Last updated on: 12/23/2020 | Author: ProCon.org

Pro & Con Quotes: Should Adults Have the Right to Carry a Concealed Handgun?

PRO (yes)

Pro 1

Everytown for Gun Safety, in an undated article, “Strong Standards for Carrying Concealed Guns in Public,” accessed on Dec. 15, 2020, available at everytownresearch.org, stated: 

“Carrying guns in public is a tremendous responsibility. States should set strong minimum standards for carrying concealed guns in public to ensure that people who are too dangerous or irresponsible to carry guns in our communities are blocked from doing so. This can include requiring that a person pass a background check, get a concealed carry permit, and undergo safety training that includes live-fire experience. States can also allow law enforcement to block people who pose a danger to the public from carrying concealed handguns in public. States also decide which out-of-staters may carry concealed handguns within their borders—and they should not allow the carry of guns by people with permits from states with standards weaker than their own.” 

Dec. 15, 2020

Pro 2

Todd Blodgett, conservative writer and former staff member to President Reagan, in a Jan. 2, 2019 article, “Trump’s Proposed Concealed-Carry Law Will Reduce Crime, Protect Americans,” available at desmoinesregister.com, stated:

“[V]iolent crime tends to drop in states that enact concealed-carry laws. I imagine that’s because even thugs prefer breathing to being blown away. I hold concealed-carry permits issued by Iowa and Utah, and nearly always carry a loaded handgun — usually, a .380 pocket pistol. I’ve not been victimized since I began carrying. Before that, though, I was hospitalized for two weeks in Washington, D.C., after being brutally mugged. A loaded gun aimed at violent perpetrators facilitates an instant attitude adjustment, and law-abiding, innocent U.S. citizens should be able to protect — with deadly force, if necessary — their lives, property, and the lives of others. With 50-state concealed-carry, some carjackers, muggers, rapists, would-be killers, home invaders and other violence-prone perps, will likely be snuffed out by their intended victims. But where’s the downside? Not all violence is bad, and permanently retiring such vicious reprobates would be good riddance… After all, when attacked by depraved miscreants who threaten innocent lives and personal property, law-abiding Americans should be allowed to take out the trash.”

Jan. 2, 2019

Pro 3

Joseph Greenlee, JD, attorney and Director of Research at the Firearms Policy Coalition, in a Feb. 4, 2019 article, “Concealed Carry and the Right to Bear Arms,” available at fedsoc.org, stated:

“The Supreme Court has elucidated that the scope of the Second Amendment is defined by the founding-era understanding of the right, as informed by American history and tradition. A historical analysis shows that both concealed and open carry are protected by the right, and that a government may only restrict one if the other remains available for law-abiding citizens to exercise.”

Feb. 4, 2019

Pro 4

Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, in a 2016 position paper titled “Second Amendment Rights,” available from his presidential campaign website, wrote:

“Our personal protection is ultimately up to us. That’s why I’m a gun owner, that’s why I have a concealed carry permit, and that’s why tens of millions of Americans have concealed carry permits as well. It’s just common sense… The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.”

2016 - Donald J. Trump

Pro 5

Kurt Eichenwald, Senior Writer at Newsweek, in a July 16, 2015 article for Newsweek titled “Americans Don’t Have the Right to Bear Just Any Arms,” wrote:

“[A]nyone who wants to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon should be given one. All states allow for concealed carry, but many states – like California, New Jersey and Maryland – have what are called ‘may issue’ statutes, meaning people who qualify for a license might not be allowed to receive one. In some states, it’s up to county officials to decide who gets to carry a gun inside his or her coat. Here’s reality: A criminal or disturbed person will carry a concealed weapon, licensed or not. Under the universal background check system, anyone walking into a state office seeking a concealed carry permit has already been screened; there’s no reason to deny that person a license if he or she meets the additional requirements.”

July 16, 2015 - Kurt Eichenwald

Pro 6

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 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

Pro 7

The Orange County Register stated the following in a Mar. 11, 2014 editorial, “Sheriff Sides with Self-Defense,” available at ocregister.com:

“The new policy in Orange County is worthy of praise, and one the other counties should follow, as the sheriff joins with a majority of state and local law enforcement agencies that allow ‘concealed carry’ under similar provisions.

Thirty-six states, and a number of inland and rural California counties that traditionally have been more permissive in defining a good cause for carrying a concealed gun, are largely not hotbeds of gun crime. In fact, the state with the lowest level of gun murders per capita, according to a 2010 FBI study, was Vermont, whose high court banned requirements on permits for carrying weapons in 1903…

It is reassuring to see the O.C. Sheriff placing the law before political considerations. We hope to see police agencies in neighboring counties soon follow suit.”

Mar. 11, 2014 - Orange County Register

Pro 8

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

Pro 9

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

Pro 10

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus wrote in “SCCC Campus Handout” on the Students for Concealed Carry website (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.”

