Carry On

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A story in yesterday's Washington Times summarized recent developments regarding the right to carry a concealed firearm:

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski, a Republican, signed a bill in June that allows residents to carry concealed weapons without applying for a special permit. The new law would also allow permit-holders from any state to freely carry their weapons in Alaska.

The Missouri legislature is poised to soon override the veto of Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, and validate a bill passed this spring allowing the right to carry concealed weapons.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court last month defied a 130-year-old ban on carrying concealed weapons, ruling that "if the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is to mean anything, it must, as a general matter, permit a person to…sometimes conceal arms" to protect himself.

In May, a new Colorado law took effect that allows "any competent person over 21" who "can show proper training in handgun use" to receive a concealed carry permit….

And in Minnesota, a liberal enclave historically hostile to gun rights, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, signed a bill in April that made that state the 35th to permit concealed firearms. Before 1987, only 10 states allowed the carrying of a concealed weapon.

The Times notes that anti-gun activists, while still disputing John Lott's argument that such laws reduce crime, now concede they were wrong in predicting that letting people carry guns would lead to a surge in violence. "My conclusion, looking at crime rates and concealed carry permits is that it doesn't have any effect on crime," says Jim Kessler of Americans for Gun Safety. "It doesn't add to crime either. It's basically a wash."

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  1. What about Massachusetts? Here, we’re advised to hire a lawyer before even applying for a ‘concealed carry’ permit.

  2. Well this is all well and good but I live in the People’s Republic of D.C. where I don’t even think I’m allowed to own a slingshot.

    For a patriot, Washington DC is one of the worst places to live:

    Taxation w/o Representation
    Guns are illegal
    Corrupt local gov’t

    But at least we have great bars, lots of young, intelligent hot chicks, and Thievery Corporation.

  3. So tell us more about these young, hot, intelligent chicks! Are they receptive to poorly chosen one line pickups, or do you have to get them drunk first? Does my wingman need to be an equally intelligent capitol intern or can he be my Coors swilling high school buddy that crashes on my couch when he comes to town?

  4. Personally, I can see both sides of it (concealed vs. open carry). IMHO, both should be legal for anyone not convicted of a violent felony or judged mentally incompetent (like the retarded for example). I’m not even sure it makes sense to prevent convicted felons, if only because they are the ones most likely to obtain guns illegally anyway if they wish to continue a life of crime. It just makes the legitimate sellers of guns (and the general public) feel better employing a policy of not knowingly selling guns to people very likely to do harm with them.

    At its root, most libertarians seem to support the concealed carry laws because they are a step in the right direction (like medical marijuana laws) but it still is granting legitimacy on some level to the notion that the state has the right to merit out a right as a priviledge to those deemed worthy. Private property owners should be the only ones determining what types of guns are allowed on their property, under what circumstances and how they are kept there.

  5. “As for the last quote in the post, isn’t Americans for Gun Safety actually a pro-gun group that is slightly more moderate than the NRA? Or do I have them mixed up with someone else?”

    You have bought their spin, my friend. They are as anti-gun as anyone, but have better PR.

  6. “Why is concealing your weapon so important? Are you ashamed? If carrying a gun into Liquor World is such a fine, upstanding thing to do, why do you have to hide it?”

    It’s so you don’t scare liberal Democrats and visiting Frenchmen.

  7. “I’m not even sure it makes sense to prevent convicted felons, if only because they are the ones most likely to obtain guns illegally anyway if they wish to continue a life of crime.”

    Of course, all convicted felons are prevented from owning guns, but most were never convicted of a violent act (and many were convicted of things that shouldn’t be crimes in the first place).

    Frankly, if a convicted felon does represent a threat to society, he shouldn’t be walking the streets at all. And, like you said, gun control has failed to prevent violent felons from obtaining guns anyway.

  8. “concealing weapons is a social good. if you are a violent criminal you never know who has a weapon. this is perhaps statistically insignificant, …”

    If the criminal only mugs one person, it probably is statistiaclly insignificant, but if he mugs people on a regular basis his risk rises considerably. Let’s say he robs enough people to have a 5% risk of being shot this year–would YOU want a 5% chance of being shot this year?

  9. Minnesota’s law was called “concealed carry” but the press, but really isn’t. It puts no restriction on whether you must conceal or not. But you can’t brandish.

    That is just one of the many after-the-fact complaints that naysaysers have about the law. I think more like “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”

  10. Don,

    Most Frenchmen are likely more adept at gun use than most Americans; of course that’s partly the result of conscription. I myself own several firearms, and they don’t scare me.

