John Lott has a long, fact-filled online discussion at the Washington Post regarding gun control and self-defense as it relates to the Virginia Tech shootings. There’s also a link to a similar discussion by the Brady Campaign nit-wits (formerly known as the Handgun Control nit-wits). Lott’s Q&A is about the length of six op-eds and he has a great many facts and much knowledge at his fingertips. The Washington Post deserves credit for allowing John Lott the opportunity to participate, but the Brady Campaign Q&A is mostly a “preaching to the choir” event. Beyond that, they did practically admit that their “gun show loophole” canard is really a back-door “track every sale” mechanism. Their big arguments against students being able to defend themselves with guns are that it’s “crazy” and “Two words…: beer and hormones.”
Concealed Carry has many advantages over Open Carry from a tactical standpoint and I am a proponent of CCW laws. However, one of the big problems from a societal standpoint is that many people don’t realize how many law-abiding, rational, educated, nice folks they come into contact with every day are carrying a gun concealed on their person. I’ve actually had gun rights discussions with acquaintances who’ve said, “I don’t know anyone who carries a gun,” while I had a .45 on my hip. Events like the VT Shooting bring out these “it would be crazy to have armed students in a classroom” statements–statements that have no underlying argument other than an implied, “I certainly don’t know or interact with anyone who carries a gun, and I can’t imagine doing so!” The only things we see in the news related to guns, for the most part, are incidents where guns are used in a crime. (Read The Bias Against Guns). If I pull a gun to ward off a road-rage attacker who gets out of his car to threaten me, as I had to this year, it doesn’t make the news. It mightn’t even have made a police report, even thought I called it in and spoke in person with a local cop. The point is that you almost only hear about criminal gun use, and hardly ever about the more common defensive uses.
We often hear this argument that, “If more people carry concealed weapons, then more confrontations that would just have been a shoving match or at worst a fist fight will escalate to a fatal incidents.” This is a seductive argument–it just sounds so logical and obvious. The only problem is that the theory doesn’t match the evidence. CCW Permit holders just don’t act that way. Permit holders tend to be far more law-abiding and non-violent than other folks. Perhaps it’s just the type of personality that takes the time to go through the CCW permit process rather than just carry illegally. Perhaps it’s that you don’t feel the need to prove you’re tough when you’re carrying, just as a 15 year-olds wouldn’t feel the need to prove themselves against a 5 year-old. Perhaps it’s the realization that any confrontation when you’re armed is going to be a big deal and possibly involve huge legal fees and even prison time if you acted to escalate the potential “shoving match.” Most likely it’s some combination of these and other reasons. Whatever the reasons, the evidence is that CCW holders just don’t go around shooting people over arguments and disagreements.
Ignorance about, and prejudice against concealed carry permit holders is no reason to make schools, buses, trains, restaurants, or anywhere else a “victim disarmament zone.”