So, as some of you who follow this issue (hey Goldy!) know, Illinois recently became the last state in our Great Republic (i.e., Crazy Nation) to allow concealed carry of handguns (we were forced to do so by the courts). The Sun-Times yesterday had a great analysis of where people are applying for concealed carry permits, and found that by per capita measures, suburban and rural counties were far outstripping Cook County, home to Chicago and tons of gun violence. You'd think all those Good Guys who need to be strapped to protect themselves from Bad Guys in movie theaters, supermarkets, and schools would be doing so in Chicago and environs. Not so much. Money quote re: one of these suburban counties:
But it was in tiny Cumberland County in east-central Illinois. where the per capita rate led the state, with nearly 51 out of every 10,000 residents applying for a concealed-carry permit so far. A total of 56 applicants out of 11,048 residents countywide listed Cumberland as their county of residence, the State Police data showed.
“I’m shocked about it,” said Tom Bauguss, mayor of Greenup, a farming community that is the county’s largest town with 1,516 residents.
Crime of any sort is a rarity in Cumberland County, where residents report frequent sightings of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who visits during Downstate hunting forays.
“In Greenup, I can’t remember the last murder,” the mayor said, adding that he doesn’t even own a gun.
State Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, was the lead architect of legislation that opened the door for concealed-carry in Illinois and is among the 23,000-plus who already have sought a concealed-carry permit this month, saying once he is licensed, he intends to carry an XDS .45-calibur handgun.
Low crime rates notwithstanding, Phelps said it’s not surprising that rural and mostly crime-free pockets Downstate might be moving more quickly for the permits than Cook County.
“I think there’s lot of people Downstate that are really pro-Second Amendment. They’ve been waiting a long time to exercise their constitutional right,” he said.
Told of Cumberland County’s top-of-the-heap status, Phelps joked, “Now, there won’t be any criminals stopping through there committing crimes any more.”
I wrote a letter to the editor, about this in my role as Local Crank:
It should surprise no one that Downstate rural counties are leading in per-capita applications for concealed-carry permits. Those counties are full of wild animals that might attack at any moment! Plus, bad people from big cities occasionally pass through in cars, buses and trains; they might get off and start a crime spree, which only concealed carry of deadly handguns can prevent!
Or maybe these rubes have just swallowed, hook line and sinker, the NRA’s paranoid propaganda about the necessity for handguns?
Please do a follow-up story in a year documenting the increase in accidental shootings, suicides and unnecessary violence that actual scientific research has proven to correlate with handgun ownership.
Bill Savage, Rogers Park
Then this morning, I got an email from an unfamiliar address with the subject head "One and the same." It read:
By any chance would you be the same Bill Savage of Rogers Park that wrote about, "Guns and safety" that appeared in the reader feedback section of the Chicago Suntimes today (Jan.17,2012) ? -Harry-
So, I turn to the Wisdom of Slog: should I respond to Harry? I say, No, he's clearly a gun nut. If he agreed with my letter, he just woulda said so. What do you all think?