Gun control, which never worked, loses more ground

As of July 1, Kansas residents are again be able to lawfully carry concealed handguns without a permit.

Introduced in the state Senate in January with an impressive 26 co-sponsors, the Sunflower State’s new “Constitutional carry” bill swept the senate 31-7 and cleared the house in March by a bipartisan 85-39 margin, reports Chris Eger, an NRA-certified firearms instructor, at guns.com.

In keeping with the federal Second Amendment, Vermont has allowed its citizens -– and even visitors -– to carry concealed weapons without a permit for as long as anyone can remember. For just as long, Vermont has also been one of the most peaceful, violence-free states in the union.
(You’d think members of any group supposedly devoted to “stopping gun violence” would want to give that a little thought.)

In recent years, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas and Wyoming have joined Vermont in trusting their adult citizens to go armed, as was common nationwide during the nation’s first century-and-a-half, when most communities didn’t even see the need for a police department . . . until the rise of the socialists.

Kansas now makes six.

Since 2006, when the Kansas Legislature passed the Personal and Family Protection Act, an estimated 90,000 Kansans have applied for concealed-carry handgun licenses. Some 36 states recognize Kansas permits, while the state in turn recognizes all out-of-state permits. The new law retains this current permit system, for Kansas residents who wish to carry concealed while traveling out of state.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed the popular new “constitutional carry” bill this spring. “Responsible gun ownership, for protection and sport, is a right inherent in our Constitution,” Brownback said at the signing ceremony. “It is a right that Kansans hold dear and have repeatedly and overwhelmingly reaffirmed a commitment to protecting.”

The governor also cautioned that, although the new bill does not require safety training, those who choose to protect themselves take such a course, anyway.

VICTIM DISARMAMENT

Doomsayers from the ranks of the victim disarmament lobby were in full cry, of course.

“Kansas just became a far more dangerous place today, for law enforcement and civilians alike,” announced the “Coalition to Stop Gun Violence” in a prepared statement. (For the record, police are civilians.) “Reckless and immoral public policy that will greatly benefit individuals with a history of violence who cannot pass a background check. And leave it to one of the most incompetent governors in this country, Sam Brownback, to lecture reporters about the importance of firearms training during the signing while making sure no one carrying guns in his state will ever have to have any.”

Although I’m sure this gets a little tedious, let’s work it through, again: A woman home alone at night or with only her young children hears someone breaking in through the back door. If the law makes it hard for a law-abiding citizen to possess a firearm, our law-abiding young mom will almost certainly not have a firearm with which to defend herself or her kids. (Yes, she can probably call police, though courts have ruled she has no cause of action if police knock on the door, hear nothing, and then leave – because the assailant has gagged her or put a gun to her head. Look up the 1981 case Warren v. District of Columbia.)

Does it therefore follow that the home invader — his mind set on robbery, rape, or whatever other opportunities present themselves — will be unarmed, since he “cannot pass a background check”?

In your dreams. There are millions of guns and knives in America, almost every thug and criminal who wants one has one, and you won’t find them hanging around a brightly lit, licensed gun store, staring into the security cameras and waiting to hear whether they’ve “passed the background check.”

The only change likely to occur in this equation when we make it easier for law-abiding citizens to exercise their God-given, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms is that the young mom is then far more likely to have the kind of self-defense weapon most useful for a small person against a large person, especially a large person whose drug consumption patterns mean he’s likely “feeling no pain” -– that being a handgun.

Statistically, what’s the result -– more dead burglars and would-be rapists? Actually, not by much (though I fail to see why that would be so bad.) Rather, when intended victims announce they’re armed and ready to open fire –- especially if this warning is accompanied by the sound of a slide being racked — bad guys have a tendency to turn and run. In fact, study after study has demonstrated that when more homeowners are known to be armed, “hot burglaries” — the kind initiated when there are people home –- drop dramatically. Britain is a country where illegal AK-47s are now so common that the tabloids’ new nickname for blue-collar Manchester is “Gunchester” (no matter how often Barack Obama insists no nation but America is “awash in guns.”) So when Britain recently banned handguns among the law-abiding, “hot” burglaries skyrocketed, with all the accompanying risks to the safety of the terrified citizenry.

Economist and political philosopher Thomas Sowell, the brilliant Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow The Hoover Institution at Stanford University, wrote a syndicated column back in 2013 in which he ridiculed those “people who have never fired a shot in their life (but) who do not hesitate to declare how many bullets should be the limit to put into a firearm’s clip or magazine.

