Are concealed and open carry laws a threat to public safety?
Answer: The facts say that carrying of guns openly or concealed is a serious threat to public safety.
One of the most complete studies of open carry legal gun owners was performed in 2009 in the State of Indiana. The study shows that many open carriers have extremely violent histories, are dangerous people and use their guns to commit violence and intimidate. In just three years, 2007 through 2010, concealed handgun permit holders killed 273 people (1.5 per week), including 9 law enforcement officers. During the same time period, they also committed 17 mass shootings and 25 murder-suicides.
Given these facts, the justification that only “legal gun owners” are granted permits to carry a gun concealed, or carry guns openly is faulty. These “legal gun owners” are legal until they use their guns to commit crimes. Therefore, the notion that concealed carry permit holders and open carriers are not a threat to public safety is simply false.
Can Americans carry guns everywhere?
Do the Supreme Court rulings in 2008 (Heller vs. District of Columbia) and 2010 (MacDonald vs. Chicago) finding that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to gun ownership give people the right to carry guns at all times?
Answer: Absolutely not. The Supreme Court, in Heller vs. District of Columbia, found that the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to keep a gun at home for self-protection. The decision did not recognize a right to carry guns outside the home. A long-time NRA priority has been to to pass state laws allowing people to carry guns outside their homes, either concealed or openly. They have been very successful. As of 2014, all states allow most adults without a criminal record to obtain permits to conceal and carry handguns; 43 states also allow legal gun owners to openly carry their guns in public.
Source: Legal Community Against Violence 2008 Edition Regulating guns in America; Henigan, Dennis 2009 Lethal Logic Potomac Books; OpenCarry.org. December 2010 MAPS
What evidence exists to show that “Any Gun, Any Time, Any Place” is a threat to me?
ANSWER:The NRA’s principal argument for legislation allowing guns to be carried openly and concealed at any time in any place is that law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to self defense. Significantly, the fanatical pursuit of this right completely ignores the non-gun owner’s constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Studies show that open carry and concealed carry create significant risk to the public and do very little to provide self-defense to the gun carrier. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the American Journal of Public Health, November 2009, epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study found that people carrying a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not carrying a gun.
Open Carry: The most complete study of the profile of open carry “law-abiding citizens,” was performed in 2009 in the State of Indiana. The study clearly demonstrates that, far from being innocent “law abiding citizens,” many who openly carry have extremely violent histories and are dangerous people. (See indystar.com, October 11, 2009, “Should these Hoosiers have been allowed to carry a gun in public?”)
Conceal and Carry: The “law-abiding citizen” claim is the same argument made for open carry. Yet the record of violence committed by conceal and carry gun owners belies this misleading claim. An ongoing Violence Policy Center study, “CCW Killers,” shows that from May 2007 through December 2010, concealed handgun permit holders have killed 282 people (over 1.5 per week), including 9 law enforcement officers, committed 17 mass shootings and 25 murder-suicides.
The NRA “law-abiding citizen” claims that open and concealed carry is not a threat to the public has no connection to actual experience.
“Any Gun, Any Time, Any Place”
ANSWER: Any gun, any time, any place reflects the industry’s core marketing and sales effort. Where you live your life is where their sales growth must come from. The NRA and gun lobby represent the gun industry and are committed to maximizing annual sales of guns and ammunition. They do this by creating demand based on fear—fear of the government and fear of armed criminals.
Sales to criminals represent 25% of annual industry sales, per the NAACP’s expert witness report in their suit against the gun industry and informed ATF personnel. The last thing the gun lobby wants is to reduce sales to the criminal market; they defeat any law that would make it harder for criminals to obtain guns.
The NRA opposes licensing gun owners, the registration of guns and closing the gun-show and private-sale loopholes that allow buyers, who cannot pass a background check, to purchase any guns they want. (Background checks are not required at gun shows or for private sales.) The gun lobby blocks all efforts to stop the illegal trafficking of guns—the way criminals obtain most of their guns. By making sure criminals are armed, the NRA can say, “Law abiding citizens need guns to protect themselves from armed criminals and must be able to carry them, openly or concealed, at all times, in all places.”
To execute the gun industry’s sales growth plan, the NRA must get legislation passed at the state and federal levels that extends open and concealed carry with fewer and fewer restrictions. Most states that have made it easier to carry concealed do not require serious safety training. Arizona now allows conceal and carry without a permit. For $60, Utah issues conceal and carry permits online (good in 32 states) to out-of-state people, many of whom have never fired a gun.
Now that corporations can spend unlimited amounts to swing elections, gun manufacturers will be pouring in even more money than they do now, arming the NRA and the gun lobby with huge amounts of money to “influence” and/or intimidate legislators at the state and federal level.
Any gun, any time, any place marketing, combined with the political influence money can buy, assures guns will be in the places where you and your loved ones live.
People who carry guns, concealed and openly, claim they need to carry them for self defense. They have a right to protect themselves and their families. What is wrong with that?
ANSWER: The reason virtually every open carry and conceal and carry gun owner gives for their needing a gun with them at all times is for self defense.
This is another one of the fantasies advanced by the gun lobby and people who claim they need to be armed in public. However, it is completely unrealistic for them to think they can defend themselves by carrying a gun at all times. They imagine that they and the criminal attacker are going to be walking down a street in Dodge City, facing each other and waiting to draw and shoot. It does not work that way. In the real world, the element of surprise almost always trumps being armed.
The criminal will have a gun to the head of the armed citizen before the armed citizen even realizes what is happening. At that point, the armed citizen will not dare try to reach for his gun. The criminal, besides securing the money he are after, will also take the armed citizen’s gun.
Studies show that open carry and concealed carry create significant risk to public safety and do little to provide safety to the gun carrier. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the American Journal of Public Health, November 2009, epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study found that people carrying a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not carrying a gun.
No one is more protected than the president of the United States is. When President Reagan was walking out of a hotel, he was surrounded by six highly trained Secret Service agents keenly on the lookout for any potential danger. Despite that, John Hinkley, someone who had no experience shooting, and was armed with a $45 gun that shot 6 bullets, wounded President Reagan, press secretary James Brady, a police officer and a Secret Service agent before being subdued.
In Oakland last year (2010), 2 armed police officers stopped a driver at a traffic light. The driver, a parole violator, had a firearm on the passenger seat. When the police officers approached, he killed them both. Despite being armed and highly trained, the element of surprise tragically took their lives.
When Pittsburgh police responded to a mother reporting a domestic dispute in 2010, her son, laying in wait armed and wearing a bulletproof vest, killed them as they came through the door. The element of surprise almost always succeeds. That is reality, self-defense is the fantasy.