“Law abiding citizens have the right to carry guns to defend themselves” is the meme that drives our gun laws. Relying on this meme, laws have been passed that allow concealed and open carry and guns in public places ranging from restaurants, bars and movies, to churches and offices. There is pressure from the NRA and gun extremists to pass laws allowing guns on college campuses, on airplanes and to do away with gun-free zones.
But the fact is that the meme is false, it is a fiction; carrying a gun does not provide any realistic possibility of self defense—the element of surprise always defeats the gun carrier.
The criminal does not approach and say “draw.” They have a gun to to the back of your head before you know they are there. And you will not dare move as they take both your money and your gun.
President Reagan was surrounded by the Secret Service and local police both carrying guns and looking for trouble. A would be assassin with a $45 handgun was able to shoot all six of its bullets, hitting four people including Reagan, Jim Brady (his press secretary) and two officers before he was subdued. (Imagine how many people would have been hit if they had had a semi-automatic handgun.)
Police officers carry guns, yet 40% of all gun homicides of police officers are due to ambushes or being surprised by suspects with firearms. (Johnson, USA TODAY, 8/25/2011).
Carrying a gun in public does not provide self defense.
Enabling insane gun laws to be passed and sane gun laws to be rejected on the basis of a fictional meme is tragic; it is time to end it.