Across the country, efforts to expand or establish laws allowing concealed handguns have been fueled by horrifying shootings of the family of a federal judge in Chicago, at a church service in Wisconsin, at courthouses in Atlanta and Tyler, Tex., and on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota, the New York Times reports. In Texas and Illinois, the shootings prompted new legislation to allow judges and prosecutors to be armed. Legislators in Nebraska and Wisconsin, already considering allowing concealed weapons, believe the shootings will help their cause.
Gun control supporters acknowledge that the atmosphere is different than in 1999, when the shootings at Colorado’s Columbine High School inspired gun-control proposals in Congress and in state legislatures, and forced gun advocates to retreat from legislation they hoped to pass, including a Colorado bill to allow concealed handguns. Thirty-five states require the authorities to issue permits for concealed handguns to most applicants as long as they do not have criminal records. Eleven allow the local authorities discretion in issuing so-called concealed carry permits. Most states include some restrictions on where guns can be carried.