Article — From the August 2010 issue

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

My concealed weapon and me

In the 1943 noir thriller The Fallen Sparrow, John Garfield asks the police inspector whether his permit to carry a gun is still valid.

“Good for a year,” the cop says wearily. “Why did you want to carry a gun?”

“To shoot people with, sweetheart!” Garfield snarls, as the cop’s face falls comically.

I think about the ambivalence of that line every time I strap on my .38—mixing the brutality of shooting people with that wise-guy sweetheart. It’s so endearingly American.

Garfield’s were the days when people who wanted a concealed-weapon permit had to convince the police to issue one. Merchants in rough neighborhoods, bodyguards to the rich, and the well connected could usually manage it. The rest went unarmed, or carried illegally. That’s how it was for generations: if you wanted permission to carry a gun, you had to have a good reason.

Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.

Good thing or bad? Most people can answer that question instinctively, depending on how they think about a whole matrix of bigger questions, from the role of government to the moral obligations we have to one another. Politically, the issue breaks along the expected lines, with the NPR end of the dial going one way and the talk-radio end the other.

The gun-carrying revolution started in Florida, which in 1987 had a murder rate 40 percent higher than the national average. Another state might have reacted to such carnage by restricting access to guns, but Florida’s legislature went the other way. Believing that law-abiding citizens should have the means to defend themselves, it ordered police chiefs to issue any adult a carry permit unless there was good reason to deny it. In the history of gun politics, this was a big moment. The gun-rights movement had won just about every battle it had fought since coalescing in the late 1960s, but these had been defensive battles against new gun-control laws. Reversing the burden of proof on carry permits expanded gun rights. For the first time, the movement was on offense, and the public loved it. The change in Florida’s law was called “shall-issue”—as in, the police shall issue the permit and not apply their own discretion. Six states already had such laws, but Florida’s became the model for the twenty-nine others that followed. Most of these states recognize the permits of other shall-issue states. Nine remain “may issue” states, leaving the decision up to local law enforcement. Alaska and Arizona have laws allowing any resident who can legally own a gun to carry it concealed with no special permit. And one—can you guess which?—is silent on the whole issue, meaning anybody over sixteen from any state can walk around secretly armed inside its borders. (Most people guess Texas, but it’s Vermont.) Only two states, Wisconsin and Illinois, flatly forbid civilians to carry concealed guns.[1]

[1] The implications of the Supreme Court’s recent McDonald decision—which established that the Second Amendment confers the right to bear arms on the local level, and not just the federal—remain unclear.

I got hooked on guns forty-nine years ago as a fat kid at summer camp—the one thing I could do was lie on my belly and shoot a .22 rifle—and I’ve collected, shot, and hunted with guns my entire adult life. But I also grew up into a fairly typical liberal Democrat, with a circle of friends politely appalled at my fixation on firearms. For as long as I’ve been voting, I’ve reflexively supported waiting periods, background checks, the assault-rifle ban, and other gun-control measures. None interfered with my enjoyment of firearms, and none seemed to me the first step toward tyranny. As the concealed-carry laws changed across the land, I naturally sided with those who argued that arming the populace would turn fender benders into gunfights. The prospect of millions more gun-carrying Americans left me reliably horrified.

At the same time, though, I was a little jealous of those getting permits. Taking my guns from the safe was a rare treat; the sensual pleasure of handling guns is a big part of the habit. Elegantly designed and exquisitely manufactured, they are deeply satisfying to manipulate, even without shooting. I normally got to play with mine only a few times a year, during hunting season and on one or two trips to the range. The people with carry permits, though, were handling their guns all the time. They were developing an enviable competence and familiarity with them. They were living the gun life. Finally, last year, under the guise of “wanting to learn what this is all about,” but really wanting to live the gun life myself, I began the process of getting a carry permit. All that was required was a background check, fingerprints, and certification that I’d passed an approved handgun class.

