Concealed Guns
Pros and Cons
Video exploring critical thinking and how it leads to great citizen involvement
Last updated on: 3/29/2011 3:23:30 PM PST

Should adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?

PRO (yes) CON (no)
Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, wrote in the Aug. 26, 2009 article "Right-to-Carry in Restaurants" published on www.nraila.org:
"When Right-to-Carry [a concealed handgun] is proposed anywhere, our opponents whip up fear and hysteria about ‘blood in the streets.’ Of course, the mayhem never materializes. When Right-to-Carry passes, only a small percentage of the population applies for a permit. By definition, these people are law-abiding. But that small percentage of the public is enough to change the odds against predatory criminals…

Facts can dispel the fears of legislators, but not those that afflict opponents of self-defense. As I’ve said before, our opponents suffer from a fear of change, a fear of the unknown, and - strangest of all - a fear of their fellow citizens and neighbors...

As we advance the right of self-defense through Right-to-Carry, the only people who should retreat into fear are violent criminals."

Aug. 26, 2009 - Chris W. Cox 

James Q. Wilson, PhD, Professor of Political Science at Boston College, wrote in an Oct. 13, 2000 article "Guns and Bush" published on Slate.com:
"[John] Lott’s work convinces me that the decrease in murder and robbery in states with shall-issue laws, even after controlling statistically for every other cause of crime reduction, is real and significant. Of the many scholars who were given Lott’s data and did their own analyses, most agree with his conclusions. States that passed these laws experienced sharp drops in murder, rape, robbery, and assault, even after allowing for the effects of poverty, unemployment, police arrest rates, and the like. States that did not pass these laws did not show comparable declines. And these declines were not trivial – he is writing about as many as 1,000 fewer murders and rapes and 10,000 few robberies. Carrying concealed guns reduces – it does not increase – the rate of serious crime, and that reduction is vastly greater than the generally trivial effect of gun-carrying on accidental shootings."

Oct. 13, 2000 - James Q. Wilson, PhD 

John Lott, PhD, Visiting Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland at College Park, wrote in his 2000 book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws:
"Ordinary, law-abiding citizens who own handguns and carry licensed, concealed weapons rarely use their guns except in matters of self-defense. Criminals and those who carry illegal and unlicensed firearms are typically those who commit violent crimes. It is a fact that in communities where citizens have been granted licenses to carry concealed weapons and are not restricted from keeping loaded guns in their homes, crime rates drop. Such conditions have proven to be a deterrent to crimes such as home invasions, burglaries, muggings and car-jackings because criminals will not risk being confronted by a victim's firearm. Tightening laws restricting the use and possession of firearms does not protect average law-abiding citizens; it only puts them at greater risk. Enforcing licensing restrictions, trigger locks, and waiting periods makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and as a result encourages criminal activity. Only criminals benefit when ordinary citizens are deprived of their right to own a firearm and protect themselves, their homes, and their families."

2000 - John Lott, PhD 

John Patrick Mullins, PhD, Professor of History at Marymount University, wrote in "Allowing Private Citizens to Carry Guns Reduces Crime and Protects Gun Owners" published in 2005's Current Controversies: Guns and Violence:
"A man with a concealed-carry license who walks along a crowded sidewalk, carrying a pistol in a shoulder holster under his coat, no more poses an objective threat to the lives of pedestrians than a man with a driver's license who drives his car down that same street. Indeed, a one-ton Oldsmobile could kill a lot more people if the driver accidentally swerved onto that crowded sidewalk than a 9mm Beretta could kill even if fired into the crowd deliberately by a cool-headed marksman.

It is no more rational or moral to prohibit the bearing of concealed handguns by law-abiding citizens in public so as to reduce murders, than it would be to prohibit the driving of automobiles down public streets to reduce hit and runs. If ‘gun control’ advocates were really concerned with saving lives, and reducing violent crime, they would demand states introduce concealed gun permits rather then viciously opposing them."

