By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — In two weeks, nearly 22,000 Illinois residents have applied online for a permit to carry a gun, according to the State Police.
About 61,000 have selected an insurance plan through the state’s Obamacare website, according to numbers from the state.
In three months.
Of the 21,794 people who have applied for a permit to carry a gun, police have deemed 1,600 invalid or incomplete.
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said when considering Illinois has been promoting Obamacare for years, and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to do so, the numbers — 61,111 — seem even more outrageous.
“These (gun owners) are individuals who have taken the time on their own to get the training, to get all that’s required to get a license,” Syverson said. “Without any government assistance, without spending money, without encouragement from the government to get people to sign up.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services disclosed the Obamacare numbers Monday, but the agency did not say how many people in the state have bought health insurance, nor did HHS expound on demographics.
Syverson said most of the people in Illinois signing up for Obamacare are refugees from the state’s high-risk insurance pool.
“At least 75 percent of these people are individuals that already had insurance. They are just switching to a different plan,” Syverson told Illinois Watchdog. “So the number of uninsured people that have signed up really is probably closer to 10,000 to 15,000.”
The Illinois State Police expect as many as 400,000 people to apply for gun permits. If the pace continues, Illinois will see 240,000 applications in just three months.
The only way Obamacare can get close to those kind of numbers is factoring in the state’s massive explosion in Illinois’ Medicaid population.
Mike Claffey, Illinois’ health-care spokesman, said Illinois has enrolled 136,000 people into Medicaid since Obamacare launched in October. That includes 70,000 people from a pilot program in 2013.
State Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign, says there are reasons concealed-carry is far more popular in Illinois than Obamacare.
“You see a stark difference throughout my community, where folks are resistant to give up rights through Obamacare. You’re not going to have the freedom to select your care provider, you’re not going to have the freedom to select your insurance plan,” Brown said. “Of course, with concealed carry you’re protecting those liberties that our Founding Fathers fought and died for.”
You can contact Benjamin Yount at Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find him on Twitter @BenYount.