"Really it is a national disgrace that the only piece of gun-related legislation to come to a vote since Tucson was this legislation that would have enabled dangerous concealed carriers like Jared Loughner to carry their guns across state lines," Dennis Henigan, acting president, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence as quoted in the Huffington Post.
Wow, that sounds really bad – and it would be IF IT WERE TRUE. It is not. Henigan is LYING and he knows it. Jared Loughner DID NOT HAVE A CCW PERMIT. He was carrying his gun without one because he wanted to commit murder. Strangely, the lack of a permit did not stop him. I doubt that any law would have stopped him from carrying in another state either. While it is true that in theory he might have obtained one, he never tried. Had he done so, he likely would have been denied on the basis of his mental status and many police contacts. (Which should have resulted in a police ordered mental health evaluation – but for some reason no one ordered it.)
Why is this important? Because the bill only applies to people who have permits. Even if your home state – like Arizona – does not require one, you still must obtain one from your state of residence to carry in another state under this bill. Many states currently recognize each other’s permits and this is why Arizona still issues permits.
So, let’s apply Henigan’s reasoning to driver’s licenses. His reasoning would be as follows: States should not be required to recognize each other’s licenses because people without licenses, who don’t know how to drive, will be allowed to drive in other states and people will die. People from other states who have lost their licenses due to drunk driving will come to your state because of this law and will kill people. All of this will happen because your state will be required to recognize licenses from other states. Absurd, isn’t it?
His argument is more than absurd – it is completely BOGUS. It is built upon a lie.
Sadly, he is not the only one who is dishonest. Our friends at the Violence Policy Center have produced and maintained a website called: Concealed Carry Killers
I suggest that you go to this site. It seems very convincing. Shall issue concealed carry is killing lots of people and needs to be stopped. The only problem with this study is that it is, like Henigan’s statement, completely bogus. It’s full of deception.
First, their data is BOGUS
The entire "study" is based upon news reports. It is the height of hypocrisy for the VPC to base their entire study on news reports when they insist that news articles describing Defensive Gun Uses (DGUs) are worthless! The NRA has kept a database of news reports of these incidents - mostly from local news outlets - for over 40 years. The database now has many thousands, if not tens of thousands, of incidents in which a gun was used to stop crime and in many cases save lives. When pro-gun rights folks cite these articles, they are told that they are meaningless because they are just news reports. They are just “anecdotal incidents” and even though they far outnumber the incidents used in the VPC study, they need to be ignored. In other words, the VPC will use data from a source when it suits them, and condemn that same source when the data refutes their position.
But it’s worse than that. Much of their data is outright falsified.
On June 18, 2010 gun rights researcher John Lott published an analysis of the VPC data from one state – Florida - which has had shall issue CCW longer than any other state. John Lott actually looked into the news reports on the 20 cases the VPC citied. The results were devastating:
In fully 25% of the cases citied by VPC, the article they used as a source made no mention of a permit. In other words, these people were carrying their guns illegally. It was clearly dishonest to include these incidents – and the fact that they were included indicates that the VPC is either dishonest, extremely sloppy or both. The best explanation is that they wanted to “pad” their data.
In another 25% of the cases, no charges were brought, charges were dropped before trial or the shooter was found not guilty on grounds of self-defense. It is by no means uncommon for a CCW holder who is involved in a shooting to be arrested while the investigation proceeds. Often times law enforcement wants the DA to make the decision regarding justification. In 20% of the cases that the VPC lists as “CCW killings”, the shooter was never brought to trial – most likely because there was a strong case for self defense. In 5% of the cases (1 shooting) the shooter was brought to trial and found not guilty.
In other words fully 50% of the cases VPC used were BOGUS - because they were either justified shootings or shootings that would have happened even if no CCW permits were issued because the shooter did not have one.
15% were cases of negligent discharge resulting in death - it is unlikely that not issuing CCWs would prevent these cases. Additional safety training might help – but CCW holders already have more training than most gun owners. Indeed, although firearms accidents are exceedingly rare, training can never completely eliminate accidental or negligent discharges resulting in death. It should also be noted that even police officers are involved such incidents. Recently in my area an officer left his firearm within reach of his his 3 year old daughter. She was killed. He was not prosecuted. Here in California, had he not been an officer, he almost certainly would have been charged as these people in Florida were.
10% of cases were pending and the CCW holder was claiming self defense. This means that as much as 60% of the cases VPC cites may be either justified or not involve CCW holders at all.
In only 25% of the cases they cite was the shooter convicted of murder. Even in these cases, this proves nothing - because the kind of person who commits murder might very well decide to carry without a permit. Indeed, far more people are murdered by people carrying guns without permits. In fact, the number of people murdered by CCW holders is approximately .12% of total murders in Florida. Yet, VPC states they were correct to predict that “blood will run in the streets” as a result of shall issue CCWs.
