The Rock Island County Board is going to ask their residents, via the November ballot, whether or not they think Illinois should adopt concealed carry, just as the other 49 states in the country have.
Voting in favor of the measure will not mean that Rock Island County citizens can then carry a weapon. Rather, it is being used as a way to tell Springfield if they simply want the policy or not.
However, an even louder message concerning this issue is being sent to Springfield in a very tragic way, almost 200 miles east of Rock Island County in Chicago. The recent spread of shootings in Chicago has grabbed national headlines, as an all-too-large number of citizens, including teens and children, have been wounded or killed in the frightening wave of violence. Most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Monday that three men were killed and at least 17 others wounded in citywide shootings since Friday.
With Illinois being the only state without concealed carry in the nation, the violence in Chicago is an unfortunate reminder of how behind the state is on this policy. The gun laws in Chicago are in particularly strict and are only hurting the law-abiding citizens. The city’s scary events should be the final wake up call to opponents of concealed carry, as these tragedies are making it harder and harder to deny lawful citizens their right of protection.
The rest of the country knows two facts about Illinois right now: it is the only state without concealed carry and its largest city has become a danger. Dissenters can continue to try and say these are two unrelated issues but that argument seems to be getting harder to make. Rock Island County’s option on the November ballot might nudge lawmakers in the right direction, but the Chicago violence should already be shoving them there. Forty-nine other states have taken this step. It’s better late than never, especially when lives are at stake.