CHICAGO - State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and political colleagues from Congressman Bobby Rush to State Rep Kenneth Dunkin and Alderman Pat Dowell learned Saturday at a town hall that their constituents are ready for legalized concealed carry.
"I'm tired of being harassed by gangbangers with guns," one older man said.
An influential voice in Chicago's black community Cliff Kelly of WVON agreed. He cited the law change in Wisconsin and the Milwaukee County sheriff encouraging people eligible to buy guns to get one. "The reason is, he said, I want you to protect yourself 'til we can get there to help you,'" Kelly said. "Now that makes a lot of sense."
Kelly said, "I understand why people don't support concealed carry because of the murder rate we have here, but you have to think about why that's happening, and who, in fact, is committing the murders. It's not the people that would get an FOID card."
Kelly moderated questions from the audience, many which expressed outrage at not being able to defend themselves in such a high crime area. Others said even though the court ruled concealed carry to be constitutional, allowing guns will not fix the crime problem.
State Rep. Dunkin and State Senator Mattie Hunter said the area's needed more funds to offer programs for the youth and keep them out of gang activity. Hunter nor Dunkin expressed support for the concealed carry law, but understood the implementation was inevitable. Their goal was to listen to their constituents and carry their voice to Springfield.
Alderman Dowell said if the law was coming to Illinois, that Chicago should be open to training schools to qualify for the Concealed Carry Weapon permit, as required in HB 997 introduced this week by State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Highland).
If the legislature does not meet the deadline by passing legislation in 180 days, the court said Illinois would become a Constitutional Carry state, with no requirements of training, permits, FOID cards, mental health screenings or drug abuse background checks. More hearty Second Amendment advocates are proned to let the clock run out, and make Illinois a constitutional carry state.
A video of Saturday's town hall is available HERE. At 59:00 on the video livestreamed by BlueroomStream, illinois State Rifle Association lobbyist Todd VanderMyde answered several questions raised by audience and lawmakers.