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The case for concealed Carry
by Chris Carson, Guest Editorialist

A woman has to cross a dark parking lot every night after a hard day's work. She hears footsteps behind her and feels large arms closing tightly around her stomach as he tries to haul her away. There are two situations that can ensue from this. The first: he drags her off to his conversion van, has his way, slits her throat and deposits her body in a nearby dumpster. Or… BOOM! That's the last thing the would-be rapist hears thanks to the concealed carry permit that was issued to her, a responsible citizen who may need personal protection while walking alone.

Believe it or not, allowing people to carry concealed weapons has had some very positive effects in the states where it is legal. Florida, one of the worst states in the nation for violent crimes, saw a decrease in the crime rate after the law was enacted in 1987. A resident of Florida was 36% more likely to be killed than other Americans before the CCW permit law was passed. Afterward, the murder rate dropped to below the national rate. Some of the most fervent supporters of the CCW (concealed carrying of weapons) permit are women who have been victims of violent crimes. It is estimated that for every woman who carries a gun, the murder rate among women falls four instances.

Do guns somehow encourage people to commit violent crimes? Does the secure feeling of a .45 against your side somehow induce you to shoot the harmless Kwik-E-Mart clerk and steal all the cans of tuna? This is the primary argument against concealed-carry permits and statistics from Florida shout a resounding NO.

Between 1987 and 1995, 315,000 concealed-carry weapons permits were issued in Florida and FIVE were revoked because the permit-holder attempted a violent crime with a gun. In all states where CCW permits are issued, obtaining a permit is a drawn-out process, often including training courses and almost always a personal interview. This ENSURES that the only citizens who are allowed to "pack" are the ones who can keep a lid on their anger, and according to the numbers, it works.

A lack of guns encourages people to commit violent crimes. Such is the case in many western European countries like Great Britain, France, and Poland. In these nations (and many others), the rate of violent crimes committed with guns skyrocketed in these very gun-free, "safe zones." The violent crime rate in Great Britain alone shot up 35% in a matter of one year after Parliament passed a "gun-free" law. There is a proven correlation between an armed population and the violent crime rate: fewer guns equals more deaths. More guns means less crime. Accidents and murders are miniscule when the permit-holder is trained how to properly store and use the weapons. Law-abiding citizens do not shoot law-abiding citizens with guns issued lawfully. Law enforcement cannot be everywhere; in fact, they are few and far between in rough areas of town. Even on the street, one of the twenty people in sight may be carrying and that may make the difference in preventing a violent crime.

There is a bottom line for criminals: it's much riskier to rob someone for whatever's in his/her wallet - $50, $100 - if there's a one in fifty chance that the victim is packing. A criminal contemplating robbing a convenience store may change his mind quickly if there's even a small chance he may not come out alive.
Sure guns are bad - but ONLY in the hands criminals. A concealed-carry permit will only allow responsible, law-abiding citizens the privilege of protecting themselves and their families when law enforcement cannot be there. Criminals will always have guns; the opposition will only be armed if the legislature allows them to be.

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