This article was previously published on Guns&Curves
The right to bear arms and the ability for citizens to obtain a conceal carry permit is always a hot topic. Gun right zealots are quick to point to the Second Amendment of the Constitution and our lawful right to keep and bear arms. Gun grabbers point to every and any misuse of a firearm and feel it’s their right to protect us from ourselves. But who’s right?
Obviously last week’s beheading in Oklahoma is a prime example of how a firearm can end an attack and save additional lives. But where was the praise for the brave man who took it upon himself to run to his car, retrieve his firearm and effectively end this violent act?
He was not an officer of the law responding to a call or a relative of the victims, and he could have very well stayed outside the building and waited for law enforcement to arrive. However this heroic, law-abiding citizen drew on his training and took it upon himself to protect those around him with his firearm.
Granted, Mr. Vaughn is a Sheriff’s Deputy and is trained to react to these situations, but who wouldn’t want an armed citizen to step in should the need arise? Applying for a concealed carry permit requires different things in different states. Some states simply require your Hunter’s Safety course completion, others will grant one to military personnel. The State of Illinois has the most rigorous training program, requiring applicants to complete 16 hours of training and a hefty $150 application fee, among other requirements. But what do these strict (and costly) requirements do for those in low income communities who may need to conceal carry on a daily basis for their own personal protection?
Statistics show that Chicago’s 60624 zip code bodes a 98% black population and an average income just above the poverty level. It also has the highest number of homicides, robberies, assaults, thefts and narcotics charges combined than any other ZIP code in Cook County. With steep application fees, the cost of training with an instructor (not to mention the cost of a handgun), the majority of residents are just not able to obtain conceal carry permits.
Conversely, the police chief of Detroit, MI is asking citizens to start arming themselves. Pointing out the obvious fact that if criminals know more people are carrying guns, they’ll be less inclined to pull their own and risk being shot. It’s common sense, but also a statistical fact that with the increase of Right to Carry states, violent crimes have decreased.
So what should this tell us about what needs to be done?
Obviously, if we extend Right to Carry laws to the few states still holding out, we can further decrease crime in the United States. Also, making concealed carry application fees more affordable will make it easier for people to obtain permits. Additionally, instructors could donate their time to teach or offer their courses at reduced fees for low income citizens. States and legislators could be working to allow application fees to be waved for citizens residing in high crime areas as well.
There’s plenty of room to improve, but with 41 states currently recognizing the Right to Carry Laws and more and more law enforcement professionals encouraging citizens to carry, we’re on the right path. Anti-gun organizations are extremely quick to point out (and ferociously loud) when guns kill, so we need to be twice as vigilant and ten times louder in showing just how many times guns are used to save lives and protect fellow citizens! Owning and carrying a gun shouldn’t be taboo – just because a gun CAN kill doesn’t mean it will or that you should fear it.
In the hands of a well trained, responsible, licensed citizen it can be an effective tool in life.
It’s no different than a car. Auto accidents kill more than 33,000 people per year. Cars can be stolen, used for crimes, and terrorize citizens with road rage and excessive speed, aggressive driving and of course, used to kill people. Some people even drive drunk, angry and yes, under the influence of drugs.
Now chances are, if you’re reading my blog on the Guns & Curves website, you’re on my side, but you need to equip yourself with facts and effective talking points to educate more citizens about why it’s smart to support Right to Carry laws and increased availability of Concealed Carry Permits. Easy to point out statistics about auto accidents verses accidental shootings and reference those agonizing 9-1-1 calls we’ve all heard where victims are pleading with dispatchers to get help to them in time, but try to personalize it to your audience. If you’re talking to a parent, be sure to take the approach of protecting their children. If it’s a single woman, talk to her from the perspective of personal protection and security. Know your audience and be sure to have enough diverse examples of why we should extend RTC to everyone.
I know that I am an avid proponent because I don’t ever want my fellow citizens to be in a position where they could protect themselves against an attack or death, but weren’t able to because of money or opportunity or the ability to legally do so for themselves.
Why do you support concealed carry? If your answer is ‘I don’t’, then WHY NOT? Get the dialog going with friends, family, colleges and neighbors. You never know just how one conversation can have a geometric progression of influence over hundreds of people.
Merely informing one person of one fact can start that ball rolling and you too can be working to expand American’s Second Amendment rights!