A report on NPR concerning the number of citizens now licensed to carry concealed handguns asks a provocative question that has already elicited thousands of comments from readers: Does carrying a pistol make you safer?
According to correspondent John Burnett, “There is a pistol-packing revolution going on in America. Nearly 13 million Americans have permits to carry concealed handguns — triple the number just nine years ago — and that figure is low because not every state reports.”
For example, in Washington State, the Department of Licensing reported that at the end of March, more than 530,700 active concealed pistol licenses were in circulation. Arizona has more than 200,000 and Wisconsin recently reported that it had reached a milestone of 300,000 carry permits. Texas and Florida each have more than 1 million legally-armed citizens.
This doesn’t even count the number of people who openly carry. There does not appear to be any statistic on this small but vocal group of armed citizen activists.
There are many anecdotal stories, both good and bad, regarding people who carry guns for personal protection. Some people have saved lives, including their own. Others, who may be packing illegally, have killed people, and were prosecuted for those crimes.
The NPR reporter interviewed Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who prominently encouraged his citizens to arm themselves as a defense against crime in the Motor City. The story quoted Craig expressing his concern about the number of criminals who have guns when law-abiding citizens may not. Translation: Gun control laws have not prevented the wrong people from acquiring firearms, contrary to the promises of gun control proponents.
Five years ago, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms did a national “rolling billboard” campaign in several cities. Their effort was to educate people that “Guns Save Lives.” Since that time, there have been many incidents including the San Bernardino terror attack that have convinced Americans to start packing firearms because the police cannot prevent all crimes and are usually on the scene after something has happened.