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Poll: 52 percent feel “less safe” after concealed carry, but gun control positions softening

Monday, Mar 10, 2014

* From the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s latest poll

Now that Illinois has passed a law allowing registered trained citizens to carry loaded handguns in public, do you feel more safe or less safe?

More safe 31.8%

Less safe 52.3%

Neither/about the same (VOL) 12.9%

Other/Don’t know 3.0%

* From the Institute

Voters in the Chicago suburbs responded similarly to the statewide average, with 54.6 percent saying they felt less safe. Those in the City of Chicago were much more likely to say they felt less safe (64.5 percent). In downstate Illinois, opinion was evenly split, with 41.9 percent saying they felt more safe and 40.5 percent saying they felt less safe.

* The following results compare 2013 answers (first result) to the 2014 poll

Gun Rights vs. Gun Control
What do you think is more important? Protecting the right to own guns, or controlling gun ownership?

Response 2013 2014

Protecting the right to own guns 31.3% 41.5%

Controlling ownership 59.5% 53.0%

Other/Don’t know 9.2% 5.6%

Exceptions to Concealed Carry
Do you believe there should be exceptions to allowing concealed weapons in public places—excluding them from such places as schools, college campuses, shopping malls, and movie theaters?

Response 2013 2014

Yes 71.3% 56.7%

No 20.7% 35.7%

Other/Don’t know 8.0% 7.6%

Armed Guards in Schools
Do you favor or oppose putting more armed guards or police in schools?

Response 2013 2014

Favor 46.3% 53.1%

Oppose 44.8% 38.3%

Other/Don’t know 8.8% 8.6%

* Methodology

The 2014 Simon Poll interviewed 1,001 registered voters across Illinois. It has a margin for error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. This means that if we were to conduct the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances the results would vary by no more than plus or minus 3.5 percentage points from the results obtained here. The margin for error will be larger for demographic, geographic and response subgroups.

Live telephone interviews were conducted by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas. Cell phone interviews accounted for 30 percent of the sample. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were made available. Customer Research International reports no Illinois political clients. The survey was paid for with non-tax dollars from the Institute’s endowment fund.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    How many people are going to feel obligated to get concealed carry to protect themselves against the many wackos who have gotten concealed carry. There are stories from other states that this MAD increases the number of guns in circulation, which satisfies the goal of the NRA carrying water for the gun manufacturers!

  2. - John Boch - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    Some have said that fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all. It’s powerful and it’s real. We’ve all felt it.

    Residents in Illinois have been conditioned for generations that the only people who have guns in public are cops and bad guys.

    With this new law, we’re introducing Prairie State residents to an entirely new cohort of public gun carriers… carry license holders or good guy civilians with guns.

    To those who feel anxiety towards the possibility that the guy behind you in line at the store is a pistol-packing good guy: Relax. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. You’re at least as safe today as you were a month ago - and probably safer.

    Those licensed, card-carrying good guys have been checked out by local, county and state police, have no significant mental health or criminal issues, and are far more law-abiding on average than our state’s past few governors.

    Bad guys, on the other hand, have good cause to feel “less safe” about good guys carrying guns in public. Bad guys’ “jobs” being bullies in our society just got a good deal more dangerous and risky.


  3. - John Boch - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    D.P.Gumby: “the many wackos who have gotten concealed carry.”

    Name one, sir, if you would be so kind.


  4. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    Interesting, especially the fairly significant shift in just one year … but I’m not sure how representative it is. Suspect it may be unintentionally skewed some. Be nice to know the number of calls that were made that were not answered or that refused to participate; most the gun owners I know (admittedly downstate) don’t answer surveys.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    I felt safe without conceal carry, and I feel safe with it, although I don’t carry, as long as its off public transportation, out of schools and public buildings and private businesses can bar carry.

  6. - MrJM - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    “How many people are going to feel obligated to get concealed carry to protect themselves against the many wackos who have gotten concealed carry.”

    I might if it were less expensive.

    – MrJM

  7. - Will Caskey - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    The people in my immediate vicinity who wanted a gun already had one. Conceal-carry fans to not generally live on the northwest side of Chicago.

