothing more than another two-bit military dictatorship.

  2. If I were the victim of domestic violence, and had left my abuser, was essentially hiding from him, and decided a gun would make me feel safer ... I'm not sure I'd want to notify him directly. Maybe through a court or an attorney.

    On the other hand, I might be afraid he'd use it against me if he knew I had it.

    Women are most likely to be killed by abusers right after they decide to leave and get out of the situation.

  3. To the writer of this "rant". You are completely wrong on so many levels that I have only one suggestion for you and that is to go home. Yes, just go home. Let the common sense pro Second Amendment pro Constitution folks handle the work during this 180 day period. Go rent a good movie and get yourself a pizza and go home! You have no business drafting anything concerning the Second Amendment. Chicago Legislatures have ruined this State and now want to ruin this fine ruling. Chicago just passed the big "500" murders mark, how proud you must be at your "Legislating" you cannot even run one city let alone an entire state. So please just go home and let those with real common sense draft Illinois Concealed Carry Legislation. I have a list of some good movies and some real good pizza joints in your area if you'd like them. Go home and get out of the way.

    1. I give Kevin McFadden's comment two great big 'ol thumbs up!!!