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."