Responding to the Chicago Sun-Times attack on concealed handgun

23 Sep , 2018  

A Chicago Sun-Times editorial had the headline: “One brave rescue of a Cicero cop doesn’t justify concealed guns.” The Sun-Times continues to fight against the notion of permitted concealed handguns. Here is part of their piece:

Hang your argument on a single anecdote, and you can defend almost anything. . . .

But in May we reported that a concealed carry holder was charged with a felony for waiving a gun around while driving down Interstate 90. Not so smart!

And in January we reported that a concealed carry holder fired off his gun in a Loop restaurant.Plain stupid!

A report released last November by Johns Hopkins University concluded that it is a fallacy that “right to carry” gun laws — whether the gun is concealed or carried openly — save lives and reduce violent crime. The “most comprehensive” and “rigorous” study of the impact of such gun laws, according to Johns Hopkins, found that violent crime rates increased with each additional year a right-to-carry law was in place. . . .

Our response that we sent is here (though it wasn’t published):

Dear Letters Editor:

Your editorial dismisses a concealed handgun permit holder’s heroic rescue of a police officer as “a single anecdote.” But you mention one case where a permit holder was charged with improperly waving his handgun (“One Brave Rescue of a Cicero Cop doesn’t Justify Concealed Guns,” September 17, 2018). This permit holder behaving improperly is the anomaly, not the one saving a life.

It isn’t just a couple anecdotes. You cite a Chicago Tribune review of 38 shootings by concealed permit holders from 2014 to June 2018, and they missed cases. Since 2016, there have also been at least eight cases nationally of permit holders rescuing police officers.

Despite an annual average of 189,000 permits since 2014, the Tribune found zero convictions for crimes committed with concealed handguns. Five individuals faced charges, though four of them may have used their guns in self-defense. On average each year, just one out of every 170,000 permit holders is even charged with a crime. It is quite common for arrests to be made even in cases of legitimate self-defense, and any charges rarely end in conviction.

You cite one unpublished study to refute the idea that permit holders save lives and reduce violent crime. But it’s an idea supported by about two-thirds of the dozens of peer-reviewed US studies on the subject. The remaining third finds no statistically significant affect on murder, rape, or robbery.

John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
President
Crime Prevention Research Center


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