The City of Chicago saw a sharp increase in the number of concealed carry permits issued in 2016, DNAinfo reports.
According to statistics gained from Illinois State Police, in 2016 22,517 Chicagoans obtained concealed carry permits, compared to only 13,948 in 2015.
There has also been a huge increase in the number of Chicagoans who obtained a Firearm Owners Identification card, from 23,700 in 2015 to 38,700 in 2016.
So what’s the catalyst for such a large increase?
Joel Ostrander, owner of SafeShot Ltd., which provides training needed to gain a permit, has a pretty good idea.
“People are worried about crime in Chicago,” Ostrander said. “These are well-educated, professional people looking for a way to protect their homes and families.”
This really isn’t a surprise. Chicago has become synonymous with gun crime, with 2016 seeing 762 homicides and over 4000 shootings.
In late 2012 Illinois was forced to end its ban on carrying a weapon in public. Despite gun control advocates predicting that the sky would fall, more and more state residents have been quietly exercising their right to protect themselves, but mostly in the more affluent areas of the city.
For example Austin and North Lawndale, two of the city’s more dangerous neighborhoods, don’t have nearly as many concealed carriers as the more affluent neighborhoods.
One reason for this may be because Austin and North Lawndale have more criminals, and gang members are least likely to get permits for their weapons.
Another reason is because it is fairly expensive and time consuming to get a permit. To legally buy a gun and ammunition in Illinois, you must have pay $10 for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) and pass a background check. This card is issued by the State Police. In order to obtain a concealed carry permit at a cost of $150, you must conduct sixteen hours of training, the longest of any state, including three to four hours practicing at a gun range.
Sixteen hours and at least $160 is no small deal for the poor and working class who just want to protect themselves, and this doesn’t even include the cost for a firearm.
So while Chicago has seen a large increase in permits, it’s fair to say that the law is discriminatory to those who probably most need to legally carry.
At any rate, more citizens exercising their right to carry firearms is great news and this hopefully leads to a safer Chicago.