Look At Who Else Is Converting, Too
Gun Owners Foundation
* Dr. Gary Kleck. A criminologist at Florida State University, Kleck began his research as a firm believer in gun control. But in a speech delivered to the National Research Council, he said while he was once "a believer in the 'anti-gun' thesis," he has now moved "beyond even the skeptic position." Dr. Kleck now says the evidence "indicates that general gun availability does not measurably increase rates of homicide, suicide, robbery, assault, rape, or burglary in the U.S."1
* James Wright. Formerly a gun control advocate, Wright received a grant from President Carter's Justice Department to study the effectiveness of gun control laws. To his surprise, he found that waiting periods, background checks, and all other gun control laws were not effective in reducing violent crime.2
Wright says at one time, "It seemed evident to me, we needed to mount a campaign to resolve the crisis of handgun proliferation." But he says, "I am now of the opinion that a compelling case for 'stricter gun control' cannot be made."3
* Every scholar who has "switched" has moved away from the anti-gun position. Dave Kopel, an expert in constitutional issues and firearms research, categorically states that, "Every scholar who has 'switched' has 'switched' to the side that is skeptical of controls. Indeed, most of the prominent academic voices who are gun control skeptics -- including law professor Sanford Levinson and criminologists Gary Kleck and James Wright -- are people who, when they began studying guns, were supporters of the gun control agenda."4
* Florida opponent of concealed carry admits the error of his ways: The state of Florida passed its concealed carry law in 1987 over vocal opposition from gun rights opponents. They claimed that once the state passed its carry law, the Sunshine State would become the Gunshine State, and that people would be shooting each other in the streets. It was a cute jingle, but it was totally false. FBI reports show that the homicide rate in Florida, which in 1987 was much higher than the national average, fell dramatically during its first 15-years in operation -- eventually putting the Florida rate below the national average.
Florida State Representative Ron Silver, who was the leading opponent of the law before it passed, graciously admitted several years later that he had been wrong. "There are lots of people, including myself," Rep. Silver said, "who thought things would be a lot worse as far as that particular situation [carry reform] is concerned. I'm happy to say they're not."5
* Texas cop becomes a convert: Texas passed a concealed carry law in 1995, and subsequently saw the state's murder rate drop 34 percent in the ensuing five years.
One of the chief opponents of the Texas law was Senior Cpl. Glenn White, who is president of the Dallas Police Association. White lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because he thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. He admits, though, "All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it's worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I'm a convert."6
Senior Cpl. White has joined the growing ranks of police officers who favor the right of citizens to carry firearms concealed. In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, almost 70 percent of the officers polled agreed that "a national concealed handgun permit law [for private citizens] would reduce rates of violent crime."7
* Nationally syndicated columnist "sees the light." Mike Royko: "It pains me to say this, but the NRA seems to be right: The cities and states that have the toughest gun laws have the most murder and mayhem" (The Washington Times, September 13, 1993).
2"Gun Critic Shifts His Position," The Denver Post (November 28, 1985).
3James D. Wright, "Second Thoughts About Gun Control," The Public Interest, 91 (Spring 1988):23, 25.
4Dave Kopel, "Guns, Germs, and Science: Public Health Approaches to Gun Control," 84 The Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia (June 1995): 272.
5Clayton E. Cramer and David B. Kopel, "'Shall Issue:' The New Wave of Concealed Handgun Permit Laws" (1994), p. 14.
6Scott Parks, "Charges Against Texans with Gun Permits Rise; Law's supporters, foes disagree on figures' meaning," Dallas Morning News (December 23, 1997).
7National Association of Chiefs of Police, 15th Annual National Survey of Police Chiefs & Sheriffs (2002), Question 10.