Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed in the New York Daily News discussing what we can learn from the public shooting in Alexandria, Virginia yesterday morning.
Although he was seriously wounded, it is a lucky thing that Rep. Stephen Scalise made it to baseball practice on Wednesday morning. Due to his position as majority whip, armed Capitol Hill Police accompanied Scalise. This security detail saved the lives of his House colleagues and two senators.
As Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.), told WWJ radio in Detroit, “The only reason — the only reason — why any of us walked out of this thing: By the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover. Because we were inside the backstop and if we didn’t have that cover by a brave person who stood up and took a shot themselves, we would not have gotten out of there and every one of us would have been hit. Every single one of us.”
Many Republican representatives have concealed handgun permits from their home states, but carrying in the District of Columbia is illegal for all but a select few D.C. residents. The attack occurred in relatively gun-friendly Virginia, though that is irrelevant to a representative going directly between baseball practice and Capitol Hill.
Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) thinks that he has a solution: allow congressmen to carry in D.C. if they have a permit to do so in their home state. Of course, congressmen still aren’t likely to be carrying guns while out in the field, practicing baseball.
And what about their staffs? Why limit concealed carry only to congressmen?
Other Republican lawmakers are proposing nationwide reciprocity bills for all permit holders. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) is introducing such legislation this week. Reciprocity would make life simpler for permit holders who travel.
It’s not easy for a truck driver to avoid troublesome state and city gun laws as he drives across the country with valuable merchandise. He can quickly run into trouble in “may issue” states such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois or California, which give out few permits and require applicants to demonstrate sufficient “need.” Or imagine a single woman driving across state lines at night, hoping that her car won’t break down along the highway.
For most of the country, reciprocity is already a fact of life. The average state allows people with concealed handgun permits from 32 other states to travel freely. But the eight “may issue” states and D.C. pull down that average; only one of those eight states, Delaware, recognizes permits from any other state.
Only about 100 people in all of D.C. have concealed handgun permits. To even have a chance of getting a permit, an applicant has to be able to point to a specific threat. That’s something that even Scalise may not have been able to do before Wednesday’s attack.
There’s no good reason not to issue permits much more generously. Permit holders are extremely law-abiding, losing their permits for firearm-related violations at rates of thousandths of one percentage point.
Some say that we should just rely on the police to protect us. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.