Within six months, lawful citizens in Chicago, the site of 2,364 shootings and 487 homicides so far this year, can carry concealed weapons in public for defense, says a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruling reported by the Christian Science Monitor. The decision, which said it’s unconstitutional for Illinois to keep citizens from carrying legal weapons in public, struck at the last bastion of gun prohibition in America. All other states allow people to carry concealed weapons, with some demanding that authorities “shall issue” permits if applicants meet stated requirements.
The question of whether more guns in the hands of lawful citizens increases or reduces crime continues to be hotly debated, highlighted by incidents like Florida’s Trayvon Martin shooting this year and the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide at the Kansas City Chiefs training facility on Dec. 1. In Chicago, where the nation’s strictest gun controls have failed to quell growing numbers of gang shootings, some believe the ruling will help calm some of the violence, some of which has claimed innocent bystanders. “I think you’ll see a reduction in violence because right now, the criminals know there’s no one legally who can defend themselves,” state Rep. Brandon Phelps, who sponsored a failed concealed-carry bill this year, told the Chicago Sun-Times.