Some 92,000 people got licenses to carry a hidden gun in public last year in Illinois, which was the last state in the union to legalize “concealed carry,” the Chicago Tribune reports. Since it went into effect more than a year ago, the law has prompted neither the rash of shootings that opponents feared, nor a wave of crimes prevented through the intervention of armed citizens. Instead, there are disputes over who should be allowed to carry a gun, and where. Those battles are being played out in the courts and occasionally, on the streets.
Some citizens who were turned down for concealed-carry permits say they are being denied their constitutional right by a secretive state licensing board. Yet law enforcement officials warn that dangerous people are being allowed to walk around with loaded weapons. Problems have occasionally cropped up. In July, a man with a concealed-carry permit tried to foil an armed robbery by shooting at the fleeing robber, forcing a police officer to duck for cover. No one was hurt, but firearms trainers said gun carriers who try to intervene when police are already on the scene can pose a serious danger. In another incident, a member of the military who had a license to carry a gun shot and wounded an armed man who had fired into a crowd.