Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland occasionally engages in satire as a rhetorical device. This is one of those times. Please read it with satire in mind.
Illinois gun owners want to make this the last state to adopt a conceal carry law, which would allow citizens to hide guns under their clothing when they go out in public.
According to the group Illinois Carry, “Illinois is one of two states that does not have a concealed arms laws for its citizens. Is this a violation of your second amendment rights? Statistics show that states with the right for the citizens to carry concealed arms shows lower violent crime rates.”
That’s a good step toward keeping Illinoisans safe from violent crime, but it doesn’t go far enough. Instead of making Illinois the last state with a conceal carry law, why not be progressive and make it the first state with a mandatory carry law -- a law requiring every Illinoisan to carry a gun everywhere, at all times.
Concealed weapons are supposed to make us safer when we venture into dangerous situations, or dangerous neighborhoods. But as we’ve learned in the last two weeks, from the mass shootings at a movie theater in Colorado and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the entire United States of America is a dangerous neighborhood. If we can’t feel safe in a house of entertainment or a house of worship, where can we feel safe.
We also learned that the reason so many people died in those massacres is that they’d failed to take responsibility for their own protection.
“If everyone had to mandatorily carry weapons," Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson said in U.S. News and World Report, "would there have been 72 people shot at in that theater?"
Let's assume that Johnson's idea is correct and an armed citizenry would have interceded in these recent shooting sprees. Under that logic, it's not enough to allow people to carry guns. We have to require it, because it’s not fair to ask responsible gun owners to guarantee the safety of anti-gun types. Fortunately, the Supreme Court recently gave us a way to do this, with its decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Just as anyone who doesn’t buy health care will be forced to pay a tax, anyone who doesn’t buy a gun, or is caught not carrying a gun, will also be forced to pay a tax.
No exceptions here. If you go swimming, you’ll have to carry your gun in a waterproof holster. If you play basketball, you’ll have to do so with a gun strapped to your ankle. You won’t have to call your own fouls anymore, because who’s going to hack a guy with a gun? Hockey players will be required to carry guns on the ice at the United Center, which should cut down on the number of cheap hits in Blackhawks. Instead of dropping the gloves, goons could shoot it out at center ice. Or fans in the stands could shoot at opposing players who are getting too rough.
All in all, mandatory carry will lead to a more civil, less violent society.
This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $2.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.