    BTW, gun ownership in Western Europe is much higher than the American meme about such realises.

  11. yeah because “America” in Crow/Jean’s mind is just NYC or DC, not Wyoming or Michigan where people are raised with firearms.

    (is jean/crow for real or just satire? hard to say, if the former he borders on self-parody).

  12. “Most Frenchmen are likely more adept at gun use than most Americans; of course that’s partly the result of conscription.”

    You mean the French army teaches their conscripts how to shoot the FAMAS, and not just how to attach a white flag to it?

  13. “BTW, gun ownership in Western Europe is much higher than the American meme about such realises.”

    Actually, there was that recent study that showed that places like Afganistan & sub-Saharan Africa had few guns per captia, while Europe had quite a few. The US had the most, almost a gun per person.

    In some (few) respects, European gun laws are better than those in America.

  14. Anon @ 4:31,

    How am I supposed to an anonymous poster seriously?

    I’ve never lived in DC or NYC (visited yes); I have lived in Alabama, Oregon, North Carolina, and Vermont however. My impression was that though many Americans own guns, many of those who do own them aren’t very adept in the use of them.

    Don,

    Yes, when I was a conscript they taught us how to shoot “Le Clarion.” Of course the FAMAS that I used is not the one in service today. France has since moved from the F1 to the G2 (there was an intermediate G1); the latter carries a few more rounds, has a slightly higher rate of fire, and a significant increase in its effective range. An upgraded version of the G2 is to be used in France’s version of the US “Land Warrior” system; FELIN it is called.

    The rebels in the Cote d’Ivorie recently got a taste of what the G2 can dish out when the Foreign Legion pasted them in late July.

  15. Don,

    As far as my experience with France teaches me, European gun laws are all bark and very little bite, especially in the rural areas of France. However, just as in America, you get serious gun law prosecution efforts in the big cities, specifically Paris.

  16. The Wisconsin case was the very refreshing situation we so rarely see. The voters passed a state constitutional amendment much like that of other states, or the U.S. 2nd amendment, recognizing the right to keep and bear arms. Prosecutors wanted to ignore the change in the constitution, relying on the fact that no implementing legislation had been passed changing the concealed-carry ban under the old version of the document. A majority of the State Supreme Court effectively said “that amendment MEANS something” and Mr. Hamdan, who lives over the store, had the right to have and use a gun in his home/business for self-defense.

    See:

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/jul03/155137.asp

    The state legislature, which is in Republican hands, will want to pass enabling legislation for the amendment in light of this ruling. The new governor, a Madison “liberal” Democrat, and former Atty. Genl., will be unlikely to sign a version 2nd amendment advocates will be happy with. The same conservative Republican/outstate Democrat coalition that got the job done in MN might produce a veto-proof bill, though.

    Kevin

  17. “the latter carries a few more rounds, has a slightly higher rate of fire, and a significant increase in its effective range.”

    I would assume that the significant increase in effective range is due to adoption of the SS109 cartridge (and an increase in the rifling twist rate corresponding to the longer bullet). The US M-16 uses a very fast twist rate, because of the very long tracer rounds. However, that means that it can use much heavier bullets, like the Sierra 80s that have beat .308 gas rifles in competition at 1,000 yards (and regularly beat them at 600).

  18. No permits needed–far out! Not much point in owning a concealed weapon if the JBT’s know you’ve got it.

    amr,

    So the same people who were the backbone of the Non-Partisan League and Farmer-Labor Party are for concealed carry. Rural Minnesota sounds like a pretty neat place. I already liked Garrison Keillor, so this clinches the deal.

  19. “My impression was that though many Americans own guns, many of those who do own them aren’t very adept in the use of them.”

    Here in Southern California I notice that a lot of people shoot off of the bench, which isn’t a good way to develop good shooting skills (except for bench rest skills, but a lot of these people use poor bench rest technique).

    Of course, in basic training the US Army has its soldiers sight in using a special target at 25 m (or 30 m, I forget which is current), and then they go through an easy test of shooting pop-up targets at ranges up to 300 m. All of the forementioned is done resting the rifle on sandbags! Those with an Infantry MOS (and maybe others) get more rifle training. The USMC, by contrast, has its riflemen shoot on a bullseye course out to 500 m during basic traing, without using the sandbag rest.

  20. Bravo! Can it be that allowing law abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons has zero net affect on increasing crime? Hopefully for some anti-gun nutz, they can get off their hysteria and start looking at the data. Now if the same can apply to the drug warriors!