Apr. 24, 1999 - John Patrick Mullins, PhD 

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus wrote in "SCCC Campus Handout" on www.concealedcampus.org (accessed July 14, 2010):
"Declaring a college campus a ‘gun free zone’ may make some people feel safer, but as the April 16, 2007, massacre at Virginia Tech and the February 14, 2008, massacre at Northern Illinois University illustrated, feeling safe is not the same as being safe. Denying licensed individuals the means to defend themselves on college campuses turns institutions of higher learning into supermarkets for would-be rapists and mass murderers.

Current state laws and school policies prohibit licensed, law-abiding citizens from carrying concealed handguns onto college campuses, while doing nothing to disarm individuals not concerned with following the rules. These laws and policies hand armed madmen, like the Virginia Tech and NIU killers, virtual cornucopias of defenseless victims. In the event of a school shooting, students and faculty are left with no recourse but to hide under their desks, hoping to survive until enough police arrive to formulate a plan and storm the building.”

Aug. 2006 - Students for Concealed Carry on Campus 

Robert Cottrol, JD, PhD, Professor of Law and History at George Washington University, wrote in the article "Gun Control Is Racist, Sexist, and Classist" published in the Sept. 1999 issue of American Enterprise:
"In recent years a majority of states have passed laws permitting honest citizens to carry concealed weapons, and the results tell us much about self-defense and the responsibility of the average citizen. Once it was passionately argued that such laws would turn minor altercations into bloody shoot-outs; now we know better. Over 1 million Americans have licenses to carry firearms, but firearms misuse by this group has been utterly negligible. Criminologists now debate not how much harm has been caused by concealed-carry laws, but how much good...

[A right to bear arms] says the individual is not simply a helpless bystander in the difficult and dangerous task of ensuring his or her safety. Instead, the citizen is an active participant, an equal partner with the state in ensuring not only his own safety but that of his community. This is a serious right for serious people. It takes the individual from servile dependency on the state to the status of participating citizen, capable of making intelligent choices in defense of one’s life and ultimately one’s freedom. This conception of citizenship recognizes that the ultimate civil right is the right to defend one’s own life, that without that right all other rights are meaningless, and that without the means of self-defense the right to self-defense is but an empty promise."

Sept. 1999 - Robert Cottrol, JD, PhD 

Cliff Stearns, US Representative (R-FL), wrote in a Jan. 26, 2009 article available at www.humanevents.com:
"The right to bear arms is more than a Constitutional right: every human being has the natural unalienable right to self-defense… Right to carry laws respect the right to self-defense by allowing individuals to carry concealed firearms for their own protection.

So many liberal politicians and self-appointed experts want to keep honest Americans from having access to firearms, even though, since 2003, in states which allow concealed carry, violent crime rates have been lower than anytime since the mid-1970s. The reverse logic of this ‘knee jerk’ reaction is astounding and has lead to an outright assault on our basic Constitutional and natural rights. These misguided policies to keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens literally mean a death sentence for thousands of Americans…

Allowing law-abiding people to arm themselves offers more than piece of mind for those individuals - it pays off for everybody through lower crime rates…

In 1987, my home state of Florida enacted a ‘shall issue’ law that has become the model for other states. Anti-gun groups, politicians and the news media predicted the new law would lead to vigilante justice and ‘Wild West’ shootouts on every corner.

But since adopting a concealed carry law Florida’s total violent crime rate has dropped 32% and its homicide rate has dropped 58%. Floridians, except for criminals, are safer due to this law.”

Jan. 26, 2009 - Cliff Stearns 

Morgan Reynolds, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Texas A&M University, and H. Sterling Burnett, PhD, Policy Analyst at National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote in the Nov. 17, 1997 brief analysis "No Smoking Guns: Answering Objections to Right-to-Carry Laws:"
"Concealed carry laws have not contributed to a big increase in gun ownership. Nor has allowing citizens the right to carry firearms for self-protection led to the negative consequences claimed by critics. In fact, these laws have lowered violent crime rates and increased the general level of knowledge concerning the rights, responsibilities and laws of firearm ownership.