“Virtually all gun control advocates say that 30 bullets in a magazine is far too many for self-defense or hunting — even if they have never gone hunting and never had to defend themselves with a gun,” Mr. Sowell wrote. “Anyone who faces three home invaders . . . might find 30 bullets barely adequate. After all, not every bullet hits, even at close range, and not every hit incapacitates. You can get killed by a wounded man.

These realities have been “ignored for years by people who go ballistic when they hear about how many shots were fired by the police in some encounter with a criminal.”

ARMED ROBBERIES SKYROCKETED

What’s that? Why should we listen to some pencil-necked college professor with no real-world experience?

“As someone who once taught pistol shooting in the Marine Corps,” Professor Sowell continues, “I am not the least bit surprised by the number of shots fired. I have seen people miss a stationary target at close range, even in the safety and calm of a pistol range.

“We cannot expect everybody to know that. But we can expect them . . . to stop spouting off about life-and-death issues when they don’t have the facts. The central question as to whether gun control laws save lives or cost lives has generated many factual studies over the years,” Mr. Sowell continues. “Most factual studies show no reduction in gun crimes, including murder, under gun control laws. A significant number of studies show higher rates of murder and other gun crimes under gun control laws.”

(Look up the work of Gary Kleck, John Lott, and Don Kates, just for starters.)

“How can this be?” Mr. Sowell asks. “It seems obvious to some gun control zealots that, if no one had guns, there would be fewer armed robberies and fewer people shot to death.

“But nothing is easier than to disarm peaceful, law-abiding people,” Professor Sowell observes, “and nothing is harder than to disarm people who are neither — especially in a country with hundreds of millions of guns already out there, that are not going to rust away for centuries.

When it was legal to buy a shotgun in London in the middle of the 20th century, Mr. Sowell points out, there were very few armed robberies there. “But, after British gun control zealots managed over the years to disarm virtually the entire law-abiding population, armed robberies became literally a hundred times more common. And murder rates rose. . . .

“The great bulk of the studies show that gun control laws . . . on net balance, do not save lives but cost lives. . . .”

In fact, far from seeing their streets erupt into modern-day versions of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, many states that have switched to constitutional carry in recent years have seen decreases in crime.

“In the three states that have adopted permitless carry laws similar to Kansas’ law, murder rates have gone down; declining by 23 percent in Alaska, 16 percent in Arizona, and eight percent in Wyoming,” reported Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, this spring.

Still, Democrats seem determined to identify themselves as the party that wants to keep its own voters disarmed and helpless. This spring, Montana and West Virginia lawmakers gave their final seal of approval to measures that would have brought constitutional carry to those states, “only to meet with vetoes from Democratic governors who cited safety concerns as a reason to torpedo the reforms,” reports Chris Eger at www.guns.com/2015/04/03/kansas-becomes-the-6th-constitutional-carry-state.

Whose safety?

Vin Suprynowicz, former award-winning editorial writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is the author of “Send in the Waco Killers”; a new novel about the War on Drugs, “The Testament of James,” and the forthcoming sequel, “The Miskatonic Manuscript.” A version of this column appears in the July 10 edition of “Shotgun News.”

12 Comments to “Gun control, which never worked, loses more ground”

  1. Bob Adkinson Says:

    Vin,
    For some reason this bothers me. I hear occasionally about the deterrent effects of a slide being racked. I must say, if I am confronted by a burglar in my house, I don’t need to rack a slide. It has already been racked. I might yell out some warning or other, or I might not. It depends on the laws of the state where I live, and the state of my mind and/or consciousness. But in no way would I depend on the sound of racking a slide to impress a burglar. Maybe I’m picking at nits. I’ve done that before.

    I enjoy reading your columns. I don’t agree all the time, but I wish you would write more. I haven’t given up on you yet.
    Bob

  2. Vin Says:

    Hi Bob — Thanks for writing. “Racking the slide” has indeed become a cliche. (I was going to write “an overused cliche,” but that’s excessively redundant.) I suspect what bothers you is the notion of getting into a life-and-death confrontation and then having to wonder, “Gosh, do I have a round in the chamber, or not?”

    You should not have a muzzle aimed at anything — and your finger inside the guard — until you’ve decided to destroy that thing. You should certainly have racked your slide long before then — not saved it as a dramatic gesture, akin to “OK, now I’m giving you your fourth warning . . .”

    I suspect some of this comes down to what you consider “safe storage.” Is the bedside handgun “cocked and locked,” which means you only need to thumb the safety? Mine are revolvers, so the question doesn’t generally arise. My bedside shotgun, on the other hand, does NOT have a round in the chamber. I’m unimpressed by the “positiveness” of the safety, and pets have been known to knock into a long gun so it falls to the floor. Once you believe you have cause to pick up that long gun, how soon do you rack the slide? Pretty early.

