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After Charleston

Tom F. Driver   |   June 22, 2015   12:43 PM ET

Following the nine murders in Charleston, the most amazing thing has been the public reaction of the victims' families, who have, as they say, refused to let the mass murders push them into hatred. Instead of calling for revenge, or even "justice," they offered forgiveness. It is the strongest affirmation of nonviolence that I have ever heard.

Now all us white folks, listen carefully: The ball is in our court. It is up to us to get the guns off the street and to become nonviolent ourselves. If we're just bystanders and grievers, we're giving the support of silence to the racists among us.

Adam Goldberg   |   June 21, 2015    8:14 PM ET

'Meet The Press' is taking heat for a video the program aired about gun violence.

In the wake of the Charleston church shooting, host Chuck Todd introduced a video on Sunday morning featuring testimonies of convicted murderers, calling the issue "color-blind." Inmates at New York's Sing Sing Correctional Facility opened up about the regret they had after using guns. However, only black prisoners were shown.

The homogeneous racial makeup of the video struck some viewers as inappropriate, especially given the apparently racially-motivated killings by a white man this week of 9 black victims at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

'Meet The Press' panelist and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson pointed out the apparent disconnect.

"I thought that was a very powerful piece," he said. "One small thing I would mention, because I haven't seen the whole piece, is there wasn't a terribly diverse set of people who were talking. Right now, we're talking about a horrific crime committed by a white man. We're talking about the search for two escaped murderers who are white men. So, we should point out that this is not just an African-American problem."

Todd responded that "it wasn't intended to be that way."

Users on social media also expressed frustration with the perceived tone-deafness of the video:

Later in the show, a 'Meet The Press' panel addressed the pushback to the video, with Todd remarking that the topic of gun violence "wasn't meant to be a black and white issue." Todd also spoke out in a post on the show's website. He said:

We've gotten a lot of feedback about the gun video we showed on Meet the Press today. Some were upset it only featured African-American men talking about their regrets of pulling a trigger. All of the men in the piece volunteered to be a part of the video and the larger project it is a part of.

But the last thing we wanted was to cloud the discussion of the topic.

The original decision to air this segment was made before Wednesday's massacre. However, the staff and I had an internal debate about whether to show it at all this week. When we discussed putting it off, that conversation centered around race and perception - not the conversation we wanted the segment to invoke.

We decided against delaying the segment because we wanted to show multiple sides of what gun violence does in this country. We thought the issue of gun violence in our culture and society was an important conversation to continue -- too important to put off for another week. The consequences of gun violence should not be hidden.

As I say to all audiences, Meet the Press should make all viewers uncomfortable at some point or we are not doing our job. I hope folks view the gun video as a part of the conversation we should all be having and not the totality of it.

The gun violence video aired by 'Meet The Press' can be seen at the top of this entry (via RawStory).

Sam Levine   |   June 21, 2015   11:38 AM ET

Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (D) said on Sunday that the lack of gun control in the United States was "insane."

"It is insane: the number of guns, and the ease of guns in America. It just doesn't fit with the other achievements of this country," Riley told CNN's Jake Tapper. "It's a small -- really small group, well-funded -- that keeps this issue from being appropriately addressed."

Riley's comments came just days after Dylann Roof, 21, allegedly shot and killed nine people at Emanuel AME church in Charleston on Wednesday. Roof apparently bought the gun used in the shooting with money he received for his birthday in April. The church held its first services since the slaying on Sunday.

Several officials, including President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, have called for action on gun control following the massacre.

But many lawmakers have expressed skepticism that tighter gun control is possible, citing Congress' failure to pass any kind of gun reform after 26 children and school officials were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

  |   June 20, 2015    3:15 PM ET

By Robin Respaut

SAN FRANCISCO, June 20 (Reuters) - Many U.S. mayors said this week's deadly church shooting in South Carolina should lead to more restrictions on gun ownership, but few believe the violence that killed nine people will propel legislators to enact stricter gun laws.

