Learning about concealed-carry

Opinion: Columns

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By Jim Bowman


Questioned at a Nov. 20 meeting in Oak Park about hunting with his son to get a deer, NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde responded in matter-of-fact manner, "Oh yeah, Bambi makes good sausage!"

This was a different kind of Oak Park meeting. An Oak Park woman, perhaps reporting for the League of Woman Voters, worried aloud about being booed but wasn't. She asked a question "from the other side," explaining that the law is not what she wanted, "but it's the law."

"It's also a right," said a man sitting near her — quietly, without booing.

Vandermyde had been introduced by Rep. La Shawn Ford as a friend, one of those in Springfield "who smile at you even if you don't vote his way" — as Ford did not in July when concealed-carry became the law of the state. Vandermyde was there to explain the state's concealed-carry law.

The audience, at the Little Red Wagon coffee shop on Oak Park Avenue, consisted almost entirely of gun owners or wannabe owners, many of them black, eager to know the ins and outs of ownership, use, and carrying.

To carry, said Vandermyde, "changes your life," affecting how you dress and walk and in general comport yourself. "Forever," interjected a man in the audience quietly.

As for use, Illinois law is "very broad" as to using deadly force. "You can protect yourself and the person next to you." Illinois is not a "retreat state," he explained. Nor was it ever. The endangered Illinoisan never was required to turn and run.

The state law does not exempt municipalities, Vandermyde pointed out. Restrictions apply, "as they do to any right." The gun-owner and -carrier must be 21, without felony conviction or history of mental illness, or pattern of violent misdemeanor convictions, etc., and must take 16 hours training from a state police-certified instructor, scoring a 70% hit rate on the range.

Several complained about the (steep) $150 fee for the license (in addition to the cost of the also-high 16-hour instruction requirement). "It's the price Madigan wanted," said Vandermyde. "The Chicago Machine still has power to decide things. But we are whittling away at it." Senate President Cullerton was not adamant in such matters, he said. Oak Park's Don Harmon was.

Vandermyde and Ford are allies in a different gun-related matter, the proposed mandatory three-year sentencing (HB 2265) for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, defined in part as simply possessing a loaded gun "either on your person or in your vehicle, when you are not on your land, your residence, or your fixed place of business," when the gun is "uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible" or "ammunition [is] immediately accessible," and loaded or not, "the person possessing it did not have a Firearm Owner's Identification Card (FOID)."

Gov. Quinn opposes it too. It's Mayor Emanuel's idea.

And what does this expert think about it? I'm with La Shawn Ford and his friend Todd of the NRA.

Jim Bowman's blog can be found at OakPark.com.

Email: jimbowman7@aol.com Twitter: @BlitheSp

Reader Comments

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To Much Ado  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 4:05 PM

Insulting people is no way to convince them to change their minds--actually, you end up reinforcing their opinion of you. ;)

James Ihrig from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 1:54 PM

I am an advocate of gun ownership by private citizens. In one form or another I have lived in a home where guns have been available since before I was weaned. I served seventeen years in military service and weapon use was imposed on me and I lost all of my rights for the period of my enlistment, a fact that many forget, now that we have an "All Volunteer Military". Although I never saw combat, I was trained to take human life as we all were. I have never received police training and cannot consider my knowledge of weapons adequate to be a vigilante or a policeman. I pay taxes to have that protection. Crime prevention and police protection cannot anticipate a crime only keep me from finding myself in an unsafe situation or local. I have a FOID card and a conceal carry license but would only carry when I put myself in a potentially harmful environment. I don't go out of my way or take chances just to pack heat, I've never had a cowboy mentality. My judgment is based on seventy-eight years of law abiding citizenship and average intelligence. Given a high risk scenario I would then carry a weapon which would be adequate to that task; I.e., my well being. I hate the thought of taking another human life, but wouldn't blink should I feel confident of a lethal threat against me or mine. Meanwhile all weapons are stored in a locked safe and kept in top condition by frequent target practice and cleaning. Thanks for the opportunity to speak my mind. I am grateful to live in a country protected by the rule of law and a fairly decent constitution. Still don't know how a corporation can be considered an individual! Swine Supreme Court! Jim Ihrig River Forest, IL

Much Ado  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 12:03 PM

Every other state has concealed carry, most for quite a while, and somehow they managed to not turn into the Wild Wild West. All you hand wringers need to get a new hobby. Concealed carry is here, if you don't want to carry, then don't.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 11:21 AM

Simulations, can you point us to some stats/facts regarding by standers being wounded by legal concealed carry owners in the act of defending themselves with a firearm? In most cases, you don't even need to fire a gun to diffuse a situation. The mere act of being armed is usually enough to stop criminals which is the beauty of concealed carry. It causes criminals to think twice about trying to rob/assault someone since you MIGHT be armed.

Simulations for those who want to conceal and carry  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 10:59 AM

Shooting at a target is nothing like the real deal. Criminals are never obedient and stand nice and still for you. Are gun owners trained how to respond with a gun in the back? Being shot at from some unseen area. To me, if you want to carry a gun, fine, but receive the training that a police officer has to go through. And I cringe at the 70% accuracy. What if my child is in the 30% Then there are people talking about shooting coyotes. I am truly worried about bystanders getting shot, etc

Bill Doogan  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 9:02 AM

The fact that the NRA lobbyist worked for a union that was investigated for criminal activity, and that Vandermyde was a lobbyist for the president of that union, who was convicted of federal crimes by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald concerns everyone in IL. The character & associations of a lobbyist who has access to roam the halls of the state capitol & write legislation that effects millions of people doesn't concern you? You got used & betrayed just like Otis McDonald.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 8:36 AM

Bill, your quite the broken record of late. there is a lot that folks on both sides don't like about the new carry law. and DTI is only one aspect. (as for me, given the candid conversations I've had with friends that are LEO's I'd inform even without DTI in the law) As to your straw man argument, while i was in the Army my boss murdered his girlfriend... that says a lot about my former boss, but nothing about me... i was at the coffee house event and it went quite well IMO.

Bill Doogan  

Posted: December 10th, 2013 11:42 PM

Rep. Ford gets credit for debating sponsor Brandon Phelps re. Duty to Inform on the house floor. Black caucus Reps. Will Davis and Chris Welch also understand that DTI is designed to profile and arrest blacks in Chicago & Cook Co. NRA likes to use black plaintiffs like Otis McDonald, and DTI will create lots of lawsuits for them. Wonder if Ford knows that Vandermyde's former boss at the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers local 150 in Countryside was convicted by the US Attorney in 2010?

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