July 14, 2010 - Students for Concealed Carry on Campus

Pro 11

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

Pro 12

Cliff Stearns, US Representative (R-FL), wrote in a Jan. 26, 2009 article available at the Human Events website:

“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… [S]ince 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

CON (no)

Con 1

The Giffords Law Center, in an undated article, “Guns in Public: Concealed Carry,” accessed on Dec. 15, 2020 at giffords.org, stated:

“Guns carried in public pose a danger to public safety, and lax concealed carry laws increase the risk of violent confrontations. The carrying of concealed, loaded guns in public places can quickly escalate everyday conflicts into deadly altercations, causing tragic, irreversible damage to innocent lives. These dangers are amplified when the permitting standards for concealed carry are weakened. Despite this public safety risk, the gun lobby continues to push dangerous proposals that would weaken or eliminate the permitting requirements for carrying concealed firearms in public… Guns carried in public pose a substantial threat to public safety. A robust body of academic literature shows that when more people carry guns in public, violent crime increases. –The most comprehensive and rigorous study of concealed carry laws found that in states with weak permitting laws, violent crime rates were 13% to 15% higher than predicted had such laws not been in place. –Weak concealed-carry permitting laws are also associated with 11% higher rates of homicide committed with handguns compared with states with stronger permitting systems.”

Dec. 15, 2020

Con 2

John J. Donohue, III, PhD, JD, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, Abhay Aneja, PhD, JD, postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Economics, and Politics, and Kyle D. Weber, Data Analyst at 7Park Data, in a May 15, 2019 paper, “Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Controls Analysis,” available at law.stanford.edu, stated:

“There is not even the slightest hint in the data from any econometrically sound regression that RTC [right-to-carry] laws reduce violent crime. Indeed, the weight of the evidence from the panel data estimates as well as the synthetic control analysis best supports the view that the adoption of RTC laws substantially raises overall violent crime in the 10 years after adoption.”

May 15, 2019

Con 3

Nina E. Vinik, JD, Program Director for Gun Violence Prevention and Justice Reform at the Joyce Foundation, in a Jan. 16, 2019 article, “Concealed Carry Doesn’t Guarantee Our Safety — It Puts Us at Greater Risk,” available at chicagotribune.com, stated:

“It is extremely rare for a legal gun owner to use a gun successfully in self-defense. A 2015 Harvard study analyzing data from the National Crime Victimization Surveys found that self-defense gun use is rare — victims use guns in less than 1 percent of contact crimes. That same year, there were more than 9,000 criminal homicides involving a gun, compared with just 265 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm, according to the Violence Policy Center. This amounts to about 34 criminal homicides for every one justifiable homicide involving a gun… Examples abound of concealed-gun carriers attempting — and failing — to thwart crimes, often with deadly consequences. Last year in Portland, Ore., Portland State University campus police officers arrived as a “good Samaritan” with a concealed carry permit was trying to break up a fight. The police saw the gun held by the permit holder — a Navy veteran, postal worker and father of three — and in the confusion shot and killed him… With gun-related deaths topping nearly 40,000 in 2017 in the U.S., according to federal data, anyone who is seriously considering carrying a gun for self-protection would do well to consider the evidence.”

Jan. 16, 2019

Con 4

In Peruta vs. County of San Diego, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a June 9, 2016 opinion written by Circuit Judge W. Fletcher, held that:

“[We] conclude that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms does not include, in any degree, the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public…

The Second Amendment may or may not protect to some degree a right of a member of the general public to carry a firearm in public. If there is such a right, it is only a right to carry a firearm openly.”

June 9, 2016

Con 5

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in the “Concealed Weapons Permitting” section of their website, (accessed May 10, 2017), wrote:

“People carrying hidden, loaded handguns in public create unnecessary risks of intentional or accidental shootings. Carrying concealed weapons (‘CCW’) increases the risk that everyday disagreements will escalate into shootouts, especially in places where disputes frequently occur – in bars, at sporting events, and in traffic. Permissive concealed carry laws violate the shared expectation that public places will be safe environments free from guns and gun violence…

Handgun carrying bans were among the earliest gun laws adopted by states; even legendary Old West frontier towns like Dodge City, Kansas, knew better than to allow the carrying of hidden pistols.”

May 10, 2017 - Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Con 6

The Violence Policy Center (VPC), in a Mar. 27, 2017 press release titled “More than 900 Deaths At the Hands of Concealed Carry Killers Since 2007, Latest VPC Research Shows,” available from vpc.org, wrote:

“Innocent victims continue to die at the hands of private citizens with permits to carry concealed handguns… Concealed handgun permit holders are responsible for at least 928 deaths not involving self defense since 2007, including 31 mass shootings that killed 147 people…

The findings of [our research] are consistent with the latest academic research, which shows that state laws allowing concealed handguns in public do not increase public safety – in fact, they do the opposite.”

Mar. 27, 2017 - Violence Policy Center (VPC)

Con 7

States United to Prevent Gun Violence, in “The Hidden Costs Of Concealed Arms, In Dollars And Deaths” section of their website (accessed May 10, 2017), wrote:

“[C]oncealed carry costs us all dearly, in both money and lives.

Idaho universities, for example, have just discovered that they must spend millions of dollars a year to accommodate the state’ new concealed carry law. And the Violence Policy Center, in a report released in February, documented 722 shooting deaths since May 2007 caused by private citizens who were licensed to carry concealed weapons…

Gun nuts argue that allowing people to carry concealed arms anywhere they want, including in schools, churches and state legislatures, enables them to defend themselves and quickly confront threats when the police aren’t around. But statistics show that states with higher rates of gun ownership and weak gun violence prevention laws are not safer but instead have the highest overall gun death rates.”

May 10, 2017 - States United to Prevent Gun Violence

Con 8

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence wrote in the resource “Federal Concealed Carry” available on the Brady Campaign website (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

Con 9

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 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

Con 10

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

Con 11

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, MA

Con 12

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’s Senate website:

“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