I was very appalled on a particular day in July. As I read an article on the Peoria Journal Star website, I read some disturbing news that made my blood boil with intense rage. My hometown of Peoria,IL had done the unthinkable. Mayor Jim Ardis made the decision to make Peoria the test city for Illnois’ conceal-carry gun law. I sat in my chair thinking that Jim Ardis had truly lost his mind. How can Jim Ardis, a man in charge of protecting the citizens under his jurisdiction, make such a dangerous decision for the city of Peoria? Most importanly, how could he allow such a thing to happen to the state of Illinois?
Illinois has not been the most popular state after earning the reputation of being the most corrupt state in the U.S. Along with a reputation like this, Mayor Ardis has decided that making Peoria the test city for carrying concealed weapons is the best idea since sliced bread. In recent years, Peoria has become the place for countless homicides(most of them are gang related). So, in order to “take back our city,” Jim Ardis believes that all Peorians should be able to carry concealed weapons. I disagree with the notion that carrying guns will in fact deter crime. Instead, I believe that the conceal-carry law will increase Peoria’s crime rate. In the Journal Star, Peoria’s local newspaper, Peoria police officer Troy Skaggs said that granting citizens the right to carry a concealed weapon will make criminals think twice before committing a random act of violence. “If you’re not sure if a guy has a gun, you may not try to do some things to him that you might otherwise try to get away with.” Is it just me, or is there some serious flawed logic in Skaggs’ statement?While Skaggs seems to be trying to establish the idea that a wise, would be criminal is going to think twice before committing a violent crime out of fear for their life, seems to be a matter of opinion. Many criminals seem to reason in a backwards fashion. Criminals seem to respond more effectively to war-like combat rather than analyzing whether or not their target has a gun. For example, it is not uncommon for gas station attendants to carry guns out of fear for their lives, but gas stations still get robbed. Another example is the number of shootings in Peoria this summer. There were at least 20-40 shootings in Peoria this summer alone! This goes to show that the fear that a person may be carrying a gun is not in the thought pattern of most Peoria criminals. So, it is very irrational for Officer Skaggs to believe that the conceal-carry law will make criminals think twice about committing crimes.
Another negative aspect of the conceal-carry law is that Peoria lacks boundaries on where guns can and cannot be carried. Peoria has many “sub areas” that claim to be different from Peoria for one reason or another. One of these distinct areas in particular is Peoria Heights. Peoria Heights residents are fearful that Peoria residents will carry concealed weapons into their territory. Technically, Peoria is the test city for the conceal-carry law, but Peoria Heights residents view their territory as being distinguishable from Peoria. This is where things get a bit strange. It is legal to carry a gun in Peoria, but illegal to carry the weapon a few streets over. This is completely insane! The worst part is that the only recognizable boundary between Peoria and Peoria Heights is a brightly colored sign that says, “Welcome to Peoria Heights.” This can easily be viewed as just a large welcome mat separating what is supposed to be two different cities with very different gun laws.
Though Peoria is only testing out the conceal-carry law, I still feel for the law-abiding citizens that have to live in a city where the mayor views his city as a militant camp ground built simply for target practice. Citizens of Peoria, my only advice to you would be to strap on your holsters and bring your six gun pilgrim. you’ve just entered the Wild, Wild West.
Ryan Ori, “Police say concealed-carry law would deter criminals.” pjstar.com