  21. anti-gun nutz actually accepting data. It’s sounds too much like sound logic and comon sense for the American political process. It can’t last.

  22. This article was instructive. I think I’ve devised a new definition.

    Ideology (n.) The philosophical attempt to obscure the obvious, and delay the inevitable, in order to control everyone in the world through unnatural coercion, and to psychologically justify a personal, but realistically unsustainable, view of the world. Almost always countered by real-world data (eventually).

  23. Why is concealing your weapon so important? Are you ashamed? If carrying a gun into Liquor World is such a fine, upstanding thing to do, why do you have to hide it?

    What’s insane to me is that some states allow weapons to be carried concealed, but not openly. What the hell is that?

  24. Joe, the primary reason for concealing a weapon is so you don’t scare the hell of other people. Allows you to go out about your business without having every other person calling the cops on you.

    I have worn a firearm openly, but that was during hunting season in Maine, so nobody was weirded out by it.

  25. As a Minnesotan, I must argue with the depiction of our state as “a liberal enclave historically hostile to gun rights.” The gun bill passed with much support from rural Democrats. It had only been held up in the past by Democratic leadership in the Senate that had lost a couple of seats, probably on this issue. And it was about damned time.

    Sure, the core cities and first-ring burbs are anti-gun, but gun rights are a major issue outstate (with nearly half of the population).

    I also can’t think of a single anti-gun candidate elected to statewide state office. And even (federal candidates) Senators Wellstone and Dayton had to show some pro-gun bonafides to get elected.

    On the other issue:
    I got a couple of anti-gun friends to concede that there might be truth to my side by arguing “at worst, there’s no effect on crime rates, so why not err on the side of liberty.” Anti-gun liberals (at least the ones I know) rarely think of gun possession as a liberty.

  26. It’s called the “element of surprise”.

    But seriously. Wearing a weapon openly in some places would be like wearing a sign that reads “Dear Thug, Please come and take your best shot.”

    Also, carrying concealed leaves open the possibility that if you have an altercation with someone, you (the person with the gun) can try to resolve/defuse the situation without displaying the weapon.

  27. As for the last quote in the post, isn’t Americans for Gun Safety actually a pro-gun group that is slightly more moderate than the NRA? Or do I have them mixed up with someone else?

  28. One other thing: two (Somali) Minneapolis Cab drivers have been shot on their routes in the past month. I expect (and hope for) cabbies to start applying for gun permits very soon. Under the old law, they would have had to ask the county sheriff, who wouldn’t have issued them permits unless the cabby had an actual gun-wielding murderer in his back seat, and then only sometimes.

  29. concealing weapons is a social good. if you are a violent criminal you never know who has a weapon. this is perhaps statistically insignificant, but is a rational argumetn and very significant (to you) if you are the one the perp chooses to avoid.

  30. Is shooting while sitting actually a useful skill?

  31. Talking about “European gun laws” is pretty misleading, considering that there are a bunch of very different countries in Europe with very different gun laws. Switzerland and Britain, to take an extreme example, are as different as day and night.

  32. Don,

    You’re half right on the Army’s marksmanship training. Half the shots are from the fighting position (sandbag) and half are from the prone (sans sandbag). But it’s still a fairly weak program overall.

    I guess we saw how seriously some of those support units in Iraq take their basic infantry fighting skills…

  33. Rob,

    What part is prone? I wasn’t aware of that in basic.

    In DCM shooting (gov sponsered civilian shooting, now called CMP), it is 50 shots total, fired offhand, sitting, and prone. NRA Highpower is basically the same thing, except it is 80 shots, at ranges from 200 yrds (offhand & sitting) to 600 yards (prone). People who shoot Highpower and other competitioons tend to be very good riflemen, but alas many people I see at the range spend all their time shooting from a rest, and sometimes they even do that badly. Of course this is Southern California, maybe the hunters in Pennsylvania or the South do much better (not a lot of hunters around here). I’m planning on going to a reduced range (300 yrd — real Palma is shot at 800, 900, and 1,000) Palma match this Saturday — 45 rounds all prone slowfire.

  34. Nicholas,

    I’d have to agree with you, from what I know. However, you picked two extreems. France, Germany, Italy, etc., seem to be more in line with one another, and they fall somewhere between England and Switzerland.

    I remember a Finn on a certain gun board. He was a hunter who had an interest (and knowledge) of military arms. Yet owning arms for personal defense was something he didn’t agree with. Arms for defending the state or nailing Bambi were fine; a .38 for defending the home was bad, bad, bad.

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