It is more dangerous when honest men and women face criminals barehanded, and safer when the good guys are armed. That isn’t hard to understand. It is easy to calculate the additional lives we’d save each year if a state allows honest people to carry guns in public. I can explain it in a minute. I will, but the real mystery is why we’re still talking about fantasy-problems while violent criminals are killing our neighbors. We’re acting as if our bad dreams were more real than the bodies with chalk marks around them. Part of that problem is political. Politicians appeal to our fantasies and we’re suckers for that. Politicians also suck-up to anti-gun billionaires to get campaign contributions. Ultimately, voters like us are the problem when we hide behind sound-bite solutions. Back in the real world, disarming our neighbors costs lives.
When you take even the shallowest look at violence then you notice that an armed attacker usually overpowers an unarmed victim. Criminals may break the laws but they are not stupid. They choose the tools that work. To quote one thug, ‘Guns and knives make people so generous.’
Robbers sometimes threaten to shoot us even when they don’t have a gun. Criminals only use guns in one-seventh of violent crimes. Unfortunately, violent criminals wait until they have an advantage in strength, in number, or in surprise. Rather than struggle with the insoluble problem of knowing if the robber’s threat is real, the real solution is for good men and women to go armed.
We don’t need clever calculation to know how many lives are saved when the victims are armed. We know that about 1.7 million legal gun owners use a firearm in self-defense each year. We know how many people live in each state and already have their carry permits. We know the rate of violent crime in each state, and we learned that about 30 percent of adults will carry concealed if the carry permit is optional. We even know how often people with their carry permits actually go armed in public. We know what happens because we asked, and because 21 states already have a form of permit-optional concealed carry.
In most states, we’re talking about saving thousands of lives a year. We can argue about the clearest way to explain the answer, but the calculations only take junior-high-school math.
In contrast, our fantasies about guns are complicated. We imagine that all kinds of things might happen if we let our neighbors go armed without first a getting a permission slip from the state.
- We imagine that the police will keep us safe. We ignore that the police ask their own families to go armed because the world is dangerous.
- We imagine that the police won’t be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys unless we have a state permit in our pocket. We ignore that the police seldom know the history of the people they stop on the street, or the identity of the passengers in the cars they stop.
- We imagine that our neighbors will act crazy with a gun. We ignore that civilians who legally carry a firearm in public are even more law abiding and non-violent than the police.
- We imagine that we only need more laws to keep us safe. We ignore that we have over 23 thousand firearms regulations today and criminals ignore our laws.
- We imagine there are no guns in the world except for the police and criminals. We ignore that concealed is concealed, and one-in-a-dozen adults in public are legally carrying today.
- We imagine that our laws disarm the bad guys but leave the good guys free to protect themselves. We ignore that making it harder for the good guys to get a gun means more innocent victims are disarmed when they are attacked by criminals.
We cling to our fantasies even though they cost lives. We feel virtuous as we imagine an ideal world without evil or violence. We want safety without effort. We want our safety to be someone else’s responsibility. Clinging to those fantasies leaves us vulnerable in more ways than one.
Politicians are eager to sell us something for nothing. All the politician has to do is put more ink-on-paper and send out a press release about more gun-control. It is the politicians who have their own security details. Most politicians are exempt from their own gun-laws. It is the politicians who get large campaign contributions from anti-gun billionaires.
I have a problem with that because we are the ones who pay the price. Demanding that our neighbors live according to a gun-free fantasy puts our neighbors at risk. Sometimes it gets our neighbors injured or killed.
I believe we should live and let live. Think what you will, but please don’t use the law to chain your neighbors to your gun-free fantasy. Leave your neighbors free to take care of themselves. That is exactly what permit-optional carry laws do.
Contact your legislators and set your neighbors free.
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