Clearly the VPCs data (and indeed their whole case) is highly questionable.
The premise that CCW holders are dangerous is BOGUS
Indeed, CCW permit holders are extremely law abiding. In Louisiana 40,000 permits have been issued since 1996. In these 14 years exactly THREE have been revoked for criminal activity. That is a revocation rate of less than .001% in 14 years! In contrast, in 2006 .317% of New York City Police were arrested. This means that CCW holders in Louisiana are 300 times less likely to commit crimes then NYPD Officers! Yet any police officer can carry anywhere in the 50 states. Of course, the truth is that both groups are – as a whole – fine, upstanding and honest people who can be trusted with weapons.
In many locations where CCW holders are required to present their permits on contact with law enforcement a carry permit is called a “good guy card” by officers. Why? Because unlike most of the other people they meet in a day, these folks have had to pass a background check.
How many CCW holders commit murder? At the time of this writing there are 888,721 persons licensed to carry in Florida. The VPC "study" covered about 4 years when Lott did his study. This means that the annual rate of murders committed by CCW holders is about 1.25 per 100,000 permit holders per year. The number of people in the general population who commit murder in a given year is difficult to find - but the overall murder rate is 5-6 per 100,000 per year.
It can be inferred from this - allowing for multiple killings (and multiple killers per victim) - that the number of people in the general population who commit murder in a given year is at least 5 per 100,000. Therefore a CCW holder is about 4 times less likely to commit murder than the general population.
The VPC "study" is BOGUS because it presents only one side
Imagine that there is a new drug on the market. It kills 2 of every 100,000 people who take it. 10 of every 100,000 get sicker when they take it. Wow, why would such a drug be allowed on the market? Simple, the rest of the story is that this drug has a 75% success rate in curing pancreatic cancer. Now it's clear why the drug is on the market: The benefits far exceed the risks. If such a drug existed, it would be considered a miracle of modern science.
The VPC presents only one side of the equation - the number of people supposedly murdered by people with CCW permits. (Indeed this is a very common tactic in the anti-gun rights movement – along with the false and irrelevant “comparisons” of things such as justifiable homicides vs. murders and suicides. The real comparison is lives saved vs. lives lost.)
The display of numbers on their main page does not even mention the time frame that the numbers cover. Even more importantly, there is no effort to provide context by providing information on Defensive Gun Uses (DGUs) that either do not result in shots being fired (which comprise by far the greatest number), or where shots were fired and no one died, or where shots were fired and no charges were brought. WITHOUT THIS CONTEXT, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO JUDGE THE RISK OR THE VALUE OF SHALL ISSUE CCW PERMITTING. (Hint: There is a very good reason they never talk about the “upside” of CCWs – it does not help their case.)
So, what are the benefits of shall issue concealed carry? How can we judge them? Would not the best way be to examine what happens to murder and crime rates when a state passes shall issue concealed carry?
In the first year after shall issue CCW was in effect in Florida the homicide rate fell from 36% above the national average to 4% below, and remains below the national average as of the 2005 reporting period. That is a huge change that has been sustained for over 20 years. (Florida Department Of Justice 1988-2005 statistics.)
So maybe Florida is a fluke. What about other states?
In Texas, murder rates fell 50% faster than the national average in the year after their concealed carry law passed. Rape rates fell 93% faster in the first year after enactment, and 500% faster in the second. Assaults fell 250% faster in the second year. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, online database, reviewing Texas and U.S. violent crime from 1995-2001.)
Currently 41 states have “shall issue” CCW or do not require a permit. In every case, crime has dropped after enactment. Eliminating Wisconsin (that just passed a CCW law, and Vermont and Alaska (that have never required permits), that leaves us with 38 states that have a track record after passing shall issue CCW. The story has been the same in every state. Violent crime has dropped. If it was already dropping, it dropped even more steeply. In addition to the drop in crime (which benefits everyone – not just people with permits), in every state the dire predictions of blood in the streets has failed to materialize. That’s why not one of these 38 states has repealed their CCW laws.
When closely examined the VPCs "study" is revealed for what it is: Unreliable propaganda based upon lies. Sadly, this is the case with most gun control advocacy - it's based upon three things: Desperation, Distortion, and Deception
Note: 114 of NYPD's finest were arrested in '06. There are roughly 36000 NYPD officers. That works out to an arrest rate of 0.317%. Compare to Florida CWP holders getting in trouble @ a 0.02% (or even take the 0.06%) rate as previously mentioned. That is an order of magnitude different.