Chicago’s crime rate has dropped since Illinois became the 50th state in the nation to adopt a concealed carry law last year, the Washington Times reported.
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy attributed the decrease to “intelligent policing strategies” and said cops confiscated more than 1,300 illegal guns in the first quarter of the year.
But Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said it’s clear to him what’s driving the decrease — and it’s not the police. He said the department “hasn’t changed a single tactic.”
“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” Pearson told the Times.
By July 29, Illinois had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses, the Times reported. Pearson predicted that 100,000 Illinois citizens will have concealed carry permits by the end of 2014.
Individual permits cost about $600 with 16 hours of classes required. Despite the hurdles, Pearson expects that about 300,000 state residents will ultimately have permits before the increase levels off.
Cook County, which includes Chicago, has the state’s largest number of concealed carry applications, with 28,552 requests, but per capita population, fewer than 1 percent in the county have permits.
The Crime Prevention Research Center found in a July study that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago. The center estimated that after concealed carry laws were passed, homicide and other violent crime decreased by 22 percent.
Florida has the most concealed carry permits, at nearly 1.3 million, according to the Times. Texas is second, with more than 708,000. Hawaii has the least, at just 183.
If Pearson’s projection of 300,000 concealed carry permits proves correct, Illinois would be comparable to Virginia, which has 363,274 permits, and Alabama, which has 379,917 permits.