I live in Boulder, Colorado, a town so painstakingly liberal that the city council once debated whether people are “owners” or “guardians” of their pets. “Guardians” won. Bill O’Reilly regularly singles out Boulder for his trademark contempt as a place even more California than California. I expected to have to drive some distance to find a class, but it turned out that half a dozen shooting schools operate in the Boulder area, with classes so overbooked I had to wait a month for a vacancy. The number of carry permits issued annually in Boulder—Boulder!—has risen eighteenfold since 2001; almost 3,000 of us, about 1 percent, carry guns, and 900 more apply every year. I began examining more closely the aging hippies milling about Whole Foods.

I ended up taking two gun-carry courses. The first sent me an enrollment-confirmation email on November 5, the day that Major Nidal Hasan killed thirteen people and wounded thirty others at Fort Hood in Texas. The next day, Jason Rodriguez of Orlando, Florida, used a handgun to kill one person and wound five others at the office of his former employer. He told reporters, “I’m angry.”

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is the author, most recently, of <em>Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death and Life in New Orleans</em> (Spiegel & Grau).

More from Dan Baum:

Commentary July 20, 2012, 7:30 pm

The Price of Gun Control

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  • RJ

    A very enlightening perspective. As a young person living in a pretty liberal town, I have little to know experience of guns or their carriers and I’m attempting to educate myself about the gun user / carrier sentiment. This article was a great help

  • http://www.facebook.com/lkahney Leander Kahney

    Guns have no place in any society. I’ve lived in San Francisco 20 years and haven’t encountered any crime. If I did, I’d feel much safer handing over my wallet or talking my way out of a situation than escalating it with a firearm. Shooting someone to protect your possessions is utterly immoral and wicked. It’s corrosive to the soul. Ask soldiers who’ve shot people. It harms them psychologically.

    • dutchs

      “Shooting someone to protect your possessions is utterly immoral and wicked”
      Prove it. Do you really have a coherent proof? Or is this merely your own personal sentiment?

      • http://www.facebook.com/wesley.long.904 Wesley Long

        dutchs, “Immoral” and “Wicked” are, by definition, subjective interpretations of events or positions, and therefore personal to Mr. Kahney. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Mr. Kahney holding those views. The only thing that would be wrong is if he were to try to impose his morality on anyone else through force, either implicitly (legislation) or explicitly (police action).

      • Joe Cosby

        Any morality I can imagine is based on the value of life. To hold any material thing superior to the value of human life would therefore violate any moral standard.

    • shnar

      Tell that to the Chinese, Russians, Serbians, etc…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Delton-Slusher/100001664532262 Delton Slusher

      And getting shot by a criminal because you couldn’t defend yourself harms you physically and psychologically. So you’ve lived 20 years in that shithole and haven’t encountered any crime. Congratulations. And you think your miraculous luck should decide the issue for the rest of the country? You are a very stupid and self-centered man.

    • BishopC

      Would shooting someone to protect yourself be ‘wicked’ or ‘immoral’? How about a member of your family?

      If handing over your wallet would end it, hey, awesome. what if the mugger wants more? So you hand over your watch, your wife’s purse, your car keys to your car… But wait. they now have your address and keys to your door. What’s to keep them from making you a victim again and again?

      You can move or change your locks, get a security system, call the police… Sure that works. Security systems might work but are not always fool proof. Police might take 10-20 minutes to respond. Yelling out that you called the police might give them pause or incentive to find you and cause you greater harm.

      But it’s your freedom to put your faith in strangers to not harm you and if you go your entire life without being harmed in some way, awesome. Very awesome. If you get stabbed to death next week, it will be tragic and could have been prevented.

      • http://twitter.com/merusdraconis Matt Cramp

        “Would shooting someone to protect yourself be ‘wicked’ or ‘immoral’? How about a member of your family?”

        Yes and yes. It is still a life and you can’t stuff it back into the body and be on your way, and trading it for a loved one’s doesn’t mitigate that enough. This is why I try not to get into situations where someone wants to inflict violence on me or my family by living in a country where that’s considered highly, highly unusual.

