In a recent article entitled "Want a concealed gun in California? Head north", SF Gate reported on the issue of concealed carry. In this article, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr made it clear that he thinks concealed carry is a bad idea. He made it clear that he doesn't think citizens can handle the responsibility involved. He also doesn't think that trained and licensed citizens can handle the responsibility - and that they don't need to, since the SFPD's average response time is 4 minutes. Apparently the chief has never heard the proverb that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away - or he doesn't care that all too often getting there in four minutes isn't good enough in the vast majority of violent crimes. The sad reality is that when you are unable to defend yourself you may not even be able to make the call that starts that 4 minute clock before you are dead.
Listening to Chief Suhr, one would think that his opinion is based in fact - however nothing could be further from the truth. His opinion is rooted not in fact, but in politics. The reality is that none of his opinions find support in the nation's 25 years of experience with citizen concealed carry.
43 states currently issue permits to anyone meeting objective training and background check standards. The only state in the continental US West of the Mississippi that doesn't do so? CALIFORNIA. Number of these states that have turned into the "Wild West"? ZERO. This includes such cities and metropolitan areas as Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City, Austin, New Orleans, Little Rock, Saint Louis, Boise, Spokane and Las Vegas. Apparently Chief Suhr believes that San Francisco residents are less competent than the good people who live in these cities.
Additionally is has been over two years since the Sheriff of Sacramento County began recognizing "self defense" as good cause - effectively issuing permits in the same way as in the states and cities above. Did you miss the massive increase in homicide and other crimes that resulted? Of course you did - BECAUSE IT DIDN'T HAPPEN. It didn't happen in my home county (El Dorado) after the same policy was implemented a year earlier.
We now have over 25 years experience with citizen concealed carry - and NONE of the predictions made by anti-gun rights activists has come true. A study done in Texas showed that permit holders were less likely to commit crimes or be involved in a bad shoot than police officers. This fact becomes even more significant when one considers that there are between five and ten times as many permit holders as police officers. If the predictions of the anti-gun rights crowd were true, then blood should be running in the street.
While the anti-gun rights crowd can point to very few incidents involving concealed carry permit holders, those of us on the gun rights side of the discussion can point to many cases in which crimes have been stopped and lives have been saved. This convinced a former LA cop - now chief in Detroit that he had been wrong in his opposition. Chief James Craig went public with his support for citizen concealed carry in January. He was promptly condemned by gun control advocates and many politically appointed police chiefs. He was mocked - in spite of the fact that a 2013 study of 15,000 line police officers showed that 91% supported citizen concealed carry. THAT'S RIGHT - 9 OUT OF 10 LINE COPS SUPPORT "SHALL ISSUE" CCW PERMITS. IT'S THE POLITICALLY APPOINT CHIEFS (LIKE CHIEF SUHR) WHO OPPOSE IT.
Chief Craig did not have to wait long to be vindicated. In less than three months there have been ten self-defense shootings - most involving CCW permit holders defending themselves against armed attackers. There were no cases of criminals taking their guns away and using them against the owners. There were no cases of the CCW holders shooting innocent people by mistake. There were also no cases where the shootings were found not to be justified. In short, in ten self defense shootings the armed citizens made zero mistakes.
Are ten self defense shootings a good thing? No, a good thing would be zero defensive shootings (because they were not necessary) - but ten defensive shootings resulting in dead or wounded criminals is better than 10 incidents in which law abiding victims were killed instead. That is the only choice these law abiding citizens were given - and they chose life. Chief Greg Suhr and many others like him feel that they have the right to remove that choice.