The Case for Concealed Carry
From the mouths of babes...

By Alex Lutzow
, a High School Freshman

Downtown Chicago; A random 5' 3" 115 pound women is walking to her apartment. She is carrying her paycheck she just cashed at the bank. Behind her, a man 6' 3" 250 pounds follows. He jumps her. She struggles to get away, hits him in the face and sprints. However, he is too fast. This time he catches her, slits her throat, and takes her money.

Same woman, same man - downtown Houston. Once again he jumps her, she hits him and scrambles away. This time she turns around and brandishes a pistol from her purse. The man, undeterred, comes forward and she shoots him in the leg, runs home, and calls the police. A life has been saved.

Concealed carry is a necessity for keeping the public safe. To improve safety within our union, one of two things must happen: Congress must pass a bill making concealed carry legal in all states, or all state legislatures (that haven't already) must pass similar bills into law.

It is necessary to remember that criminals are not fools and "when criminals suspect that the costs of committing a crime are too high they are less likely to commit it," author Sterling Burnett says. Concealed carrying of weapons must be approved in order to keep the public safe and to stop the rising rates of violent crime.

Not only are people who carry guns protected by concealed carry laws, there are certain passive bonuses to those who don't carry guns because criminals suspect they might. Even if one doesn’t carry a gun but his or her neighbor does, they are still more protected than if guns were banned altogether.

These bonuses are especially evident in women who, for every one woman who carries a gun, murder rates among women falls three to four times according to author John Lott. These rates are not surprising. Women generally benefit more from having concealed weapons because they are more often the targets of crimes, and their ability to carry a gun has a large impact on how well she can defend herself against an attack. Blacks also had large benefits from gun carrying laws because in their higher population areas this prevents criminals from being the only ones who possessed guns.

Allowing concealed weapons to be held by law-abiding citizens will not increase a criminal's ability to posses an illegal firearm. All legal carriers must have a clean criminal record in order to receive a concealed carry permit.

In fact, author Sterling Burnett says "Licensees are found to be more law-abiding than the average person." This is important because those who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon do not intend to use it to commit a crime.

Criminals do not bother to get licenses, they merely buy a stolen gun off the black market. Without concealed carry laws they are armed, and the public is not. In a 1998 Times-Canada article, Romesth Ratnesar cited studies confirming that in states that approved concealed carry from 1977 to 1992, murders fell 8%, rapes 5% and aggravated assaults 7%, while at the same time in the rest of the country murders rose 24%, rapes 71 % and aggravated assaults more than 100% increase.

This shows that while the United States was having trouble with crime, some states that passed concealed carry laws actually had lowered rates in crime.

Not everyone should carry a gun, however. Some people may not be psychologically prepared for gun use. A gun carrier must be prepared to use the gun with lethal force, if necessary. If it is drawn without intent to use it, a gun can become dangerous to its user.

In the United States, Ratnesar says, guns "were used defensively about 2.5 million time a year . . . only 5% of cases were defenders harmed after they had brandished their gun." This 5% of people were usually unwilling to use their gun and were subsequently hurt because the criminal used force against them.

The police also believe in the concealed carry concept. In November 2001 out of 23,113 chief and sheriffs surveyed nationally, 62 percent said that they agreed that a national concealed handgun permit would reduce rates of violent crime. Also, the same study indicated that ". . . 93 % of the commanding officers believe law-abiding citizens should be able to purchaser a firearm for sport or self-defense."

The police are the people we trust to keep security within our communities and what they are saying is that Americans who obey laws should be able to posses firearms. One thing that must not be taken for granted is our government's respectable intelligence so far in the gun control situation. Many other countries have foolishly passed laws making guns illegal or nearly illegal. In fact, Lott writes, "The three worst public shootings in the western world during the past year [2002] all occurred in Europe… all three occurred in gun-free "safe zones."

What are gun control activists thinking? They propose that we make laws like those in Europe that have done nothing to decrease the prevalence of violence.

In 1996, Great Britain banned handguns which caused a tremor of thought throughout the United States that we should do the same. However, this caused great problems within the country. Lott writes that this was a ludicrous ban that forced "shooters training for the Olympics to travel to other countries to practice. In the six years since the ban, gun crimes have risen an astounding 40%."

How could an increase in gun crimes be beneficial to the public? Australia passed similar laws in 1996 making it illegal to use a gun defensively. Four years later, armed robberies had risen 37%, assaults 24%, kidnappings 43%, and manslaughter 16%. Once again the pattern continues guns are taken away and crimes increase. These two countries were once thought to be good places for gun bans because they are surrounded by water making smuggling difficult.

The former Soviet Union now is releasing some of the most fascinating evidence for pro-concealed carry advocates. The police state in Russia had a ban on guns that started after the communist revolution, but from 1976-1985 the Soviet Union's homicide rate was somewhere between 21%-41% higher than the United State's during those years.

Critics of concealed carry such as the VPC (Violence Policy Center) who believe in a total ban on handgun ownership, have tried to used police reports on those who carry concealed weapons in Texas such as that they had committed two crimes a day and one+ arrest a month for violent offenses.

These statistics are however, misconstrued. Burnett writes, "First they do not separate crime that involve concealed weapons from those that don't. In addition.… more than 55% of licensees arrested for violent crime are cleared of the crime for which they are arrested."

The VPC is tragically trying to use manipulated numbers to accomplish their goals, because they are a desperate organization working for a cause without any real proof. Moreover public safety cannot be confused with gun control because " The U.S. has shown that making guns more available is actually a better formula for law and order" (Lott).

The U.S. Constitution says, ". . . [T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

For over 200 years this has been a critical part of our laws of the land. Why now in the 21st century do people want to change what has worked for so long? If it's not broken don’t fix it, and firearms are definitely not a broken cause. Americans need weapons as much now as they ever have, maybe even more. With crime rates rising throughout the country, and public safety ever deteriorating, aren't Americans entitled to possess firearms wherever they go?

There are 33 states within the union that allow concealed carry for citizens. This is important for safety because, 96% of sheriffs and police chiefs surveyed believe that criminals can still obtain any type of firearm illegally.

Allowing responsible Americans to own and carry concealed weapons is essential to the future of the United States. The public itself is the public's 1st defense. Aware Americans are this country's most valuable asset in the war against crime.

The police are only so powerful, and they cannot be in every place at every time. Americans need to be responsible and be allowed to carry guns. This is not only for the gun owner's safety, but for the safety of everyone around him or her.

Criminals will continue to commit crimes, because they know the consequences of their actions will not equal the atrocities of their acts. If citizens cannot carry weapons, they will continue to commit violent acts. But if they know that every American is a potential carrier, will they feel the same security when committing a crime?

The only answer to this rash of violence that America is fighting is to arm the public, so they have a fighting chance.

June 03, 2003

Alex Lutzow freshman at Crystal Lake (IL) Central High School

Related Links: Source:Illinois Leader

The Federal Observer


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