Dear Letters Editor:
Your article grossly exaggerates the risks of concealed handguns being carried in state legislative buildings (“Gun-friendly statehouses see occasional reckless conduct,” January 14). The article reports one accidental discharge, two cases of guns being temporarily misplaced, and a legislator temporarily forgetting that he had put his gun in his desk drawer. Our research identifies one other minor case in the Virginia State Capitol in 2006. But for the 21 states that allow concealed carry in their statehouses, no mention is made that these are the only mishaps that have ever occurred over decades. No one has been injured. Nor do you mention that 14 states allow civilians to carry in legislative buildings. Over the decades, there has not been one single problem.
Armed police are important, but, regarding terrorist attacks, a uniformed officer might as well be wearing a neon sign saying, “Shoot me first.” With concealed permit holders returning fire, terrorists have a much more difficult job when they reveal themselves. And police officers can breath easier.
John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
Crime Prevention Research Center