Putting unarmed citizens at the mercy of armed and violent criminals was never a good idea. Now that the evidence is in, we know that concealed carry is a social good.
"

Nov. 17, 1997 - H. Sterling Burnett, PhD 
Morgan Reynolds, PhD 

Gun Owners of America wrote in the resource "Why Adopt a Vermont-style CCW Law?" published on www.gunowners.org (accessed July 14, 2010):
"The Second Amendment guarantees that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ This means that law-abiding citizens should not need to beg the government for permission to carry a firearm. That would turn the ‘right’ to bear arms into a mere ‘privilege.’ Likewise, one should not have to be photographed, fingerprinted, or registered before they can exercise their Second Amendment rights. Criminals certainly do not jump through these ‘hoops.’ The Second Amendment is no different than any of the other protections enumerated in the Bill of Rights. That is, honest citizens should not need a government issued permission slip; rather, they should be able to carry as a matter of right."

July 14, 2010 - Gun Owners of America 

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence wrote in the resource "Federal Concealed Carry" available on www.bradycampaign.org (accessed July 19, 2010):
"Allowing untrained, or under-trained, persons to carry loaded hidden handguns in public puts people at risk of being killed or injured, intentionally and unintentionally. It also makes it harder for law enforcement to identify the real perpetrators during a shooting. Allowing more people to carry concealed handguns in densely populated cities, on crowded subways, buses and sports stadiums, is a recipe for disaster…

Almost every major law enforcement organization — including the International Brotherhood of Police Officers and the International Association of Chiefs of Police — thinks law enforcement should have discretion over the carrying of concealed handguns in public…

The public is overwhelmingly against allowing regular citizens to bring their guns into public places like sports stadiums, college campuses and bars.”

July 19, 2010 - Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 

Kristen Rand, Violence Policy Center Legislative Director, was quoted in the Mar. 24, 2010 press release "Concealed Handgun Permit Holders Have Killed at Least 151 Since May 2007, Including 9 Law Enforcement Officers - 'Concealed Carry Killers' Web Site March Update" available on www.vpc.org:
"Each month we are finding more and more killings by concealed handgun permit holders. Just as opponents of weak concealed carry laws warned, we now know that concealed handgun permit holders are killing people in road rage incidents, arguments over parking spaces, and domestic disputes.  The incidents we document graphically demonstrate how the presence of a handgun escalates an argument to a homicide.  How many more people must die at the hands of concealed carry killers before state legislators act to fix these laws?”

Mar. 24, 2010 - Kristen Rand, JD 

Legal Community Against Violence wrote in the Dec. 11, 2009 publication "America Caught in the Crossfire: How Concealed Carry Laws Threaten Public Safety" available at www.lcav.org:
"Thanks to a relentless campaign by the gun lobby, state concealed carry laws (commonly known as ‘CCW’ laws) aren’t just bad; they’re getting worse…

Americans want solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic – which kills more than 30,000 and injuries almost 70,000 each year – and understand that widespread carrying of concealed weapons isn’t the answer; it’s part of the problem…

Most existing CCW permitting schemes are full of dangerous gaps, allowing too many people to carry weapons in too many public places.

Contrary to the claims of the gun lobby, research shows that permissive CCW laws do not decrease crime. In fact, these laws may increase crime.”

Dec. 11, 2009 - Legal Community Against Violence 

Mike Duggan, JD, Wayne County Prosecutor at the time of the quote, wrote in the Jan. 14, 2001 editorial "Repeal Evil Legislation That Allows More Handguns and Crime on Streets" published in Detroit News:
"The argument that more guns makes us safer is made by Professor John Lott, who usually doesn’t mention that his work is paid for by the Olin Foundation, the Olin Co. being the manufacturer of Winchester ammunition.

Lott’s argument that more guns has reduced crime in other states is absurd. Crime has gone down everywhere in the last decade with the growth in the economy, but it has dropped twice as fast in states that turned down this legislation, including Michigan.

Police chiefs, prosecutors and nearly all law enforcement organizations are united in fighting this legislation 
[which requires Michigan gun boards to issue concealed gun permits to residents] because of the disturbing experiences in other states. In Texas, state police reports show that more than 3,000 crimes have been committed by concealed weapon permit holders in the four years the law has been in effect, including murder, rape, child pornography and more than 500 assaults."