"Among ourselves, it has been coming up," said Bill Harrison, mayor of Fremont, California, during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors this weekend in San Francisco. "But how many of these events does it take to get action?"

Harrison said on Saturday the 2012 school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, where 20 children died, represented a personal turning point, but also made him skeptical about political change.

"I'm not giving up, but if Newton couldn't get people together, I don't know what will," he said.

As Wednesday night's shooting at the historic African-American church in Charleston gripped the country, prosecutors on Friday wrapped up their case against James Holmes, on trial for killing 12 and wounding 70 in a shooting rampage in a movie theater in 2012.

That violence, followed by the Newton shooting, inspired activism and a push from President Barack Obama for gun control measures that subsequently fizzled.

Guns are chiefly regulated at the state and federal level, with possession protected by the U.S. Constitution, and local governments have limited authority.

"Our state has made some steps forward but what we do on the ground is with our policing power and our close relationship with the community," New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio said on CNN on Saturday.

"Every time you turn around in this city and there's gun violence, that gun came from a state where it was just easy, just plain easy, to get a gun and send it up the East Coast to New York City. We need national legislation to change this."

The bipartisan group Mayors Against Illegal Guns expects high attendance at its meeting during the mayors' convention, with every state represented, said Mayor James Diossa of Central Falls, Rhode Island on Saturday.

"This happens every time there is a situation: gun control comes to the front burner. But the problem is the political will is lacking." said Mayor Mary Casillas Salas of Chula Vista, California. "It's a problem with the state legislature."

Obama on Friday told the conference he does not expect Congress to enact new gun laws soon.

For Jesus Ruiz, mayor of Socorro, Texas, gun control is a federal issue split along party lines.

"With the Republicans controlling Congress, we are limited," he said. (Reporting by Robin Respaut; Additional reporting and writing by Lisa Lambert in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)

By ALAN FRAM   |   June 20, 2015    2:44 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — This week's slaughter of nine people in a South Carolina church left prospects that Congress will curb guns right where they've been for years — remote for now, according to lawmakers and activists on both sides of the issue.

Conceding that congressional action was unlikely soon, President Barack Obama said lawmakers will tighten federal firearms restrictions when they believe the public is demanding it.

"I am not resigned," Obama told the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco on Friday. "I have faith we will eventually do the right thing."

Others said there was little evidence that Wednesday's killing of nine black parishioners by the white alleged gunman, Dylann Storm Roof, would make congressional action more likely, considering recent history.

"I'm skeptical it's going to change peoples' minds who weren't converted by Newtown," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. Murphy was part of the Senate's failed efforts to strengthen background checks following the 2012 massacre of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

If anything, the odds of congressional action seem slimmer with both the House and Senate dominated by Republicans, who traditionally have been less sympathetic to curbs on gun ownership. When the Senate rejected firearms constraints in 2013 prompted by Newtown, the chamber was led by Democrats.

"He couldn't get it going after Sandy Hook with Democratic control" of the Senate, Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, a gun rights group, said about Obama. "He won't get it going with Republican control."

Investigators were just starting to gather facts about Wednesday's shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof, 21, faced nine counts of murder, and the Justice Department said it was investigating whether to classify the attack as a hate crime or even domestic terrorism.

"The question remains how we keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them without violating the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "There's ample time to learn more about what happened and debate ways to prevent these kinds of senseless acts."

Murphy and others blamed the potency of the National Rifle Association for Congress' unwillingness to restrict firearms.

"Congress has failed to act because it's filled with too many lapdogs for the gun lobby," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam would not address whether the Charleston shootings would change lawmakers' attitudes, saying, "As the NRA has done for decades, we will not comment until all the facts are known."

In 2013, the Senate's bipartisan attempt to require background checks of all firearms purchasers at gun shows and on the Internet failed by a 54-46 vote. That was six short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster against the bill.

A similar measure never reached the floor of the GOP-controlled House.

