Concealed carry: How does it affect you?
On Wednesday, July 9, 2013, the Firearm Concealed Carry Act came into effect, making concealed carry legal in Illinois. At Parkland College and other learning institutions, however, weapons are still banned.
The concealed carry act, 430 ILCS 66/1 et seq, has several requirements for acquiring a license. An applicant must be over the age of 21 and not have any misdemeanors in the last five years. These include the use or threat of physical force, two or more DUI’s, or court ordered alcohol treatments including detoxification and drug rehabilitation.
If the applicant meets all these requirements, they then have to pass the required firearms training. Once training has completed and the applicant has been given their license, there are still many regulations to follow.
Restricted places include any government buildings, schools, hospitals and liquor establishments, public transportation, public parks playgrounds and athletic facilities, nuclear facilities, airports, amusement parks, zoos and museums, among other federally restricted areas.
According to Parkland Police Chief William Colbrook, there is one exception. He calls it the “parking lot exception.”
“A registered card carrying citizen is required to disarm themselves in the parking lot when they leave their vehicle. They must then lock their weapon up in either a case or the trunk,” Colbrook explained.
The theory there is that citizens have the right to protect themselves on the streets, and should be allowed to bring their weapon with them. Once they get to school grounds though, the job of protection falls on Campus Safety.
Some might argue that it is safer to have concealed carry here at Parkland. The officers cannot be everywhere at once and if a situation arises, a civilian carrier could potentially defuse it. Colbrook feels that there is not enough study to know if concealed carry makes everyone safer or not.
Having concealed carry creates a new dynamic for the 2014 police force. Colbrook expects to get calls about people putting their weapons away in the parking lots. He is confident his team has been properly trained for the situations.
Before the law was in place, responding to a gun call would be big news. Now, however, the officers can assume nothing going in to the situation. Odds are the person will just be putting away their weapon, which Colbrook said will certainly cause concern to people the first time they see it happening.
Business Administration major Ashley Beals said she would feel safer knowing that trained people are carrying weapons.
“There is a time and place for everything,” Beals remarked, and guns are no different. She, like many others, is concerned that the guns might be used if someone gets upset, or as a form of intimidation.
Business Professor Judy Smith said that ideally only law enforcement would have weapons. She is okay with concealed carry as long as the licensees have proper training. Her main concern is the potential for more guns being available to children.
A suggestion Smith made was for the age to be increased to 25, since the human brain does not fully develop until around that age.
“People aren’t able to fully comprehend their actions at a younger age,” Smith stated.
Colbrook encourages the public to remain vigilant in spotting suspicious activity.
“We are only as good as everyone else is. If someone is out of line, try to get information and contact public safety. Be part of the solution,” Colbrook said.
If you need to report a crime or suspicious activity, please call Public Safety at 217-351-2200.