If you're in a minority of 48 to 2 on an issue, you may be seeing truths that other people miss. Or you may be refusing to admit reality. In the case of Illinois' refusal to allow citizens to get permits to carry concealed handguns, it's the latter. It's the only state but Wisconsin that doesn't allow it. But there is a glimmer of hope of change: The Illinois Sheriffs' Association has endorsed a law to afford Illinoisans this type of protection.

There is not much risk in allowing such permits to law-abiding people. When Florida pioneered the idea in the 1980s, critics warned of a surge in gun battles among those granted this privilege. But it never came to pass, there or elsewhere.

In 21 years, Florida has had to revoke an average of eight licenses a year for crimes involving a gun--out of more than half a million permit holders at any given time. Says Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, "If the United States had a crime rate like that, we'd think we were in Switzerland."

The key, as the sheriffs point out, is allowing licenses only to adults who pass a background check (to screen out criminals and those with serious mentall illness) and undergo extensive safety training, as required elsewhere. Gun control supporters often ask why we require training for drivers but not for gun owners. In this case, we would. Weapons would still be banned from bars, airports, government offices, schools, churches, stadiums and the like.

It's not likely that allowing concealed weapons would reduce the crime rate, as some supporters claim. But there's no reason to deny it to those who feel it would enhance their safety.

Source: Chicago Tribune