Debate Magazine

Florida Popcorn Shooting: Are Concealed Guns About Self-defense Or Power?

Posted on the 16 January 2014 by Doggone
You may be aware that those old "may issue" concealed carry laws that gave the issuing authority some discretion had been proposed by the Handgun Owners Association and NRA in the 1920s and 1930s.  We had the statement of Then-NRA President Karl T. Frederick:
MR. FREDERICK: ... "I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one. ... I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses"
Yet, for some reason (most likely it is the best way to get people to act against their interest), the NRA now proposes and advocates the "general promiscuous toting of guns".
The Christian Science Monitor has a piece with the same title I used here that points out that this has been a bad decision:
But in a country in which the number of permits to carry concealed weapons has skyrocketed, Oulson’s death has also become one more piece of evidence of what some see as the sinister and frightening side of expanded gun rights. In that view, the act of carrying a hidden gun in public is as much about wielding power over fellow citizens as self-defense.
“There are a lot of people dead today who would be alive but for [a gun carrier] who gets angry and accelerates an argument to a homicide,” says Kristen Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center in Washington. “It’s very clear that carrying a concealed gun creates a mindset among some people that, ‘I’ve got a gun, the state sanctions it, therefore I have a right to use it’ ” in public.

There is something called the weapon effect, which is where the presence of a weapon will tend to cause the situation to become more violent.  The CSM mentions this:
But others see a more disturbing pattern highlighted by the popcorn shooting. The Violence Policy Center has used press accounts and other sources to compile a database of deaths attributed to non-self-defense instances where concealed-carry permit holders fired their weapons. Since 2007, 555 people have been killed in 33 states in such instances.
“With alarming regularity, individuals licensed to carry concealed weapons instigate fatal shootings that have nothing to do with self-defense,” the Violence Policy Center's Ms. Rand said in a statement commenting on the Florida shooting.
I know people will come up with the usual "guns save lives " bullshit.  Bullshit since they have yet to come up with a serious study that backs that up. On the other hand, there are some people who are honest in this debate.
Meanwhile, some permit holders acknowledge that carrying a gun around in public can tweak a person’s decision matrix in the face of potential trouble, primarily by imparting to the gun-carrier a greater sense of responsibility and urgency in avoiding conflict.
That’s because of an understanding among responsible gun owners that, as one concealed carrier told the Monitor, “if it gets ugly, you know it can get ugly on an amazing scale.”
I am sure that when more serious research is undertaken it will reinforce the fact that relaxing the gun laws is a bad idea which has been driven by ideologues.  Remember that the studies were coming out that showed guns were a detriment when the funding for them was cut.
Ideologues driven by science fiction and the belief that "an armed society is a polite society"

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