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Opening Arguments

Not so wild in the streets

The myth: If more people carry guns, the country will become a much more dangerous place. The reality: Could it be that concealed carry has actually made the country safer?

Back in 1987, some people, myself included, worried that such laws would lead to frequent shootouts on the streets arising from traffic altercations and the like. That has not happened — something we can be sure of since the mainstream media would be delighted to headline such events.

To the contrary, violent crime rates have declined drastically during the last quarter-century. I don’t think you can prove that concealed-weapons laws caused that result, but they have probably contributed to it, because would-be criminals are less likely to assault people they believe might be armed. In any case the argument that concealed-weapons laws would lead to more violent crime has been about as thoroughly refuted as an argument can be.

One lesson, I think, is that responsible citizens tend to behave like responsible citizens, even if — or perhaps especially if — they’re armed. Another lesson is that the national political dialogue can be totally irrelevant to what really happens in American life.

The point of concealed carry is that those intent on doing us harm don't know who is armed and who is not so they might be less inclined to prey on us. Who represents the greater danger -- some anger managment dropout ready to pull his gun during a fit of road rage or an armed loon going into a school because he knows the people inside are defenseless?

Speaking of myths: People who spread the fear -- "frequent shootouts on the street and the like" -- sometimes say we're in danger of recreating the violence of the Old West. But the thing it, it wasn't all that violent:

In contrast, an alternative literature based on actual history concludes that the civil society of the American West in the nineteenth century was not very violent. Eugene Hollon writes that the western frontier “was a far more civilized, more peaceful and safer place than American society today” (1974, x). Terry Anderson and P. J. Hill affirm that although “[t]he West . . . is perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life,” their research “indicates that this was not the case; property rights were protected and civil order prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved” (1979, 10).

Get that? "More civilized than Amcerican society today." So, open carry works pretty well, too.


Larry Morris
Wed, 02/26/2014 - 11:57am


Preaching to the choir ...