As of 2013, all 50 states permit adults to carry a concealed handgun in public, in accordance to the Concealed Carry permit laws. These are categorized in four different permits:
1. “No-issue” prohibits citizens from carrying a concealed handgun.
2. “May-issue” means that concealed carry permit may be granted upon the discretion of local authorities.
3. “Shall-issue” will grant permits for as long as an applicant meets minimum requirements, no recent commitments to a mental institution and no prior felony convictions.
4. “Unrestricted carry” is when everyone can carry a concealed handgun without the need for permits.
Among the four permits, the “shall-issue law” has the most impact. In a 1998 publication, More Guns Less Crime, by John Lott PhD, an economist and political commentator who analyzed FBI crime data, he correlated the decrease in violent crimes with the state regulation. He even argued that thousands of rape, murder, robberies and aggravated assaults that happened between 1977 and 1992 would have been prevented in states that did not permit concealed handguns if they allowed the opposite.
The book also spurred studies that will support and criticize the results presented in Lott’s publication. This is a move that can be considered responsible for creating supporters and oppositions of the Concealed Carry law.
Proponents believe that this will deter criminals from attacking someone who is armed. They also claim that most of the adults who carry guns are responsible and law-abiding citizens. Opponents, on the other hand, say that granting permission to carry guns will only increase incidents of gun-related crimes and unintended injuries. What are the odds that arguments would turn lethal when both parties are armed? People tend to feel more aggressive with their guns in tow as well.
List of Pros of Concealed Carry
1. Deter crime
Under the 2nd Amendment, people are granted the right to “keep and bear arms” as a form of protection and crime deterrent. This is further supported by statistics based on a 2000 analysis by John Lott that showed a decrease in murders, rapes and aggravated assaults by 8.5%, 5% and 7%, respectively in states that allow concealed carry. Larry Craig, Chief of Police in Detroit, also backed Lott’s findings, saying that concealed weapons and “Good Americans with CPLs [concealed permit licenses] translates into crime reduction”. 91.3% of police officers also support civilians carrying concealed handguns.
2. Create a sense of security
People have enough of gun-toting criminals having the upper hand. With weapons of their own, citizens will be able to defend and protect themselves, especially when going out at night and when working in crime-prone establishments, such as convenience stores. Women with concealed handgun will be able to protect their homes as well. This only shows that concealed carry provides a sense of security and safety.
In cases where people can’t always rely on the police for protection or to provide prompt response; their own firearms will make an excellent substitute.
3. Stops a public shooting spree
Imagine how many lives would have been spared if someone was able to shoot the gunman in the recent Tunisia attack. The situation would have been similar to a 2007 shooting spree where the attacker who opened fired was shot by a volunteer security guard, effectively putting an end to his murderous intent.
List of Cons of Concealed Carry
1. Increase crime
It is quite contradictory, but concealed carry can also lead to more crimes, as much as it can deter them. Plenty of studies have shown that enactment of “shall-issue” laws increased the number of crimes. Based on a 2009 Econ Journal Watch, a peer-reviewed study, aggravated assaults increased between 1977 and 2006.
2. Turn confrontations to lethal incidents
In 2014, in a movie theater, a retired police officer shot and killed another man because of an argument over text messaging, a reason that is, admittedly, too shallow to murder someone. This only confirms what the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says about concealed carry, “members of the public who carry guns risk escalating everyday disagreements into public shootouts, especially in places where disputes frequently occur—in bars, at sporting events, or in traffic.”
3. Gives dangerous people easy access to firearms
The Concealed Carry Law is only good if responsible and law-abiding citizens receive the permits. But what are the guarantees that such individuals will continue to abide by the law under all and any circumstances. But the worst thing that can happen is when people with malicious and criminal intent are given the right to carry handguns. What will stop them from carrying out their plans?
Plenty of states have seen how gun-related crimes involve individuals with concealed handguns permit. In Florida, for example, 128 permit holders have active injunctions for domestic violence, 216 have outstanding warrants and 1400 pleaded guilty to a felony.
4. Encourages criminals to carry guns
Criminals will always have guns at one point or another, but one of the reasons that they bear arms is to protect themselves from potential victims who are also armed. A survey conducted by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, with incarcerated felons as respondents, showed that 75% of criminals carry a gun because of the possibility that a victim is also armed.
5. Make non-carrying public vulnerable
As a non-carrying individual, what would you feel knowing that other people in a bar or restaurant is armed? In the event that an argument ensues and everyone starts pulling out their guns, you would be the most vulnerable. You would probably want to crawl out of there before anything bad happens. Well, you are not alone.
Students in 15 colleges who responded to a peer-reviewed study admitted that they will feel less safe if students, faculty and visitors are allowed to carry weapons in school premises.
There are always two sides of a story and the Concealed Carry law has both good and bad sides, advantages and disadvantages. Whether you are for or against it could depend on whether or not you own a gun and what you use it for. This only shows that guns can both protect and take away lives.