Conceal and Carry the "Right to Bear Research Paper

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Conceal & Carry

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The "right to bear arms" as quoted in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is controversial, to say the least. The debate is often emotional and overly-analyzing of these words that were written by our forefathers (the 2011). Many defenders of concealed carry laws believe these words to be untouchable and, indeed, they should be. The words of the Second Amendment had meaning hundreds of years ago, but in today's world, these words are more important than ever. The world has changed since John Adams and Benjamin Franklin roamed the earth. Today the world is much more violent and people have the right -- and the need -- to protect themselves against crime. Illinois is just one of two states (the other is Wisconsin, though it has an open carry law (McDermott 2011)) that does not allow concealed carrying of weapons. Chicago lawmakers have tried to back up their opposition to concealed carry laws by fictionalizing the truth about concealed carrying of weapons. The truth is that concealed carry laws along "trained, lawful adults to carry weapons" (2011) and the picture that lawmakers have fictionalized of Hollywood-style showdowns in the street is just that -- fiction. Concealed carry laws do not create a "Wild West" on the streets of this nation, but rather, they offer citizens protection and, almost more importantly, peace of mind. It is wise to allow a law-abiding citizen to apply and train for a concealed carry permit than it is to force these same citizens to break the law because they are afraid for their own and their family's safety.

Research Paper on Conceal & Carry the "Right to Bear Assignment

In January of this year, Representative Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, introduced House Bill 148 to the 97th General Assembly. HB 148 would allow adults who meet training requirements to carry a concealed handgun in the state of Illinois (Morris 2011). Phelps was a sponsor for other earlier concealed carry bills (HB 462 in February of 2009 and HB 5221 in February of 2010) (2011), though both were defeated in the General Assembly. In the past, Chicago lawmakers have shown that they are more in favor of strengthening rather than relaxing gun laws in the state (2011). There are plenty of individuals who believe that passing concealed carry laws will just lead to more violence, however, gun advocacy groups like IllinoisCarry believe the opposite. IllinoisCarry has posted reports of increased violence and increased concern coming from citizens over the fear that law enforcement is unable to protect them adequately. This leads to an increase in gun purchases as citizens will try to protect themselves and their property (2011). This is just one argument for concealed carry laws to be passed in the state of Illinois. Furthermore, Illinois residents already have the option of applying for concealed carry weapon permits through other states (e.g., Florida and Utah). These types of permits allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in other states that practice reciprocal recognition of other states' concealed carry laws, however, it still doesn't allow residents of Illinois to carry concealed weapons in Illinois. The bottom line is that the police cannot be everywhere, protecting everyone at the same time, and thus a citizen should have the right to conceal and carry a gun for their own protection.

There is another way to look at this debate. The criminals in Illinois are already carrying concealed weapons. They do not have permits and they do not carry FOID (Firearm Owner's Identification) cards (the 2011). The question then must be asked: "Is it better odds for a criminal to assault a law-abiding citizen knowing they are not armed, or to take a chance under concealed carry laws that they might be armed and can defend themselves?" (2011).

The notion that concealed carry laws lead to vigilantism has just not been proven in the states where people have been allowed to conceal and carry weapons for years (the 2011). There is not any evidence that giving citizens the right to conceal and carry a weapon makes them turn violent or murderous. There is also not any evidence to prove that conceal and carry laws put more guns on the streets and into the wrong hands (2011).

Today, there are 49 states that have already have some form of carry law in effect ( 2011) and Illinois should be no different. While some opponents of concealed carry in Illinois have implied that the issue is one that mainly has advocacy in Chicago, surveys have shown that the issue of concealed carry is not just important to the residents of Chicago. According to one survey, the issue isn't geographically divided as was once believed. "…more than half the survey respondents across four state Senate districts in the city of Chicago and the suburbs said they think law-abiding citizens should be able to protect themselves" (CBS Chicago 2011). The issue is not regional, but rather it is individual and those individuals may reside in Chicago or they may reside in a suburb outside of Chicago. "People all across this state are wanting to defend themselves, and some of the people who need it the most are people who live in what some residents have described as a war zone" (2011). In areas such as this, the police clearly are not doing their job of protecting and serving the people and thus concealed carry laws should be a right that individuals can take advantage of in order to protect and defend themselves and their family and property.

There are different state regulations when it comes to concealed carry and they fall into four categories: 1) no-issue, which does not allow citizens to conceal and carry; 2) may-issue, which grants concealed carry permits at the discretion of local law enforcement authorities; 3) shall-issue, which require police to issue concealed carry permits as long as the applicant meets the requirements (e.g., age, no felony convictions, no mental institution commitments, among others); and, 4) unrestricted carry, where no permit is required to conceal and carry a handgun ( 2011).

According to a 2000 study conducted by John Lott Jr. And reported in his book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws, "shall-issue" laws have reduced homicides by 8.5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, rapes by 5%, and robberies by 3% ( 2011). Lott argues that if states that did not permit concealed guns in 1992 had permitted them in 1997, 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes, 60,000 aggravated assaults, and 12,000 robberies would have been prevented between the years 1977 and 1992 (Lott 2000).

There is no denying that our culture is a gun culture. Lott (2010) reports that in 2009 approximately 124 million people lived in households that owned a total of about 270 million guns. Moreover, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, surveys indicate that over 10 million adults were seriously considering buying a gun for the first time (Lott 2003: 3). People want to feel safe and protected and they have realized that the government and local law enforcement cannot protect them. This isn't the only factor that contributes to our gun culture; it is pervasive in movies, television, and the news -- not to mention children's video games. Though we are inundated with images and ideas about guns, these ideas are not real, but sensationalized in order to sell entertainment and perhaps a bit of fear. Lott notes:

In a highly publicized incident, a Dallas man became the first Texas resident charged with using a permitted concealed weapon in a fatal shooting. Only after the initial wave of publicity did the press report that the person had been savagely beaten and in fear for his life before firing the gun. In another case a Japanese student was shot on his way to a Halloween party in Louisiana in 1992. It made international headlines and showed how defensive gun use can go tragically wrong. However, this incident was a rare event: in the entire United States during a year, only about 30 people are accidentally killed by private citizens who mistakenly believe the victim to be an intruder. By comparison, police accidentally kill as many as 330 innocent individuals annually. In neither the Louisiana nor the Texas case did the courts find the shooting to be criminal (Lott 2010: 2).

The purpose of stating this sensationalism is to illustrate the negative hype that goes along with handgun use. While there is no denying that handguns have been involved in some of the most horrific events taking place in schools over the past ten years, Lott (2010: 63) still maintains that in looking at individual state trends in conceal and carry laws, concealed-handgun laws lowered crime.

Returning to the topic of Illinois, Lott (2010: 74) notes that when he was testifying before the Illinois state House of Representatives on whether to pass a concealed-handgun bill, a black representative from Chicago who was in support of the bill approached him. The representative said that he was not surprised by… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Conceal and Carry the "Right to Bear.  (2011, April 21).  Retrieved May 28, 2020, from

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"Conceal and Carry the "Right to Bear."  April 21, 2011.  Accessed May 28, 2020.