Saturday, March 12, 2005

Concealed Carry.

Wisconsin is one of the few states that do not allow the law-abiding to carry concealed weapons. Our legislature passed such a bill about two years ago but Governor Doyle vetoed it and one of the original supporters of the legislation flip-flopped and voted against override (btw commentary on that fact got me published on NRO's The Corner Thanks to John Derbyshire).

Over at Jiblog, Jib takes up concealed carry in light of the Lefkow murders and Atlanta shooting incidents.

You can hop over to Jiblog to read Jib's exact thoughts on this I will not rehash them here but I do wish to expand on concealed carry.

Wisconsin needs concealed carry. Many say we do not as we have the police to do that job. This argument ignores a fact so obvious it is incredible. The police, the brave men and women in blue can not be everywhere at all times to protect everyone. That is the fact of scarcity of resources makes us responsible for our security most of the time. Another impediment to the police being our guardian angels is the fact they are often prevented from intervention until a crime is being committed or has been committed. This is due to concerns both realistic and unrealistic about abuse of police powers. Most often the job of the police is to secure a crime scene, collect evidence, and take statements; that is to say they do not appear until you or someone else is a victim.

The common argument against concealed carry is that our streets will turn into shooting galleries with a gunfight at "The OK Corral" on every street corner. Empirical evidence from other states show this does NOT happen. This is because concealed carry applicants undergo a screening and training process. The government does not (and IMO nor should it) willy nilly issue concealed carry permits. In fact research shows crime rates reducing after a state allows concealed carry!

The critics often contend this is due to some other factor such as improving economic situations and the like. Perhaps, but even if crimes rates remained stable it disproves the critic's doom and gloom prediction of "The OK Corral" on every street corner, it just does not happen.

Another criticism is that those with concealed carry will then put themselves into inherently dangerous situations because they have a gun. This argument is often used in other arenas. Helmet law debates for example. For example: if you require bikers to wear helmets they will get a sense of invulnerability and perform even more dangerous bike stunts therefore negating any potential helmet benefits.

It is a red herring argument. A couple of things, first I don't believe the vast majority of people applying for concealed carry will then go out looking for trouble in the first place. Secondly this is the purpose of the permitting process to screen those who then might go out looking for trouble.

The police have a concern that their job will become more dangerous. I don't see that happening, remember the permitting process. Secondly concealed carry holders should be required to identify their concealed carry status in traffic stops and a person's concealed carry status should show up when the police run their check (ie the check they do in traffic stops).

The fact of the matter is Wisconsin already has concealed carry. The question is not whether to permit it or not, the question is do we allow the law-abiding to carry as well as outlaws?