Illinois enacted a concealed-carry law in 2013, with a few restrictions, like a requirement to take a 16-hour training course and undergo a background check the state considers satisfactory.
But as the Peoria Journal-Star writes, residents of Illinois are just worried about that one person who might have both a hair-trigger temperament and ready access to a gun.
A hair-trigger incident happened recently at a shopping center in Peoria. After waiting for a man to back out of a parking space, a woman got out of her car to ask what the problem might be. The male driver allegedly displayed, but didn’t point, a handgun at the woman who had come over to see what the problem might have been, and he swore at her and drove off.
She took down his license plate and called police, who arrested him on misdemeanor assault charges under Illinois law, but these charges aren’t necessarily related to his carrying of a gun. The assault charge is qualified as “aggravated” because of the weapon; the man is among more than 140,000 people in the state licensed to carry concealed weapons in public.
Now, gun proponents will argue that the driver, if he in fact did what he has been accused of doing, was breaking the law and therefore doesn’t qualify as a law-abiding citizen. It’s not his law-abiding nature that has people worried, though; it’s his jumpy, almost reflexive mindset and his easy, handy access to a weapon that can kill a person in a matter of seconds, before he has had a chance to cool off.
In Chicago on Christmas Day, two people were shot dead and seven wounded by gunfire, the Chicago Tribune reports. Most of these incidents, probably, involved illegal guns, and one may have been a suicide, not a homicide.
On Christmas Eve, a woman was robbed and sexually assaulted at gunpoint near the Greenspring Montessori School north of Baltimore, yet another sign that many people who have ready access to guns go from law-abiding to law-breaking in the blink of an eye, given any opportunity to use guns in an illegal way, such as the one in the Peoria parking lot.
Apparently, all it takes for someone to pull out a gun is to have someone ask why they might be taking such a long time to pull out of a parking space. When that happens, as it allegedly did in Peoria, family members might think something like, If only I didn’t ask her to run out and pick up those eggs for my cake. If only we hadn’t had a holiday party on that day. If only we hadn’t boarded that plane. If only we hadn’t chosen to eat at that sidewalk café. If only.