Madison and St. Clair counties are almost identical in population, so it was somewhat surprising to see how different they are when it comes to concealed carry.
Madison County had 3,301 concealed carry permits issued in 2014, the first year of Illinois’ program, compared with 2,642 in St. Clair County. That’s a difference of 659, or about 25 percent more permits in Madison County than in St. Clair.
But fewer permits doesn’t necessarily mean fewer guns on the street. Odds are the number of guns is about the same; it’s just that more people in St. Clair County carry a gun without the state’s blessing. Some people don’t want to pay the $150 permit fee, some don’t want to take the required 16 hours of training, and some wouldn’t pass a background check.
Illinois fought concealed carry for years and was the last state in the nation to allow it. Itook a federal court order to force Illinois to enact the law. All that resistance was a wasted effort. As proponents knew all along, concealed carry permit holders are law-abiding citizens, and crime hasn’t increased because of this change.
It’s the people carrying guns without permits, before the law’s enactment and after, who pose the danger.