        I don’t know how this helps the argument America is having, other than suggesting two things: the argument that you have to protect your family from violent people is making a false assumption, that you can’t be sure where violent people are not; and that the issue with guns is, when you get right down to it, an issue with the consequences of America’s values. So basically you guys are proper screwed.

        • BishopC

          You say, “This is why I try not to get into situations where someone wants to inflict violence on me or my family…” As if those that carry open or concealed actively go out looking for trouble just so we’ll have an excuse to shoot someone. If such were true, then I think there is something wrong with that person to the point everyone would be better served by having such an individual checked out.

          As far as I’m concerned. There’s more than enough trouble in the world, that if it’s going to confront me, it’ll have to come to me first. Not me to it. I think the same sentiment is true for other legal carriers, concealed and otherwise.

          At that time, my first option won’t be draw and start blazing away with bullets flying, instead it will be to think. ‘Which way can I go to get away? Is there a fire-door I can go through near by? Is the trouble coming my way? Can I stay here and watch, call the police unnoticed? Will my hand be forced into violence?”

          If and ONLY IF the last question comes up as ‘yes, be ready.’ That’s the point to draw, not before. Otherwise if the other questions get answered with ‘Yes, there’s an exit over there, run now.’ or something similar, then those will be what I do. But since I don’t go to rough parts of town to hang out, I don’t foresee any situation that might be there.

          Although at the same time, I think it better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

          So I’ll say it again: Any day where I don’t have to do anything that involves me in certain violence, then that is an AWESOME day. There isn’t a greater day except the next awesome day where I’m not involved in violence.

    • johnomd

      And you should have the right to believe that, and act accordingly within your personal sphere. You do not, however, have a right to impose your belief on me or infringe on my constitutionally guaranteed rights. Whether you believe the right to bear arms should be constitutionally guaranteed or not is as immaterial as the anti-abortionist that does not think a just society should live under Roe v. Wade–both are, and have been affirmed by the Supreme Court of the land. As an aside, the anti-abortionists also argue that those that receive an abortion are harmed psychologically, and often use that as a pretext to curtail their right “for their own good”, don’t fall into the same trap.

  • Shaun

    Well written and thought out article. As a carrier myself, I appreciate the time you have taken to analyze the mindset whether you continue to carry or not. I wish others were as open minded as you are.

  • dutchs

    The gun debate is not about guns. It’s about who bears the responsibility for social problems. Gun enthusiasts believe the burden lies on people who cause the problems. They should learn to behave. If they can’t learn, intimidate them, incarcerate them, or eliminate them. Their opponents believe the burden lies on society. Restructure society so people no longer have the incentive to commit crime, mentally unbalanced people get therapy, and the rights of all are restricted to prevent a few from abusing them. I don’t own a gun and the last time I fired one was in the Army over ten years ago. But I’m with the put responsibility on the problem-makers school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wesley.long.904 Wesley Long

    Mr. Baum, I commend you. You have discovered the true intent of our Founding Fathers: The Freedom to decide for yourself what you want to do and the Freedom to implement that choice.

    Your open-mindedness about concealed carry is rare coming from the left, and your sincere efforts to understand all sides (not both, but all) of the issue are admirable. Most only know two sides: Theirs and the “enemy’s.”

    As a Libertarian (member, candidate, and former state officer), I salute you. As a fellow human being, I respect you.

    I, too, have been as shocked by the “gun nut” crowd who see us as being under constant threat as I am by the “gun grabber” crowd who refuse to look at any empirical data or participate in an actual debate.

    Knowing that you are actually living in a condition of Freedom to live your life in the manner you wish to is much more important to me than if you are in “White” or “Yellow.”

  • BishopC

    While I don’t oppose Open carry (I carry concealed), I believe that if a person checks out as having been back ground checked, finger printed, etc. Then they can, but at the same time, they shouldn’t get upset when other people take notice.