"I'd like to say these shootings in Charleston will be a turning point, enough for Congress to fight back against the gun lobby and take some serious action about gun laws. But I don't want to be naive," said Chelsea Parsons, who oversees gun policy for the liberal Center for American Progress.

Donald Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said McConnell had spoken twice Thursday on the Senate floor about Charleston but mentioned no legislation. Kevin Smith, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.

A check of the Congressional Record shows that while several legislators took to the House and Senate floors Thursday to express their sadness over the nine deaths in South Carolina and offer condolences, none called for federal legislation curbing firearms. The word "gun" was spoken seven times while "background checks," ''gun control" and "firearms" were not uttered at all.

Congress was not in session Friday.

Meaningful Gun Control Will Never Happen in the U.S.

  |   June 20, 2015    9:30 AM ET

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I Hate Him

David Katz, M.D.   |   June 19, 2015    1:21 PM ET

Views on god and religion vary widely, of course. My own views are likely rather transparent to those who pass this way routinely, but are immaterial either way. We may, I trust, agree -- whether we endorse a god of personal attachment, a god detached and dispersed to the far corners of the cosmos, or no god at all -- that preacher and parishioners in that church in South Carolina were worshiping principles of love and solidarity, not divisiveness and hate. Perhaps the godliness of those ideals is sufficient to make us all members of that congregation, whatever the deity, or want of same, to whom they attach.

The particular deity for that particular congregation is, of course, Jesus. Jesus taught love and mercy, compassion and connection. Famously, he renounced his perennially ill-tempered father's inclination to poke out eyes in retribution for eyes poked out, and instead- to turn the other cheek.

Reflecting on that, I hate the fact that I'm thinking surely even Jesus would by now have run out of unbloodied cheeks to turn. Surely even a wellspring of forgiveness would at some point be unwilling to forgive. What becomes of us all when every cheek is already battered?

My thoughts are drawn to that congregation, of which I pledge myself a member in ways I think matter most. I find myself drawn to those grieving families and feel the weight of their loss and pain. I hope that even this unimportant expression of our human bond and common burden lightens the load some trivial bit. I feel, fleetingly, love.

But then my thoughts turn to hate. I hate the disgraceful excuse for a human being who perpetrated this crime. I hate those who raised within his hateful soul those hateful inclinations.

I hate him, and nothing that can happen to him now is as bad as he deserves. Nothing is bad enough to satisfy.

I worry that this primacy of hate over love means he and his kind have won something. I worry that my unwillingness to find forgiveness means I am surrendering something. I worry that for evil to prevail in the world it may be enough for bad people to make good people hate.

If so, the better destiny of the world must depend on people far better than I. Because I was far away, and uninvolved, and unbloodied. And yet I was there -- and I hate him.


David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP

Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center; Griffin Hospital
President, American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Editor-in-Chief, Childhood Obesity

Founder, The True Health Coalition

Follow at: LinkedIN; Twitter; Facebook
Read at: INfluencer Blog; Huffington Post; US News & World Report;
Author: Disease Proof

Daniel Marans   |   June 19, 2015   12:34 PM ET

Gun activists have said allowing guns in church could have stopped Wednesday's killings at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, and they wasted no time blaming murdered pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pinckney (D).

In a post on gun activist website, National Rifle Association board member Charles L. Cotton argued that Pinckney was responsible for the deaths of the eight church members who died alongside him because he did not support legislative proposals that would have allowed concealed carry in churches. Cotton wrote that the victims “might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns.”


As a state senator, Pinckney had opposed a 2011 bill that would have legalized concealed carry in churches. The bill ultimately failed in the legislature.

Bryan Fischer, a conservative talk-radio host also called for concealed carry in churches in tweets Thursday, but he stopped short of blaming Pinckney.

Fischer also tauntingly used the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

South Carolina is a “shall issue” state, meaning that state law enforcement officials must issue concealed-carry permits to residents who pass a background check and fingerprint review, as well as successfully complete a handgun education course. It does not allow concealed carry in churches or other houses of worship. However, people may bring concealed-carry weapons to churches if they receive “express permission” from church leaders.

