Republican Precinct Committeeman and Will County Board Member Gretchen Fritz is a Concealed Carry Instructor at Safer USA wrote an interesting article for the latest edition of The Illinois Shooter on the common misperceptions that her students had towards concealed carry. Here it is. A must read: “Not-So-Common Sense for Concealed Carry
By Gretchen A. Fritz April 2017
I have been involved with teaching Illinois concealed carry for SAFER USA since the state police authorized us to start teaching it, which was October of 2013. In that time SAFER USA has educated over 1000 students about the big concepts and finer points of concealed carry.
We prefer students arrive with open minds, ready to be filled with knowledge. But many come to class with some preconceived ideas that are not accurate and that do not contribute to their safety. To be honest, some of these ideas are so ludicrous that it is by sheer luck that these individuals have lived this long and are able to attend a concealed carry class at this point.
Whether or not you have already taken an Illinois concealed carry class, if I can re-educate you, maybe I can help you stay alive. We take great care to encourage questions and to answer them with the best facts we can find, dispelling the myths that people too often believe. So here are some statements students have actually made in class.
“My town is safe (and I basically never leave my town).” There is no such thing as a 100% safe town. Suburbs and parts of Chicago that were previously thought to be “safe” have been experiencing never-before-seen crimes lately. A man was murdered in his car in a school parking lot in Naperville at the end of January. Three people were shot and wounded in a parking garage in the Gold Coast, also in late January.
In November 2016 two men kidnapped a rideshare driver in Glen Ellyn and forced him to withdraw money from ATMs. A man from Skokie committed an armed robbery at a Target store in Plainfield last August; that one hit close to home. So don’t tell me you live in a safe town. Bad stuff happens pretty much everywhere, and you never know when it will be in your town.
“I don’t plan to carry all the time.” Carrying occasionally is basically pointless. You cannot possibly know when you will need a gun. The very nature of crimes, terrorist attacks and mentally unstable people committing mass shootings in public places is that they are unexpected. If someone knew these things were going to happen, they would have been prevented. To the credit of law enforcement in this country, many of these incidents have been prevented, but 100% prevention is not attainable.
If more people carried all the time, mall and movie theater shootings would be rarer and would be cut short by “sheepdogs” when they did occur. (Lt. Col. David Grossman coined the term “sheepdogs” for people who protect others: law enforcement officers, soldiers and people who carry concealed weapons.) Carrying occasionally will give you a false sense of security when you do carry, but you will be less mentally and physically prepared than someone who carries all the time. It is my experience that when you carry a gun, your situational awareness is heightened. So you are more likely to detect that a situation just doesn’t feel right and either leave the situation or alert law enforcement than someone who does not carry.
“Cook County is so anti-Second Amendment that I will be prosecuted if I defend myself with a firearm.” There is no denying that Cook County is anti-Second Amendment. That’s a fact. Former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy gave many interviews about the problems he expected to come with legal concealed carry. Sheriff Tom Dart and Mayor Rahm Emanuel didn’t hold back either. But it is also a fact that not one single concealed carry self-defense incident in Illinois has resulted in prosecution of the law-abiding citizen who defended himself or others.
The first two uses of Illinois concealed carry for self-defense happened in July of 2014, one in West Pullman and one in Crestwood. In April 2015 an Uber driver shot a man who was shooting into a crowd on a Friday night in Logan Square. In October 2015 a man who was committing an armed robbery at a Gage Park corner store was shot and killed by a man with concealed carry. Not one of these four sheepdogs has been prosecuted despite all the incidents taking place in Cook County.
Even back when Chicago still had a handgun ban, many homeowners who used guns in self-defense against home invasions were not charged or prosecuted for violating the ban. So I think we have enough evidence to show that even Cook County is a good place for concealed carry.
“If I get pulled over by a police officer, s/he will find out that I have concealed carry and will give me a hard time (or will be anxious or will take some other undesirable action).” I can’t say that none of these things will ever happen, but I will tell you that most police officers support concealed carry. A 2013 PoliceOne survey of 15,000 police officers revealed that 91 percent of them support law-abiding citizens carrying concealed. They know that they simply can’t be everywhere to prevent every crime.
They also know that the primary responsibility to keep you safe is yours. In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Castle Rock v. Gonzales that police have no specific constitutional duty to protect persons from harm. The smart ones will also consider that three or four background checks have been run on you in the past three years or less in order for you to have gotten an Illinois concealed carry license. People who have concealed carry are the crème de la crème of law-abiding citizens! You are actually the last person a police officer needs to worry about, and I think most of them intuitively know that.
“I won’t carry my gun with a round in the chamber.” I immediately know two things about the person who says this. The first is that you don’t trust your gun. Why would you want to carry a gun that you don’t trust? It is highly unlikely that a modern firearm will go off accidentally, like by being dropped, for example. I once dropped my Glock on my driveway from a height of about three feet. Nothing happened, just as I would expect.
The second thing I know is that you don’t know anything about what will happen when your life is threatened and you need to use your gun for self-defense. Because when your life is being threatened, you will get a dump of adrenaline, also known as the fight or flight response. When that happens, your fine motor skills don’t work as well because your hands shake big time. So while you are shaking, now you need to cycle the slide of your firearm, which you will not be able to do. As it turns out, you have been carrying a paperweight around rather than a gun with which you can defend yourself.
It is absolutely imperative that the 2A community applies logic to the keeping and bearing of arms, concealed carry specifically. The illogical beliefs that the Second Amendment is outdated, that carrying guns in public, legally, is somehow dangerous and that people who carry concealed will turn into irrational hotheads and kill people over parking spots must constantly be refuted. We cannot let the gun controllers or the criminals win simply because we did not educate ourselves about the actual facts of self-defense and concealed carry.”
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