    As for why I carry concealed? I’ve been in a situation where I’ve had knives pulled on me while delivering pizza and passing out store coupons. I’ve been in a mall where I just didn’t feel it was safe due to a lurking presence of possible gang members and lingering odor of something vaguely drug like in the air mixed with alcohol. It scared me, but it made me fear for my, at the time, step sister who was only 6 or my mom who was pushing 70 and moved at a snail’s pace. She still refuses to be rushed for anything, including getting in the car from the grocery store; despite knowing that five people were mugged in that parking lot the previous week and fifteen more were followed home, beaten and robbed.

    Do I hope to shoot someone when I go out? No. Far from it, I count it as an awesome end of the day when I can lock my door after not having drawn my gun in any way. Will I look for a way to avoid having to shoot anyone? You bet your sweet butt I will. Will I take the shot if I have to? If there is no other way, yes. Will I run like a jackrabbit instead? I’m not paid to take down criminals, there are better folks for that.

  • GRMM

    well… that was awful.

  • http://profiles.google.com/n.k.h.73908513321516 Nathan Harvey

    A simple statistic: if you buy a gun, that gun is more likely to be involved in an accidental child death than in stopping a crime. Backed up by numerous agencies tracking those numbers. Another well validated statistic: the greater gun ownership, the greater number of homicides. Across states around the country, across first world countries around the world.

    • Manse

      Well, Just don’t have kids and that’s not a problem.

    • BishopC

      Having a child has been linked directly to more sick days, sleepless nights and a less healthy eating lifestyle. It has also been proven as giving a couple less discretionary funds to which to spend on other items of pleasure or necessity.

      If you have a car, you’re also more likely to be involved in a wreck in which someone will be injured or killed. If you take a shower you’re at a higher risk for slipping and falling, thus injuring yourself. If you eat grapes whole then you have a higher chance of choking to death. If you walk across a street without looking you have a higher chance of being hit by a car.

      Flinging numbers and such around sounds scary but what are the actual individual situation. The statistic you quoted in some direction, has grounding in fact but doesn’t take into account those that actually care about their children and teach them or act responsibly.

      If you have a child and own a gun but choose not to go the extra step to teach the child how to be a responsible person around a firearm. In that you teach NOT TO TOUCH IT without you there if it is left in the open, loaded and ready to go. Then why should everyone else who did teach such have to suffer for your ignorance and pure laziness?

      Maybe as the child matures, you teach then how to handle a firearm with a responsible manner. Get training for yourself and them. Take the time to show them that a gun is loud and, if you’re not accustom to them, quite frightening.

      I suggest you watch, also a warning about the language used, it’s profane in many extents:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCXtfR0_roE&list=PLC39C37A8AE3DA2F3

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtqufzEFCzw&list=PLC39C37A8AE3DA2F3

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoIKlO20RqM&list=PLC39C37A8AE3DA2F3

      For the argument about violent video games (and my more favorite one to watch):

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWr4htYp9dM&list=PLC39C37A8AE3DA2F3

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ7comwLPFY&list=PLC39C37A8AE3DA2F3

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLBx9XOhsm8&list=PLC39C37A8AE3DA2F3

      • cryptical

        Your comment misses 2 points.

        1. Children, cars, showers, grapes, and walking across the street are not specifically designed to kill people. Guns are.

        2. All the education in the world is not foolproof in preventing an accident with a child. It’s also useless when the child is a young toddler, as some who have been killed accidentally are.

        • BishopC

          You failed to realize what I was reply to was the quote:

          “A simple statistic: if you buy a gun, that gun is more likely to be
          involved in an accidental child death than in stopping a crime.”

          This ‘statistic’ is often cited in a vacuum as if it is the end all answer when using the same ‘logic’ that that ‘statistic’ is put under. ANYTHING a person does raises the statistical chance of a bad outcome. So yes, eating grapes raises your statistic chances of choking to death on a grape. Even more so for children.

          Walking raises your chances of tripping, falling and harming yourself.