The NRA has yet to officially respond to the Charleston church massacre. It typically does not comment on mass shootings.

Facing mounting public pressure to respond to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the NRA called for armed guards at schools.

There is no evidence that the presence of civilians with guns limits or prevents mass shootings. A 2012 Mother Jones investigation revealed that none of the 62 mass shootings in the previous 30 years were stopped by a civilian with a gun.

Language has been added to clarify the requirements under South Carolina law for receiving a concealed-carry permit.

FOX Morning Show Needs to Go... Forever! Pastor's Packing Guns?

Steve McSwain   |   June 18, 2015    5:37 PM ET

I would never have guessed I'd be doing this: posting a reaction to Fox's Morning Show Hosts.

But, frankly, I can't help it.

Really? This is what it comes down to now? Pastors arming themselves with handguns in churches across this land?

Oh, for God's sake.

I seem to be having many "Oh, for God's sakes" reactions these days.

I've heard stupid things in my life. This ranks right up there among some of the stupid...est things I've EVER heard.

Two things here...

1. First of all, we do not know the facts yet about why this delusional, misguided young man decided to take up a firearm, enter the church, sit for some time, and then begin firing a weapon, killing innocent souls.

So, shouldn't we hesitate to jump to conclusions, as these morning show hosts do here?

They call it an "attack on faith." Is it? I don't know. I'm pretty sure nobody knows.

My own guess is, it is not. But I do not know this, maybe it is. This network seems convinced, however, as it has reported on other stories in a similar fashion, creating this myth that there is a widespread attack on faith in this country.

Really? I think not.

There is a widespread departure from faith. Scores who are leaving the Church and so it is true the Church and church leaders might feel as if they are under attack.

But a "real" attack?

I don't think so.

Christians persecuted in America? Give me a break.

I do not deny there are Christians in some places on the planet who suffer from real attacks and some are even killed, as we have seen ISIS engaging in real attacks and reported in the news over the last couple of years.

But an attack on faith in America? I think not.

Admittedly, we might learn this young man did in fact hate Christians or the Christian faith and, as a consequence, plotted to take the lives of as many as he could. I do not deny this possibility. My guess is, however, this will turn out to be race related. Now, that IS a problem in this country still, even after all these years.

But, in either instance, we do not know. My advice to these misguided television hosts, and to all of us, is that we reserve judgment until we know the facts.

2. Which leads me to my second concern. Pastor's arming themselves? Clearly, these unwise souls hosting this morning show think ministers ought to pack power to protect their flock.

Really? I don't think so.

If you do not yet know why I so seldom watch Fox News -- not that it really matters to anybody -- but this is clearly the reason why. I'm not too thrilled in fact with anything "journalistic" in the U.S. any longer and journalism was one of my principal studies in college.

I can remember feeling admiration for news reporters, as well as morning show hosts on major networks, not because they were perfect, but because they were mostly responsible. They attempted to display some measure of intelligence... even if they were not... they exercised caution at jumping to conclusions when stories broke across the world... and, generally speaking, they were persons of class, dignity, respect, and admiration.

I cannot say that about any of these broadcasters. They display no level of intelligence at all. Furthermore, they are completely irresponsible, misguided, and clearly unwise broadcasters. I don't care if they are "just morning show hosts" auditioning for ratings. They present themselves as spokespersons and intelligent-thinking people...

And, clearly, they're neither.

They certainly have no class... no wisdom... and no sense.

And, no, ministers don't need to pack. Ministers would do better to pray.

More Rage Shootings Occurred In The Last Decade

John A. Tures   |   June 18, 2015    3:48 PM ET

At the end of the spring semester, my students had a Skype session with students from North Ireland, to talk about each other's politics in their country. "Do you have any questions for our students?" the moderator, our former mayor, asked of our North Ireland guests.

"Are any of ye armed?" came the reply.

