According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, nearly 9-million Americans became gun owners in 2020, and Diana Hardesty is one of them. The Illinois resident decided to embrace her right to keep and bear arms after she and a friend were held up at gunpoint in the parking lot of their local Walmart this past Sunday. Even though she was unarmed at the time, Hardesty refused to be a victim.
“I turned and started screaming like a crazy person—bloody murder—screaming, ‘Help! He’s got a gun!’ Screaming with everything my lungs had,” said Diana Hardesty.
Hardesty and Mattie Talbot were loading their car when a man jumped out of the passenger side of a dark-colored SUV, displayed a gun, and demanded a purse.
“I wasn’t going to give my purse with my personal information in it,” Hardesty said. “And I knew when I turned around there was going to be a good chance he was going to shoot me in the back. But that’s just what he was going to have to do.”
The would-be robber didn’t shoot Hardesty. Instead he jammed his gun into Mattie Talbot’s side and demanded her purse. After Talbot frantically explained that she didn’t have one on her, the frustrated suspect got back in his car and sped away empty-handed.
While Hardesty survived her encounter with an armed criminal, she’s not taking any chances if there’s a next time.
Sunday afternoon’s incident has also led to Diana protecting herself in a new way.
“I got me a gun and the next thug that approaches me, I’m going to use him as target practice,” she said. “And I’m going to practice until I can shoot a bullet through a keyhole.”
Good for her, though I have to say I’m a little curious about the ease with which Hardesty has acquired a firearm in Illinois. This incident happened last Sunday, and Hardesty says she’s already got her gun. Did she possess a Firearms Owner ID card before the attempted robbery, because if not there’s no way that the Illinois State Police has already processed her application. As of a couple of weeks ago the ISP had a backlog of about 140,000 FOID applications and renewals, and some applicants have been waiting for five or six months to receive their permission slip to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
The delays are almost as long for concealed carry applications, and that’s a huge problem for law abiding Illinois residents. Criminals, on the other hand, are likely pleased with the delays, since that improves their odds of encountering an armed citizen.
Law-abiding citizens, on the other hand, are being forced to wait for months on end before receiving the FOID card required under state law to own a firearm and the carry license needed to bear arms. I don’t know Diane Hardesty’s specific circumstances, but I do know that Illinois’ gun control laws and the inability or unwillingness of the state police to process FOID and carry license applications in a timely manner have left tens of thousands of residents across the state unable to exercise their right of armed self-defense, even as criminals grow emboldened enough to try to rob a couple of women in a busy parking lot.
The Illinois State Rifle Association is seeking an injunction compelling the state police to process these applications in a timely manner, but a hearing on the issue has been pushed back until mid-January. In the meantime, the delays are likely to grow even longer, and good folks like Diane Hardesty may find their ability to protect themselves in public and in home curtailed thanks to the inaction and delays by the state police.