          Falling, period is lethal. (About 13 people a DAY according to OSHA) – 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 [BLS revised 2011 workplace fatality data*] (3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers)

          • http://www.facebook.com/lou.costello.336 Lou Costello

            As the author of the article stated, 245 lives saved through use of a personal weapon. Annually about 32,000 die by use of a firearm. The majority of these deaths are suicides (60%). The reason for the choice of the weapon is ease of access and effectiveness. The NIMH places the number of suicides who are mentally ill at 90%. 90% of 60% of 32,000 means 17,280 people who would be determined to be mentally ill have access to firearms.

            You may look at having a weapon in your home as empowering, or as a method for protecting you and yours. I grant you may be one of many who treat weapons with respect, but the typical person, weapon owner or none weapon owner, is a typical person. And by the numbers if you own a weapon at home it is far more likely to harm you and yours than protect. But, I support your right to make that choice.

            However, if 17000+ mentally ill can access firearms, legal firearms which in the worst cases are turned on others, if you followed Fast and Furious and the story of how Arizona is fast becoming the weapon supplier to Mexican drug lords through initially legal purchases of firearms, and simply look at the amount of crime committed with a weapon where most weapons used in crimes are obtained through straw sales, then there is definitely a problem. A problem which needs to be discussed and corrected.

            The second amendment is second because it is important. And the opening words to the second amendment are “A well regulated…” I will always oppose any attempt to repeal this amendment, but it is time for us to find a way federally to enforce its complete meaning.

          • BishopC

            “As the author of the article stated, 245 lives saved through use of a
            personal weapon. Annually about 32,000 die by use of a firearm.”

            Those are just what became news worthy enough to report. No one reports something that didn’t happen from the very start. In the instances cited and not from the very place I cited. Pretty much all of them were as a result of a crime happening at the time.
            So, it got reported.

            If for instance, someone was eying, I’ll call him Armed, for a mugging but before Armed could be mugged. the person, I’ll call… Criminal, found that Armed was, well.. Armed with a weapon that by all realistic instances, is lethal. Criminal being reasonable enough to value his or her own skin and life it contains. Criminal decides to leave Armed alone and go for someone else. Since there was no crime, it never got reported, so no one knows about what didn’t happen.

            Criminal decides to look for an easier target, someone that gets named on the nightly news after being put in the hospital or is declared dead at the scene. We’ll call them, statistic.

            Why was statistic put in the hospital or murdered by criminal? Statistic didn’t desire self protection and announced loudly to Armed that they were proud not to carry a weapon, and that Armed was not welcome anywhere near them because they would call the police on Armed and say that armed threatened them. So statistic fell prey to criminal. Criminal repeats this action again until meeting another person that we’ll call, bang. Bang complies with criminal’s demands for money at first because Bang doesn’t actually want to kill anyone. Only dissuade them. Anyway, when Criminal presses his or her power further, bang acts and leaves criminal severely injured or dead. Bang feels terrible about it for the rest of their life, likely does have many nights of restless sleep. Bang is not really comforted by knowing the criminal killed statistic and left other other victims either injured and scared for life or dead.

            Does this make Bang a bad person? Some will say yes because bang should not have killed Criminal no matter what, because it’s in the bible. Or that Bang should have let the police take care of it, others will ignore that Bang was complying until Bang’s life was threatened, and say that no one should die over material possessions.

            I dislike the counting of Suicides with gun deaths because to be realistic. Anyone with the intention of kill themselves will do so by any means available whether or not they have a firearm in hand. Hanging, Poisoning, Jumping in front of a train, suicide by cop, jumping off a bridge, poisoning themselves, smothering themselves, high-speed wrong way driving, etc. All means that suicides occur daily in the US. This is because the person has utterly convinced themselves that they have nothing to lose and nothing to hope for any more. Some have a depression so painful that it seems like a reasonable way to escape the pain.Some have medical pain that can’t be treated and just want to not hurt anymore. Others believe that it is the only way to be rescued (hale-bopp Comet).

            It is these people that need help, even if it’s just to see tomorrow for those that are depressed or think there is no other way. For those in pain, find something that takes the pain away and give it to them, legal or illegal drugs, if it stops their pain. GIVE IT TO THEM. For those that are terminal, give them a way to die with calmness free of aches. I’m not an uncaring bastard. I want for people to live and be happy, to not be scared or in pain. I want for everyone to have what they desire in life.