Follow-up questions about the number of shootings that occur in America continued. It echoed a time three years earlier, when I attended an international conference on terrorism in England. The organizer paused at the beginning so all of the delegates from more than two dozen countries could express their condolences to the Americans present, especially a professor from the University of Denver, because the night before was when the tragic shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado occurred.

Now, as the Charleston, South Carolina church killings occurred, people are accurately depicting what the killing was: a hate crime, and part of an element of domestic terrorism. Whether it's a lone wolf or an organized group matters little to the victims.

Are these types of rampage shootings on the rise, or does it just seem that way?

To determine this, I analyzed cases where five or more individuals were killed by gunfire in a narrow time frame. I did not mention the shooters in this column, because none of them really deserve to have their name mentioned again, as attention seeking is a partial motivation.

From 1983 to 1993, there were five such shootings, occurring at a McDonald's near San Diego, California in 1984, a postal station in Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986, a family massacre at Russellville, Arkansas in 1987, killings in Jacksonville, Florida and the tragic killings at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.

Between 1994 and 2004, the time when there were restrictions on certain types of guns, and more powers for law enforcement, there were two spree shootings: the killings at Columbine High School, and a day trader engaged in workplace violence at an Atlanta, Georgia suburb.

From 2005 to 2015, there were 10 such violent killings by a shooter. Such places of tragedy include Virginia Tech in 2007, Binghamton, New York in 2009, as well as a series of locations in Alabama in that same year, the Ft. Hood, Texas shootings of 2009, the killing of people at Rep. Gabby Giffords' campaign event in 2011, the hate crime killings at Oak Creek in Wisconsin in 2012, the Aurora Movie Theater massacre in 2012, the Newtown School shootings at Sandy Hook in 2012, the Washington, D.C. Navy Yards killings in 2013, and now the Emanuel AME church carnage yesterday evening. It supports what's been found by the Journalists Foundation.


While a majority of gun owners do not favor a return to an assault weapons ban, 60 percent favor having a federal database to track gun sales, while 85 percent prefer background checks for private and gun show sales, and 90 percent want laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns. Clearly, there's more support for restricting dangerous people from getting such guns. This is according to a Pew Research Center survey. Maybe it is a good time to enact legislation that even a majority of gun owners want.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at

The Question That Could Save Your Child's Life

Claire McCarthy, M.D.   |   June 18, 2015   11:12 AM ET

This Sunday, June 21st, isn't just Father's Day. It's National Ask Day -- a day to pledge to always ask a question that could save your child's life:

Is there an unlocked gun where my child plays?

Here are a few scary facts:

  • 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, many left unlocked and loaded
  • 3 in 4 kids ages 5-14 know where firearms are stored in the home
  • 80 percent of unintentional firearm deaths of kids happen in a home

This isn't about gun rights. This is about simple safety.

When your child goes to play at someone's house, you should ask, "Is there a gun at your house?"

If the answer is yes, ask how it is stored. To be most safe, the gun should be locked up, unloaded, with the ammunition locked separately. If that's how the family stores their guns, you're good. If it's not, well, maybe it might be better to play elsewhere.

Kids are unpredictable - -and don't always make the safest decisions. There's nothing we can do to change that -- but we can help to make the places they play safe for them.

I get that it could feel a little bit awkward. But hey, as this video below points out, parenthood is full of awkward moments. Saving a life seems worth managing an awkward moment.

So if you don't ask already, celebrate Father's Day by pledging to ask. Always.

What a Public Health Approach to Gun Violence Would Look Like

Sean Palfrey MD   |   June 17, 2015    1:21 PM ET

Guns are this country's second most deadly preventable public health menace (second only to car accidents). Firearm injuries and death have caused untold suffering, pain and death in the U.S. We have the democratic and political means to eliminate gun violence, and, based on supremely effective, well-established methods, we can. It is time that our country took the necessary steps.

