I live in Illinois, which is one of only 2 states that has a complete ban on the carrying of a concealed firearm for self defense. That means that while the criminals in Chicago are armed, I am unarmed. It also means that many of my fellow Illinois residents are unaware of the benefits of concealed carry. This article is designed to briefly explain what concealed carry is about, explain why concealed carry is a good thing, and to debunk the myths surrounding it.
What is concealed carry?
While those in states with strong gun rights may laugh at the existence of this section, those who live in a state such as Illinois may have never have heard the term “concealed carry”. Simply put, “concealed carry” refers to granting law abiding citizens the ability to legally carry a gun concealed on or about their person for self defense purposes. Another term is “CCW”, which can refer to “Carrying Concealed Weapon” or “Concealed Carry Weapon”, depending upon who one asks. Concealed carry allows a citizen to draw and fire their gun only when they are facing danger from a criminal. States that allow concealed carry still criminalize the display of a gun unless there is a legitimate self defense reason.
The reasons for concealed carry
Law abiding citizens become concealed carry permit holders because they wish to be able to defend themselves against the armed and violent criminals that are all too common these days. The police can’t be everywhere, and owe a citizen no legal duty of protection, making self defense the only realistic option in most cases. Concealed carry permit holders have stopped violent criminals, saving their own lives. Some have stopped bank robbers, while others have stopped acts of terrorism. Concealed carry permit holders save their children’s lives, and help save the lives of police officers too.
Contrast that with the inability of unarmed citizens to stop crime or prevent their own murders, and the purpose of concealed carry becomes apparent. As the crime rates in cities such as Chicago and the District of Columbia show, criminals are going to break the law and carry guns anyway – depriving the law abiding citizens of guns only leaves them vulnerable, while failing to disarm the criminals.
Concealed carry doesn’t cause people to shoot it out on the streets over parking spots
When discussing concealed carry, those who are opposed to it will suggest that allowing law abiding citizens to have guns will turn our streets into shooting galleries, where people open fire over parking spots or other trivial matters. This is demonstrably false. 48 states have legalized concealed carry to some extent, and about 39 of those states are “shall issue” states, meaning that anyone who meets certain minimum requirements must be issues a concealed carry permit. Across all these states, it is exceedingly rare to find a case where a concealed carry permit holder has used their gun to commit a crime. This is because convicted felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill, and similar categories of people are prohibited from getting a concealed carry permit. Those applying for permits also undergo background checks and are often fingerprinted. The result is that mentally stable and law abiding citizens are the ones who receive concealed carry permits. These facts are reflected in studies which show that concealed carry permit holders are more law abiding than the average citizen; and the fact that states which have legalized concealed carry have seen a drop in crime. Another objection to concealed carry is the flawed idea that only violent individuals would want to own or carry a gun. I address that baseless contention in greater detail here.