Skip to comments.Statistics don't support scary stories about concealed-carry
Posted on 03/05/2004 9:26:16 AM PST by neverdem
The Feb. 13 Point of View column by Dr. Greg Bachhuber -- "Concealed-carry laws place guns into hands of unskilled people" -- (and your newspaper's editorial as well) contains all the misinformation and mistrust that every opponent of concealed-carry believe. The problem is it just isn't true.
The fact that concealed-carry laws have a 10-plus-year record that is open and available to the public in most states refutes the worries he expressed. The consensus is that at worst there is no harm done by these laws, and at best crime decreases, up to 8 percent in a few studies.
Let's review Bachhuber's. Anyone can get a concealed-carry permit with minimal training. This is true as long as you can legally purchase a handgun, take the course and pay the fees (about $200).
The vast majority of individuals getting their concealed-carry permit have years of experience with firearms. The point is that they are taking responsibility for their own self-defense, and with it comes a tremendous responsibility to know how to handle the firearm correctly as well as when it is wise to use it.
I know of two people who had no firearm experience who have gotten their permits to carry. They did this as a political act to show how easy it is to get a permit. They do not carry. Should they frighten me? No. I do not believe the fact that they have a permit will suddenly give them visions of being in the Wild West and shooting up the streets. And if they do carry, the chance of them having to use a gun in self-defense in a public place is quite low.
Yet should we as a society decide that they should be disarmed and risk not being able to defend themselves? To attempt to compare the training police get in the use of deadly force and that of a civilian is like comparing apples and oranges. The police have a duty to carry their firearms and protect the public (and, incidentally, such protection does not extend to any individual but to the community as a whole, as has been upheld several times by the U.S. Supreme Court).
Police should be held to a much higher standard concerning defensive shootings, yet routinely are not. Police are given three days of administrative leave before being interviewed about the events. I can promise that if a civilian is involved in a defensive shooting, they will not get three days to settle their nerves and collect their thoughts. They will be grilled for hours and will most likely end up behind bars for at least a short time.
And if Bachhuber wishes to talk about suicides with guns (truly a tragic number, yet firearms bear no relationship to suicides in most studies on the subject except in the elderly population), how many concealed-carry permit holders in the United States committed suicide while carrying legally in the past five years? How about the past year? Any that you've heard of in the past two weeks? None have been reported in any of these time frames. Yet at least two police officers have committed suicide with a firearm in the past two weeks, and one of them killed his wife first with his service gun.
Statistics like these could be used to say that the police shouldn't be allowed guns -- ridiculous. The studies that Bachhuber claims show how dangerous guns in the home are have been proven false several times. The same study showing a certain increase in household members being shot if they have guns in their home can also show that in homes without firearms, there is a 300 percent higher likelihood of being killed at home compared to homes with firearms.
Studies like these take into consideration robberies and drug shootings involving even the most casual acquaintances, and people who brought the gun used to shoot someone into the home as "having a gun in the home." If you invite a friend over for a game, and he brings someone you barely know who has a gun on him, and that person shoots you, you are listed as having a gun in the home. It is often easy to find the numbers you want when a study is selective in its subject group.
Firearm injuries and deaths are a tragedy. As an emergency physician myself, both Bachhuber and I have seen our share of gun tragedies. Our difference is that Bachhuber blames the gun. I blame the shooter (or their parents in the case of childhood accidents and shootings). He believes that removing guns from society would reduce gun injuries and crime. I know this is not the case. Firearm ownership is part of the fundamental right of self-defense, not a privilege granted by the government. It is up to us as individuals to exercise that right in an honorable fashion. If every gun owner did this, then the incidents of accidental shootings and suicides, and perhaps even violent crime, will fall.
RONALD BRACE, M.D., of Elk River, Minn., is a board-certified emergency physician practicing at the Cambridge Medical Center in Cambridge, Minn. He has worked at emergency departments in the Twin Cities, Colorado, North Carolina and Texas and was part of the support forces in Bosnia in 1997-98.
Statistics don't support scary stories about
concealed-carry almost every social issue.
Cannot agree. How 'bout the statistic that 33-40% of all pregnancies are terminated in abortion. That's scary.
One of the offshoots was that everybody was much more agreeable in social accidents, since they never knew if the
other guy was packing or not.