Using centuries-old techniques to improve health outcomes, physicians and health professionals have lowered the rates of many deadly infectious diseases by instituting careful, data-driven, broadly-instituted approaches like hand-washing, universal vaccination, and food and drug quality laws. Some illnesses which have killed billions of people and changed the course of wars, like smallpox, have been completely eliminated. Similarly, automobile injuries have been vastly decreased by the use of seatbelts, falls from windows decreased by the use of window guards, lower lung cancer rates by regulations on smoking and taxation of tobacco products.

We need to consider firearms and bullets as pathogens, similar to the smallpox virus and its disease, smallpox. Gun injuries fall into three categories, intentional (criminal), accidental, and self-inflicted. All are at intolerable levels in this country, vastly higher than those in any other economically advanced country in the world. All are preventable through steps which parallel the medical advances mentioned above, but it will take a serious, nation-wide program to eliminate injuries from firearms and ammunition.

This could be started in a stepwise, local, data-driven, democratic process, led by those communities that are most pro-active. In medicine, we use tools called SCAMPS ("Standardized Clinical Assessment and Management Plans") which treat groups of people, like those living in communities across the country, and through a process of stepwise interventions, evaluation of results, and successive changes in the details of approach, create impressive improvements in outcome.

Using a similar approach for gun violence, communities around this country could vote to establish site-specific, enforceable local ordinances, such as firearm-free blocks, zip-codes, towns or cities. If, after a year, for instance, the firearm-related injuries and deaths dropped, other regions could be incorporated, through the electoral process, to institute similar ordinances. In order to gather accurate data, all health departments, through their police, physicians, ambulances and emergency rooms, would be required to gather and publicize such information. Communities could choose the strictness of their bans and the size and description of their zones, but a continuous voting cycle, informed by the data collected, would be scheduled yearly or whatever was chosen. Through this process, if one method of decreasing gun-related violence was shown to be superior to others, the zones would steadily increase in size and new techniques could be tried and added.

Such a consistent, progressive process has shown itself powerful enough to eliminate worldwide plagues and pestilence, and it can work to eliminate firearm violence. But it has to be instituted on a large enough scale to work. There are many communities in this country that are devastated, having lost children or other family members from gun-violence. If only one household chooses to ban guns, but their neighbors do not, or the community does not enforce the ban, no progress is made. This method works when put in place and enforced on a continuous, ever-enlarging community-wide basis.

Some gun owners believe that local gun bans would place their non-gun-carrying members at greater risk. The only way to know is to study it this way. Current gun-owners would be allowed to keep their guns in gun shops, armories, or police stations for use in agreed-upon areas outside of the gun-free zones. A community could vote to try variations on any theme they felt worth studying, such as keeping guns locked in homes with no ammunition in a community, or keeping only guns with personally identified triggering mechanisms, but the goal is to steadily apply all approaches that decreased the rate of gun violence. In this way, public health can react to gun violence not by attaching itself to general, society-wide legislative responses, but through instituting and managing a public health strategy itself.

Which Illinois Counties Have the Most Concealed Carry Permits?

Reboot Illinois   |   June 16, 2015    2:55 PM ET

Illinois became the last state in the union to legalized the carrying of concealed weapons nearly two years ago. The Illinois State Police began issuing concealed carry licenses to residents in the spring of 2014.

The Illinois State Police provided Reboot Illinois with the latest statistics on the number of concealed carry licenses that have been issued by county, including the number of active, denied, suspended and revoked licenses. As of June 6, 2015, there were a total of 113,732 active concealed carry licenses.

Here's a look at which counties have the most concealed carry license holders per 1,000 people, along with the total number of active, denied, revoked and suspended licenses.

