3/01 CCW And The Same Old Arguments

Concealed Carry Battles Revisit Same Old Arguments
Larry Pratt

Utah and Illinois are two of the state legislatures that have had concealed carry bills introduced this year.

In varying degrees the bills would tell the government to recognize the people’s right to protect themselves by carrying a concealed handgun.

Whether highly restrictive, or completely permissive, the arguments raised against these bills are always the same. Critics tell us that we cannot allow just anybody to carry a gun.

“It’s our position that arming everybody is just not the solution,” said Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence spokesman Kirsten Curley. “If someone has a gun on them, the opportunity to escalate a situation into deadly violence is exacerbated.” (Springfield News Gazette Online, 2/11/01)

A spokesman for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police said it even more clearly: “We’re opposed to any concealed carry laws. Our big concern, of course, is the proliferation of handguns out there. That is a situation that we believe would not be safe for our police officers.”

Utah state Rep. Gary Cox (who is also a police officer in violation of Utah law against serving in two public offices simultaneously) opposes bills that would recognize the constitutional right of anyone in Utah to carry a concealed weapon. Rep. Cox wants a very restrictive law to permit only a few in Utah to climb over the barriers he would set in their way.

Rep. Cox can carry a concealed firearm off duty, but he can’t understand why anyone else would want to. He believes it would be too dangerous.

Let’s think about this. Since the criminals are already armed, these opponents of self defense are claiming that if the rest of us can pack a piece, we will also become criminals. Some people say that “Clothes make the man” but this takes that notion to a new extreme: “Guns make the criminal.”

In my debates with gun control advocates, I have learned that many of them confuse self defense with vigilantism. They actually think that self defense is taking the law in our own hands. In other words, they think that self defense is illegitimate.

The experience of states with permissive concealed carry laws leads to only one conclusion: the more citizens have the opportunity to arm themselves, the lower is the violent crime rate in that jurisdiction.

Vermont is the ultimate test of freedom. In that state, anybody can carry a concealed weapon as a matter of right. That means there are no permits or licenses for those who carry concealed firearms. Vermont’s murder rate is consistently at or near the bottom of the fifty states every year.

Since we can’t all live in Vermont, let’s bring Vermont’s wisdom to where we live.