A new poll reveals that Illinois' new concealed carry law, introduced in January, makes a majority of Chicagoans feel unsafe.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 55 percent of poll-takers said they felt "less safe" with the law permitting licensed gun owners to bear hidden weapons in public. Meanwhile, 15 percent said they felt "more safe" and 30 percent said they were indifferent.
The numbers coincide with a rise in Chicago shootings this summer -- headline-making cases include the tragic death of 11-year-old Shamiya Adams -- and a decline in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's job approval rating. The Trib reported last week that his rating slipped from 50 percent around this time last year to a current low of 35 percent, revealing significant dissatisfaction with how the incumbent Democrat -- up for re-election this February -- is handling the city's myriad problems, crime being one of them. The mayor blames "economic stress" for his poor reviews.
"Concern about crime was represented by an increase in the percentage of voters who said they consider their neighborhood less safe since Emanuel became mayor," wrote the Trib. "A total of 27 percent of voters said they considered themselves to be less safe where they live, compared with 20 percent a year earlier. The percentage of those who said their neighborhood was the same as before Emanuel dropped from 68 percent to 61 percent."
Dogged by criticism that he's ignored the city's most crime- and poverty-ridden neighborhoods, Emanuel has nonetheless pushed for tighter gun control here in Chicago, moving to keep firearm shops away from schools and parks and calling gun violence the city's "most urgent problem."
City Hall has said most illegal guns are coming from nearby states with looser laws, and that 60 percent of crimes committed between 2009 and 2013 were used with weapons purchased primarily in Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi.
Meanwhile, it was reported Monday that 22 states have recognized Illinois' concealed carry weapons permit since the law took effect earlier this year. But Illinois doesn't have a reciprocity agreement with any states, meaning it doesn't acknowledge other state permits.
The Land of Lincoln, a blue state, was the last in America to allow concealed carry. The bill lawmakers passed in 2013 was due to a federal court order, and the legislation was battled hard by those who wanted Illinois to retain its ban on concealed weapons.