Here are 10 counties with some of the most concealed carry licenses per 1,000:

25. Marion County - 16.85

  • Active - 650
  • Denied - 0
  • Revoked - 1
  • Suspended - 0

24. Crawford County - 17.33

  • Active - 336
  • Denied - 2
  • Revoked - 0
  • Suspended - 1

23. Douglas County - 17.35

  • Active - 345
  • Denied - 2
  • Revoked - 2
  • Suspended - 1

22. Tazewell County - 17.41

  • Active - 2,363
  • Denied - 11
  • Revoked - 7
  • Suspended - 1

21. Grundy County - 17.45

  • Active - 880
  • Denied - 9
  • Revoked - 0
  • Suspended - 0

20. Alexander County - 17.62

  • Active - 132
  • Denied - 0
  • Revoked - 0
  • Suspended - 0

19. Woodford County - 18.60

  • Active - 729
  • Denied - 2
  • Revoked - 1
  • Suspended - 1

18. Wabash County - 18.62

  • Active - 215
  • Denied - 0
  • Revoked - 0
  • Suspended - 0

17. Franklin County - 18.88

  • Active - 744
  • Denied - 2
  • Revoked - 0
  • Suspended - 0

16. Clark County - 19.16

  • Active - 310
  • Denied - 4
  • Revoked - 0
  • Suspended - 0

Check out Reboot Illinois to see which 15 counties have the most licenses and which 25 counties have the fewest concealed carry licenses per 1,000 people.

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Why Gun Manufacturers Are in Serious Financial Trouble

John A. Tures   |   June 16, 2015   11:39 AM ET

If gun sales are supposedly "red hot," why are gun manufacturers struggling, even filing for bankruptcy? The answers include a gun glut and long-term trends in gun ownership in America.

There's a continuous media mantra that gun sales are going through the roof. Well, they may have had a little boomlet after the 2012 Newtown shootings. But with Colt filing for bankruptcy, and other gun manufacturers reporting huge declines in sales and falling stock, it's clear that Americans aren't going as gun crazy as people think.

On June 15, Political Scientist Robert Spitzer of SUNY Cortland wrote the column "Why assault rifle sales are booming." It wasn't a pro-gun essay. He used arguments such as fears of Obama, the temptation of "forbidden fruit" and even the old Freudian "male sexuality" pleasure of firing a gun.


I became a little suspicious when Spitzer didn't report or cite any statistics on the subject. I became a little more suspicious when I read the next day that Colt, the well-known gun manufacturer, is filing for bankruptcy, reporting losses of $500 million, equal to the value of all the company's assets. And the company had to get an emergency loan from Morgan Stanley last year, so this isn't just a 2015 thing.

Foreign Policy Magazine tried to pass this off as soldiers and cops not liking Colt guns. That may be the case, but "declining demand" was cited as another reason for Colt's woes.

And it's not just Colt that's going down the drain. Sturm, Ruger's sales are dropping dramatically. So are Smith & Wesson's (number two in the industry), which has falling sales which are leading to dropping stock prices. It's a similar story for gun stores, as one Georgia business reported difficulties with even giving an AR away.

What happened? In all cases, that short-lived spike in gun sales from the post-Newtown era was to blame. Gun companies kept producing and producing, while retailers mortgaged their future to meet a demand that, quite frankly, was not really a permanent feature of the landscape. And folks may be switching to handguns and preferences for concealed carry permits.

Of course, there are still background checks going on. But don't mistake that number for more households owning guns. In fact, as I showed earlier this year, the number of households owning a gun is far less than what it was in 1974.

Now there are some folks that are stockpiling all kinds of guns. After discussing this column with a colleague, he proceeded to show me pics of his eight guns. "Just got three more this week," he told me. And you can do that. In fact, with this massive gun glut, it's like Christmas for the gun collector (like this colleague). Preppers can get a little more prepped these days.

Yet, folks are starting to realize that Barack Obama is not going to organize Jade Helm 15 to lock all conservatives in FEMA Death Camps in the basement of Wal-Marts or in the Michigan or Arkansas countryside (and yes, I've received those emails too). Assault weapons are not about to be eliminated across this country. But gun manufacturers will have a lot to be concerned about because the firearms issue isn't just an ideology. It is, after all, a business as well.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at