Expanding gun rights in America is a process of taking two steps forward and one step back. Or so it seems.
For example as we gripe about the passage of California’s open carry ban, we can celebrate the fact that Wisconsin’s concealed carry law goes into effect Nov 1., and that Illinois is now reconsidering its position as the sole remaining ‘no-issue’ state (“reconsidering” may be too strong of a word, but I’m being optimistic).
As with most movements, the Right to Carry movement in Illinois was started at the grassroots level by gun advocates and organizations and from there began to garner attention from the media and local politicians.
Here’s a video of several journalists from Chicago Newsroom discussing the groundswell of support for Right to Carry (start at approx: 12:30).
On the political front, Chicago Rep. La Shawn K. Ford held several town hall meetings (and plans to hold several more) where individuals got an opportunity to voice their opinions about guns and the Right to Carry.
Rep. Ford presides over a predominately African-American constituency in the West Side of Chicago were gun violence is problematic. His thoughts about an individual’s Right to Carry are compelling and are considered ‘controversial,’ especially in a city where pro-gun control sentiments are prevalent in the media and among politicians.
The article in Chicago-Sun Times states:
Earlier this year, Chicago legislators led the way in defeating the first concealed carry proposal to come to a vote in the General Assembly in many years. Both outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley and incoming Mayor Rahm Emanuel put on the pressure to hold Chicago area legislators in line. At the time, Ford shocked gun control advocates by voting “present.”
If you’ve read this space over time, then you know I’m not in favor of anything that puts more guns into the hands of more people.
But I recognize there is another point of view, and it intrigues me to see that other perspective being expressed in minority communities that bear the brunt of the impact of gun violence.
Rep. Ford voted ‘present’ to show that he was not about to fall in line with the consensus. He wanted to personally hear what his people had to say before he voted “yes” or “no” on a Right to Carry bill.
And Rep. Ford findings from those town hall meetings are pretty straightforward. “Black people want guns, and I know that sounds bad,” Ford told the Chicago-Sun Times.
“They’re saying we’re making criminals out of law-abiding citizens,” he said. “They’re saying you’re only siding with the criminals because the criminals could care less about the law.”
Rep. Ford added, “The city of Chicago is standing in the way of concealed carry.”
Rep. Ford is right. People, people of all colors, races, etc., want the right to defend themselves. Why is this fact so shocking or controversial?
What should be shocking or controversial is the fact that there is an agenda to suppress an individual’s right to defend himself/herself (consider the line by the author of the Sun-Times article, “If you’ve read this space over time, then you know I’m not in favor of anything that puts more guns into the hands of more people”). And it’s apparent that more and more Illinois citizens are beginning to recognize this fact. Hopefully, this increased awareness precipitates change — and this ends up being another step forward for gun owners.