    I am indifferent to this law in terms of my and my family’s safety.

    I am fairly annoyed at the no-gun stickers though. Like, thanks ILGA. That’s a nice touch when I take my toddler to his park classes.

  8. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Not every civilian authorized to carry is a good guy.

  9. - Walker - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Feel safer now, if “I’m” carrying.

    Feel less safe if “they’re” carrying.

    Human nature. “I’m” never the problem.

  10. - John A Logan - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    This is one of the few issues that conservatives have been able to win. Why? The facts don’t equal the reality pushed by the anti concealed carry crowd.

  11. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    “Do you feel more safe or less safe” is a stupid question. It doesn’t matter how you feel - it is your Constitutional right. The problem is making the issue sound like it is all about how one “feels”.

    “Do you feel more or less safe now that felons who has served their time in jail, are paroled?”

    “Do you feel more of less safe now that cellphones are banned from usage in cars, but drivers using blow dryers and microwaves may still use them?”

    “Do you feel more or less safe answering questions asked of you by a complete stranger?”

    We already know the answers after years of Concealed Carry usage throughout the rest of the United States of America.

    BUT - BUT Do you feel safe?

  12. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    –This is one of the few issues that conservatives have been able to win. Why?–

    Madigan pushed it over the goal line for his Downstate members.

    The “facts,” however you see them, were the same before that and it couldn’t pass.

  13. - Nieva - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    Your chance of being shot by a conceal carry owner are almost zero. Your odds on the other hand of being run over by a licensed drunk driver…

  14. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    You know the weather is really nice outside when Rich can’t get 20 comments in 2 hours on a gun issue …

  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    RNUG, you’re not seeing the comments I’m deleting.


    Actually, not many.

    But it is beautiful outside. Oscar and I are sitting outside with my laptop. :)

  16. - train111 - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Let me preface this with my story: Earlier this year I lost my step daughter to gun violence. She left two kids under the age of two, that my wife and I are presently raising.
    That being said, I do not have an opinion one way or the other on the gun issue.

    A couple of observations though:
    1.) I could give those kids a great life, if only I had a sliver, a smattering, an iota of the wads of cash that I feel (bad word I know) is needlessly flushed down the toilet on endless overblown debate over this issue.

    2.) The people who scream the loudest on both sides of the issue are usually the ones who need to “speak less” and “listen more”


  17. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Actually, as I said many times earlier, I would rather have open carry, so I know who to avoid rather than concealed.

  18. - Spiney Norman - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    In general, the human psyche is too fragile for the average Joe to be armed. You may answer all the questions and take all the tests but we all know that an even temper is a temporary state of mind. All of us have snapped and lost our cool at one point or another. If you are armed then once you draw that weapon you are just a hair trigger away from doing something extremely stupid and regrettable.

  19. - Allen - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    Funny, this poll was taken Feb 12-25 and the first concealed carry permits didn’t go out until a week ago today. How on earth could someone feel less safe!

  20. - How Ironic - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    @D.P.Gumby, “know who to avoid”. Really? Like it’s a communicable disease. So if you find out a woman in your office carries now, because her ex doesn’t respect her restraining order, the best solution is to ostracize her? Yeah, that makes sense.

  21. - Louis Howe - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    Walker….Gun death statistics are clearly higher for gun owners. Concealed carry INCREASES your chances of dying from a gun shot and for the accident prone, greatly increases.

  22. - funny guy - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Can we all agree that carrying a gun and abortion are legal and move on to solving issues that are solvable.

  23. - How Ironic - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    @Spiney Norman, find another strawman. That argument hadn’t played out at all in the other 49 states with C.C.

  24. - Spiney Norman - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    Not a strawman and I support the 2nd ammendment. I’m just saying that concealled carry is not really necessary for the masses nor can everyone be thoroughly vetted. Please google “Retired police captain Curtis Reeves”.

  25. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    The question is problematic. What you would want to do is ask a sample with the conceal carry information in it and a question without it comparing it to the time before the passage. My guess is that without the information about conceal carry in the question people would say about the same at a far higher rate.

    And I understand why the Institute did it like that–they have limited funds, but the usefulness of the question is pretty limited.

