Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm not going to go running out and get measured for a holster --

-- but neither am I going to put on sackcloth and ashes and join the wailings and lamentations of our local pols, all devastated by the 7th Circuit's action yesterday in Moore v. Madigan, Nos. 12-1269, 12-1788, which you can read for yourself by clicking through the opinions page of the 7th Circuit's website.

Here's the deal: Illinois was the only state that did not allow some form of concealed carry (except for policemen, basically). Downstate legislators have been lobbying for relaxed gun laws for years -- but, then, they live in hunting and fishing country and the laws Chicago legislators wanted would make 'criminals' of otherwise law-abiding hunters.

In Chicago, though, we only hunt each other, particularly in certain neighborhoods on the South and West Sides of the city. In hopes of stemming the carnage, we had an outright ban on handgun ownership -- or we did have one until McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S.Ct. 3020 (2010). Having been forced to concede gun ownership in the home, the Chicago-dominated Democratic legislature came up with a law that basically prohibited anyone from carrying a weapon anywhere but in their own living room (a gun might be OK in the house but not in the garage or on the porch).

And the death toll continued to climb. In Chicago, anyone who has wanted a gun has one -- except honest citizens.

Photo of Sen. Trotter obtained from the Chicago Defender.
The hypocrisy gets to me after awhile. Just last week, a South Side State Senator, Donne Trotter, was arrested trying to board while trying to board a flight to Washington, D.C. A handgun had been found in his carry-on. Trotter was charged with a felony and locked up overnight.

Sen. Trotter had been a relatively obscure legislator (with strong connections to the Stroger family and) with a good chance to win significant Democratic Party backing to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr. in Congress (which explains his recent, ill-fated attempt to fly out to Washington).

He claimed he needed the gun for his part-time gig as a security guard with a politically connected firm, All Points Security, and maybe he did. Only All Points isn't entirely certain that Sen. Trotter works for the company.

But here's the point: Sen. Trotter is a gun control advocate, as all good Chicago Democrats must be. His attitude seems to be 'one law for the people, another for him and others with connections' (and, as a consequence, no law at all for the gangs). You know... at some point this kind of foolishness will so corrode respect for the law that society will break down altogether.

Instead, let me suggest as follows: Anyone can obtain a gun and carry a gun so long as one obtains a permit. The permit should be made freely available upon reasonable conditions -- no one under 18; no criminal history, or at least no criminal history in the last 10 years; no mental health hospitalizations; some restrictions on where weapons may be taken (I wouldn't want them in courthouses or schools); and some proof of training in the responsible use of a firearm. It's funny when folks who don't know how to use their smart phones try to use them anyway -- but it would not be nearly so humorous if someone tries to use a gun who does not know how. Mark Brown had a reasonable suggestion in this morning's Sun-Times -- require police reports to be made of lost or stolen guns within 72 hours. I can see where that might cut down on straw purchases by seemingly 'clean' persons for the benefit of gangbangers or other criminals.

If a group of thugs is taking my measure as I'm walking down the street one night, as they try and guess my ability to resist from my size and bulk, it might be nice if they also have to take into account at least the possibility that I might be packing. It might be the factor that tips them into looking elsewhere for their sport.

Gun control advocates fear that crime may go up because of yesterday's court decision. I say it just might level the playing field a bit -- and give honest folks a chance. What we've done before hasn't worked... it really is time to try something else.

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