            As for mental illness, if you believe any psychologist or other such doctors that study the field. Everyone has a mental illness to some degree. Everyone has a compulsion in one form or another. More than three quarters of all those in the US are addicted to some drug, stimulant or depressant of some type. drink Coffee? You’ve developed a caffeine addiction. Smoke? Nicotine addition. Eat sugary things? You’ve found the sweet taste to be a safety crutch, therefore, you are dependent upon it. It is these people that get included in such studies of ‘mental illness’. Lumped in with schizophrenia, bi-polar disorders, dyslexia, and other chemical imbalances within the brain.

            Some people are far worse than others and need a very stable environment, some need only meds that they know they must take daily no matter how bad or off it makes them feel. Others just live with their issues and have learned to work around them as a counter.

            If, for instance, someone has mild depression and mild dyslexia and happens to be a firearms owner. They may feel a build up of depression coming and decide that what makes them feel better is go out and shoot clay targets for a few hours. After that, they buy a burger and go home to listen to music and clean their rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Would this person be a danger if this is how they’ve been self treating for years and not once considered going out and killing folks without also thinking about the repercussions?

            In the end. Yes, I agree that those in need of help should get it. Those that think they might need help should be able to ask for it without a stigma being attached to them or fearing that someone will take away one of the few things in life they know reliably helps them to feel good.

            Strawman sales: Always a problem with any product that someone wants by can’t purchase themselves for legal reasons, (those under 18 barred from buying cigarettes just find someone older to buy for them. Under 21 do the same for alcohol. Games rated 17+ are purchased by parents for kids well under the age restriction. This is also a straw purchase.) This will always be a problem since the only true way to make sure the person buying a firearm is the one who will have it forever, would be to surgically attach it to the person.

            Another wold be all firearms are to be housed in a central location only accessible by the person that bought it and the firearm can only be used on those premises. But this leaves another area open. Those that need protection in the home or at odd hours, Sunday during hunting season before dawn to allow for transit to hunting location for full advantage of the time during the hunting day. What about insurance, who would work there? Would the owners of their property be allowed any time, day or night to see, handle their property? Would all the owners be reimbursed for their items being destroyed in a fire for the value of what the owner said their gun was worth? What about emergencies when the police is stretched well beyond capacity to be effective (Katrina – Looters and the forced confiscation of firearms people were using to protect themselves). If we go that route, would it then be ok to be able to purchase machine guns again since it wouldn’t be housed in my home, inside a expensive and very durable safe that is bolted to a cement floor and a cement wall?

            As for the part of ‘A well regulated..’ I’m not a historian but in the context of when that was written and bearing in mind the reason for the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution. A nation was being forged upon the the backs of free men and women that wished to break away from what was seen as an oppressive government to which they had no say within. To do this they knew that the people, citizens, of the new country would need to be as well armed as any standing military if not more well armed as a populace that could come together as a free people to fight against their own government should the people feel that the government was encroaching too far.

            Today we think of the word regulate as control, rule.

            In the time when it was written in that document, the word was to organize, maintain. standardize, bring into proper function. ( On point of definition: http://yarchive.net/gun/politics/regulate.html)

            Wanting to debate the meaning of words of that era, 200+ years ago, with the words of today in which term use has changed and with it meaning. Is a farcical argument. 200+ years ago, the word ‘cool’ likely would mean just that. The temperature is cool. As in the pie has cooled enough to eat without burning your tongue.

            Now the word cool, means neat, ok, I have no problem with that, nice, awesome, temperature, I don’t have an opinion of the choices given (either choice is cool with me), etc, etc.