    And Allen’s point that few even have permits yet makes the other point that is important. Having lived in Missouri when it passed there, it really isn’t a big deal. I’m far more concerned about Stand Your Ground laws or something similar passing.

  26. - Mason born - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    I suspect that these numbers will drop off as people begin to realize that a post cc il is not any different than the pre cc. This is the same trajectory polls in other states have followed. At first there is the fear of the unknown, then the hype of high noon at every traffic accident, finally leading into acceptance and ambivalance.

    Would really love to see what this looks like in a few years.

  27. - How Ironic - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    @Spiney Norman, it is a strawman arguement. Surely you are not advocating restricting 2nd amdent rights based on an anecdotal story? And what makes you the “judge” of who should/should not carry. I think we should leave that individual choice to exercise the right up to the individual.

  28. - Stones - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    I’m not particularly a fan of conceal carry but it is the law. That being said, I don’t think 99.99% of gun owners who go through those classes are likely to do something that would intentionally put their conceal carry permit at risk.

  29. - D.P.Gumby - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    Oh, and John, I would cite–George Zimmerman, the guy in the movie theatre, the guy in the gas station….

  30. - How Ironic - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    @D.P. Gundy, again if you can only cite outlier anecdotal evidence, you really don’t have much to stand on. In that vein though, I’m guessing if I would post 5 or so cases where C.C. saved someone’s life you would simply accept it at face value and begin singing its praises? I thought not. You have already made up your mind, and now grasp at anything to conform to your pre determined conclusion.

  31. - Bemused - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    I fully understand that present day court rulings do not seem to agree with how I read the 2nd amendment. I still think those rights are predicated on being a part of a well regulated militia. Times change and so do courts.
    Do I feel any more or less safe, not really.

  32. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    == I think we should leave that individual choice to exercise the right up to the individual.==

    I wouldn’t leave it totally up to individuals. I think the restrictions that are in place now (felons, mentally ill, etc.) need to be kept.


    To the post . . . if anybody has ever traveled outside of Illinois they’ve been in a state with concealed carry. I’ve never felt more safe or unsafe because of it and I don’t think it is any different in Illinois. I’m not going to lose sleep over CC.

  33. - How Ironic - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    @Demoralized, point taken sorry I wasn’t more clear. Yes within the confines of the current rules, no felons, mentally ill, spouse abuses, drug abusers etc.

  34. - park - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 5:35 pm:

    I’d be with the 52%. Weird seeing all the new ‘no gun’ signs around. Up to this point, you didn’t even think of it. Went to Oak Brook Mall yesterday (I hate shopping there…too dang crowded). At the entrance to the mall facility, right off hwy 83, they have no handgun signs. Really hinky. I wonder what foreign visitors think when they see all the signs. They already think we’re cowboys.

  35. - Lazar Focusing - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 5:41 pm:

    the guy in the movie theatre, the guy in the gas station…

    But, but… Those were cops. In thought only cops should carry

  36. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 10, 14 @ 7:12 pm:

    I’m so sorry to have read about your stepdaughter’s tragedy. You are in my prayers tonight Train!

  37. - Frustrated Voter - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 7:25 am:

    I think after the permits are issued and once people realize that there is NO increase in gun violence, they will chill out and realize this isn’t so scary after all. 49 other states have had concealed carry, and there are just a few isolated incidents of gun crime from the tens of millions of citizens with c/c permits.

  38. - Researcher - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 8:14 am:

    I think an overlook aspect of these results is the fact that 65 percent of City of Chicago residents feel less safe. It would be great to see race and other demographic breakdowns.

  39. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 8:48 am:

    Meant to finish that.

    … east of i39 where they held onto decades old ideas about crime fighting and guns long past their sell-by date. Then of course spent millions and millions fighting to keep those ideas and ignoring what has happened in the rest of the country.

  40. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, Mar 11, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    Have any of you watched the Water’s World segment on O’Reilly factor? I have never seen so many people that are clueless and really don’t know what’s going on around them. I hate to use the world ignorant but…WoW! It is very sad and if these are the kind of people that they got to answer the poll it really doesn’t mean much.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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