Jan. 14, 2001 - Mike Duggan, JD 

Charles Schumer, JD, US Representative (D-NY), wrote in the Sep. 4, 1996 article "Gun-Control Thesis Is a Shot in the Dark" in the Wall Street Journal:
"John R. Lott Jr.'s thesis - that concealed weapons laws reduce crime rates - flies in the face of common sense and a body of scholarly research. The bottom line: Crime is going down despite concealed weapons laws, not because of them….

The Associated Press reports that Prof. Lott's fellowship at the University of Chicago is funded by the Olin Foundation, which is 'associated with the Olin Corporation,' one of the nation's largest gun manufacturers. Maybe that's a coincidence, too. But it's also a fact.”

Sep. 4, 1996 - Charles Schumer, JD 

Adam Lichtenheld, Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at DC Bureau, wrote in the Oct. 19, 2005 article "Concealed-carry Law Threatens Order" published in the Badger Herald:
"You don't need to be a staunch anti-gun advocate to see why letting people carry guns in banks, churches, university dormitories, and the state Capitol is a fundamentally bad idea. While granting citizens the means to protect themselves, it also gives criminals the means to commit crimes. Concealed-carry extends more rights to crooks and felons, guaranteeing that some weapons will fall into the wrong hands, making law-enforcement a virtual nightmare...

Police, more than anybody, would know how the presence of a handgun endangers all parties, including the gun's owner—for 12 percent of law enforcement officers killed by firearms are shot to death with their own service weapon. Guns quickly escalate a situation, and bringing one into the fold—imagine a drunken brawl or back alley mugging—only stands to make things much, much worse. You go from losing your wallet to losing your life; you go from enduring a black eye or a bloody nose to suffering from a gunshot wound.” 

Oct. 19, 2005 - Adam Lichtenheld 

Robert Menendez, JD, US Senator (D-NY), stated at a July 21, 2009 press conference in opposition to an amendment that would allow an individual who holds a concealed weapons permit in one state to travel with a loaded concealed weapon to any of the other states that also issue permits, available at menendez.senate.gov:
"One must ask, beyond the basic right to bear arms, why we need to legalize and make it easier to conceal them for those whose motives may not be pure to carry a weapon into a playground or a crowded stadium... Do we want to set in motion a situation in already overarmed and overweaponized cities in which some of us for whatever reasons find it necessary to conceal a weapon from the rest of us and do it with the blessings of the federal government. Do we want to raise our children to believe that you have to carry a gun to protect yourself from people who may be carrying guns?...

Who do we really think will be carrying that Glock 39 into a playground or a stadium, a church, a synagogue, or a mosque? It will not be me, and certainly will not be Governor Corzine or any of my colleagues. It will not be anyone in this room. It may very well be the white supremacist who allegedly murdered three Pittsburgh police officers on his front porch with an AK-47. The suicide shooter who murdered ten in an Alabama rampage. The Minnesota man charged with murdering his wife. They were all concealed permit holders."

July 21, 2009 - Robert Menendez, JD 

Barack Obama, JD, US Senator (D-IL) at the time of the quote, was quoted in the Apr. 2, 2008 article "Candidates' Gun Control Positions May Figure in Pa. Vote" in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
"I am not in favor of concealed weapons. I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations."

Apr. 2, 2008 - Barack Obama, JD 

Thom Mannard, Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) at the time of the quote, was quoted in the Apr. 14, 2010 press release "Why Does the Illinois State Rifle Association Deny That Concealed Weapons Permit Holders Have Killed 139 Since May 2007, Including 9 Cops" available on www.supgv.org:
"I think the ISRA [Illinois State Rifle Association]should explain to the public why carrying hidden and loaded handguns in public is a good idea when we have a mountain of evidence that too many CCW permit holders in other states are unstable and violent, resulting in an appalling number of homicides. This evidence points to one conclusion, that a concealed weapons law is dangerous and a major threat for Illinois residents."

Apr. 14, 2010 - Thom Mannard 

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