            I know i run long winded in my answers. I answer long like this to cover my point with as much clarity as I can get so there isn’t as much ambiguity for the explanation. In doing this it makes the reply hard to read in the fullest extent. That and sentence structure, but now I’m just picking on myself. Anyway. I wold like to talk with you more about what measures could be taken to prevent all straw sales, including imprisoning the offenders of the straw purchase for no less than 15 years per offense (buy four guns in straw purchase, 60 years before parole). No pleading down, no concurrent sentencing, and no parole. Buy for the other guy, you do time, period.

          • think

            complete meaning also includes “shall not be infringed”

    • Rick Lincroft

      “Another well validated statistic: the greater gun ownership, the greater number of homicides”
      That is simply not true. And as you read in this article, increased gun ownership, has not lead to increased homicides. In fact, homicide rates are dropping nationwide. There is no correlation, simply between gun ownership, and murder rates. Neither in the United States, nor abroad. Texas has a higher per capita rate of gun ownership, yet a lower homicide rate than New Jersey. Likewise, citizens of Switzerland are the most heavily armed in the Western world, yet that nation has one of the lowest levels of gun violence.
      Learn the facts before making foolish statements

      • Fang1944

        Switzerland is 17th from the worst in gun murders. Not exactly one of the lowest. And people in Switzerland are not heavily armed unless they’re in the military; otherwise, they’re probably not armed at all. Guns are wonderfully restricted in Switzerland.

        According to the FBI, Texas had 5.0 homicides per 100,000 in 2010; New Jersey had 4.2.

        As the article says, we haven’t had increased gun ownership. We have fewer people owning guns, not more. The number of guns owned has increased because some people just can’t stop buying them.

  • Edgeworld

    A couple of observations:
    1. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
    2. The fearful dog is the one most likely to bite without provocation
    3. With everyone carrying guns, what will the predator escalate to?

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.wheeler.568294 Chris Wheeler

      Nuclear bombs, duh. Anyways, the guy mugging you “lives by the sword”. So, no surprise if a “fearful dog” bites him, right?

      • Edgeworld

        Not to be too snarky about it, but perhaps you missed the rather crucial phrase “without provocation”?

        Somehow it seems counterproductive to the whole point to drive school shooters to “nuclear bombs, duh” or other lethal means. But maybe defending the weak isn’t really the whole point behind your need to be strapped.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Delton-Slusher/100001664532262 Delton Slusher

    Thank you. I hope every anti-gun nut reads your article and finally realizes what I’ve been trying to get them to understand for years – there is a difference between awareness and readiness on the one hand, and paranoia and Rambo fantasies on the other.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.wheeler.568294 Chris Wheeler

    Nice article, although I have to disagree with several sentiments. Firstly, when I’m carrying a weapon, the last feeling I have is that of a secret agent or player in a movie. :-P Nowhere do you imply that you think your feelings may be typical, but considering the emotion concerning this issue, I’m afraid some people may latch onto that as a motivation for people carrying. Secondly, I don’t look at “condition yellow” in the civilian world necessarily as being constantly on the look out for danger. I look at it as just being aware of your surroundings. That includes noticing the homeless guy with a knife lurking in the shadows (hopefully) but it also might let you see the blue jay land in a tree next to you, or the hot chick walking down the street opposite you. :-P Self defense, IMO, is good decision making combined with environmental awareness. If you practice those two, you’ll probably never need your weapon. So if you’re deciding to go unarmed from now on, it might be prudent to leave “condition white” at home.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.wheeler.568294 Chris Wheeler

      BTW, your CCW instructors sound nuts. I’ve only met one, but I hope that attitude isn’t typical. We don’t need people that “look for a reason” teaching CCW courses. :-

  • poxpopuli

    Muscular Citizenship? Lord.

  • Pricearizona

    The article did neither enlighten nor result in anything other than what I knew it would. If your core beliefs lie in one direction “then you’ll find the supporting evidence to substantiate that belief”. The goal should be how we get weapons, of any kind, out of the hands of criminals, not the innocent and law abidding citizen. And the focus of effort should be directed, on a state or city centered aspect. The same strict guns laws that Detroit might employ should not be that for a farmer in North Dakota. If the effort to tighten gun laws were localized where the greatest problems are there would certainly be more support for them.

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