Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Sunday, May 02, 2010 :::

MSNBC reports that the liberalization of the nation's gun laws has correlated with a decrease in firearms-related violence and that the place in the US with the highest rate of gun homicides (Washington DC) is also the place with the strictest gun control laws. Neither side in the debate can make the leap from correlation to causation, but the claims of gun-control advocates that loosening gun restrictions would lead to higher crime rates seem to have been disproven.

One area that has received a lot of attention has been the proliferation of concealed-carry licenses, now available to law-abiding adults in most states.

Rand, the spokeswoman for the Violence Policy Center, acknowledged that “we don’t have centralized data-gathering to know what people are doing with these licenses.”

“(But) anecdotally, we know they’re doing quite a bit of harm,” she said.

Her group posts news accounts of concealed-weapons permit holders allegedly involved in firearms deaths on a part of its Web site called “Concealed Carry Killers.” The site says 130 civilians and nine police officers have been killed and 13 mass shootings have been carried out by people with concealed-weapons permits since May 2007.

Of course, even accepting that claim as completely true, the real question is whether those mass murderers would have refrained from killing those 139 people if they had been denied permits to carry their weapons in a concealed manner.

Arizona just adopted several controversial laws, so people not paying attention can be forgiven for missing the news that Arizona will be the third state in the US (after Vermont and Alaska) to allow law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns without a permit. A Democratic state representative was quoted as presenting what I believe to be the weakest of all arguments against this law:

A Democratic leader, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, of Phoenix, said the bill deprives law enforcement of a tool "to separate good guys from the bad guys." With a permit requirement, police encountering a person with a concealed gun but no permit had reason to suspect that person was not a law-abiding citizen, she said.

In other words, if we make this legal, we won't be able to arrest people for doing it.

::: posted by Eric at 1:54 PM

Whether (how many of) those people would have been killed anyway is one question, but there are others, too: for example, how many crimes were prevented by concealed carry laws?
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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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