One word in the court-ordered Illinois conceal carry law is stirring controversy. The word? Should the law say "shall" or "may" in the state issuing a firearm permit. To explain the debate, the following was released by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA):
Anyone who has lived in the greater Chicago area for any amount of time knows that racial code words are a subtle, yet powerful feature of the local dialect. Code words allow self-conscious racists to discreetly mask their xenophobia. For example, around Chicagoland a "regular customer" is often used to denote that someone is White while someone who is "funny looking" is probably something other than White.
Over the past several days, the Illinois General Assembly has been debating the court-ordered imposition of a concealed carry law here in Illinois. One of the major sticking points for passage of a concealed carry law is whether Illinois will be a "shall issue" state or a "may issue" state. A shall-issue law would require that officials issue concealed carry permits to any law-abiding citizen who passes a background check and meets certain training and proficiency requirements. On the other hand, a may-issue law would result in county sheriffs issuing concealed carry permits at their whim – and probably only to a select group of their friends and political supporters.
As expected, House Speaker Michael Madigan has been pushing for a "may-issue" bill to satisfy the court's requirement. Madigan supposedly prefers "may issue" for the purpose of keeping the "wrong people" from obtaining concealed carry permits. However, one does not have to be keenly perceptive to know that, coming from Madigan, "may-issue" and "wrong people" adds up to yet another set of Chicago code words. Within the context of Madigan's preferences, here is how "may issue" will translate into reality:
"May issue" means that if you are Black, you probably won't be granted a carry permit in Cook County.
"May issue" means that if you are Hispanic, you probably won't be granted a carry permit in Cook County.
"May issue" means that if your name is hard to pronounce, you probably won't be granted a carry permit in Cook County.
"May issue" means that if you pulled a Republican ballot in the last primary, you probably won't be granted a concealed carry permit in Cook County.
"May issue" means that if you contributed generously to Machine candidates, you will most likely be granted a concealed carry permit in Cook County.
"Madigan and the rest of the Chicago Machine are famous for doling out government contracts and services to their friends while systematically shortchanging minorities and those who are not ardent machine supporters," commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson . "If Illinois becomes a 'may issue' state, then one should expect that concealed carry permits will be issued as a quid pro quo perk rather than to facilitate the right of self defense."
"The ISRA believes that all law-abiding Illinois citizens have the right to defend themselves against violent criminals," continued Pearson. "We believe that law-abiding citizens are entitled to exercise that right by employing the best means of protection available – the defensive firearm. Therefore, the ISRA will fight against any attempt to pass a 'may issue' concealed carry law in this state."
The ISRA is the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. For more than a century, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.