    — Vin

  3. R. Hartman Says:

    Do those “Democratic governors who cited safety concerns as a reason to torpedo the reforms” ever appear in public without using armed body guards for their ‘protection’? If not, they’re not against guns, but against the people they’re supposed to represent.

  4. Gun control, which never worked, loses more ground | Pro 2nd Amendment Boycott – P2AB Says:

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  5. MamaLiberty Says:

    Lots of work left to do on this “constitutional carry” deal. For the most part, even though the “permit” is not required, all of the other foolish restrictions remain in place for concealed carry. That is especially ironic here in Wyoming, where there are zero state statues limiting open carry. Aside from federal “law,” open carry is legal everywhere here (even though various city and county governments continuously look for ways to thwart that).

    I’ve yet to hear any rational explanation why concealing the gun makes any difference. Why is a concealed gun more of a problem in a bar than one that is carried openly? The people are exactly the same… with the same motives either way. Only those who wish to aggress are a problem, of course, and there is very little anyone can do to determine that ahead of time – no matter how they carry.

  6. Bob Adkinson Says:

    ML, I agree that from the ‘danger’ perspective, it makes no difference whether the gun is concealed or not. But from a slightly different slant, that of the ‘carrier,’ one difference concealed carry makes to me is that if I need to un-conceal it in order to use it, that guy behind me will to have to work harder to get to it also(if he even figures out I have one). One less thing I have to worry about.
    I know that has nothing to do with your question. But from my point of view, I would rather carry concealed.

  7. Hunter Says:

    Years ago, a fellow writer at Sierra Times told me what happened in New Orleans back when he was a junior reporter on the Bourbon Street crime beat. Occasionally he would cover a murder scene where the victim was armed but had been ambushed and shot from behind. Usually the investigators would find only an empty holster, but just as often the perpetrators left the victims gun behind.

    One of the crusty old detectives informed John that was what happened if the hoods suspected or knew you were armed. Rather than giving you any chance to defend yourself, they’d fire from cover and make sure you were dead before rushing over to get what they wanted before the police arrived.

    I was told essentially the same story about gang-bangers shooting each other in Boston, which is hardly a hotbed of civilian carry, open OR concealed.

    It depends rather heavily on the threat you think you will be facing, but there ARE circumstances where it can be actively dangerous to open carry. I prefer to have BOTH options available, and be able to choose based on what I know going in.

  8. MamaLiberty Says:

    Absolutely, Hunter. 🙂

  9. MamaLiberty Says:

    Bob, that has far more to do with WHERE you are carrying than how, far as I’m concerned. I don’t go to Boston or Los Angeles, etc. period – for a lot of reasons.

    Personally, I seldom find the need to CC and have zero fear of anyone attempting to take my OC gun away from me. If that was a real threat to those who OC, I suspect we’d be hearing a LOT about it in the gun grabber news, don’t you think?

    In any case, your reasons for carrying, and how you carry, and where you carry should be completely up to you, naturally. I also prefer to have both options, and don’t plan to ask anyone for “permission.”

  10. Bob Adkinson Says:

    ML, if it were not a possibility, cops would not carry in those Level 3 Retention holsters (or whatever they are called), which won’t let loose of the gun if you don’t manipulate it just so. I’m not saying it’s a problem. I’m just saying, as a person who carries almost constantly, sometimes open, sometimes not, that one of the things I am aware of is who is behind me, and how close they are to me. If I am OC, I am more concerned about this than I am if I am CC. When does a “real threat” begin to exist? After it happens, or can it exist even if it has never happened? If it’s not a threat, I’ll quit thinking about it. 🙂

  11. MamaLiberty Says:

    Apples and oranges, Bob. Cops have their guns taken for entirely different reasons, and usually in the middle of a “take down” or other close encounter with criminals. It just doesn’t happen to ordinary carriers. The lady behind me in the grocery store line is not actually apt to even notice the gun where I live, let alone plot to grab it. 🙂

    But yes indeed, a retention holster and serious situational awareness are imperative for anyone who carries a gun. No question there. 🙂 I practice and teach both.

    As for a “real threat” – we must each be aware of the potentials around us and act accordingly. That threat potential is vastly different in Chicago, or NYC, than it is in rural Wyoming. Nobody can judge that for another, and there is simply no “one size fits all” answer.

  12. RRND - 07/06/15 - Thomas L. Knapp - Liberty.me Says:

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