The Dangers of Concealed Handguns
The right-to-carry is a law, not regulated by a federal statutory law, which allows a weapon to be carried on, or in the immediate vicinity of, a person, out of sight from the surrounding public. The right-to-carry, also known as concealed carrying, was widely banned in the mid 1800s, and remained that way until the late 1990s, with the exception of states allowing may-issue, which requires any applicant for a concealed weapon to demonstrate a need, and the permit is granted by an issuing authority. As the years progressed into the 2000s, right-to-carry laws across the states became increasingly lax; including states that have unrestricted concealed carrying. The majority of states, however, have shifted to shall-issue laws. Shall-issue laws prevent issuing authorities from denying an applicant a permit if the applicant meets a minimum level of qualification, which does not include demonstrating any need for a concealed weapon. As the right-to-carry is a state regulated issue, the set of requirements needed to obtain a permit to carry a hidden and potentially lethal weapon varies widely across states. Additionally, many states accept and allow citizens with permits obtained from other states to carry a concealed weapon.
Permitting the carrying of concealed weapons is threatening to the peace of mind and safety of American citizens because the right-to-carry increases crime rates, creates an environment in which the non-carrying public feels unsafe, and the application process is not adequately rigorous to ensure dangerous and threatening individuals are denied a permit,
States that permit carrying concealed weapons saw an increase in violent crime from 1977 to 2010; among these states, the smallest percent increase in murder was 2%, other states saw up to 5%. Other crimes, including assault burglary and rape increased at least 9%. An academic study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research compares the rate of current crime in states that passed concealed carrying, with synthetic versions of the 33 states. The researchers developed an algorithm based on state and national crime statistics available before the adoption of the law, in order to estimate the general atmosphere of crime in the states had the right-to-carry law never been passed in that state. The researches suggest that, “Ten years after the adoption of RTC (right-to-carry) laws, violent crime is estimated to be 13-15% higher than it would have been without the RTC law”.
While one argument for concealed weapons is a feeling of security for the permit holder, polls show that a great portion of American citizens feel less safe knowing anyone in their vicinity could be carrying. In Illinois, 8 months after passing the law, 52.3% of the public felt less safe in their surrounding, than before the issuance of the law. A poll conducted in 2010 concluded that more than half of registered voters in the United States felt less safe after the right-to-carry law was passed. Another poll of register voters conducted in 2010 demonstrates that 56% oppose allowing concealed handguns in public and another 41% strongly oppose carrying a concealed handgun in general.
Of 48 states that have may-issue, shall-issue or unrestricted laws regarding concealed carrying, only 7 require applicants to undergo firearms training. In 41 states, including unrestricted states, a citizen can carry a concealed weapon having limited or no knowledge of how to use a firearm. Of those 41 states, there is no permit or application process for 12. There are 12 states which allow a citizen to carry a firearm hidden from the surrounding public. In a span of 8 years, twenty-nine mass shootings were committed by those issued a concealed carry permit.
In March 2009, a concealed carry permit holder from Alabama, a shall-issue state, a man named Michael McLendon shot and killed 10 people, half of which were related to him; police later discovered McLendon watched several DVDs on committing violent acts. Another concealed permit hold, Gerardo Regaldo shot and killed five targeted women, firing 9 shots total. Regaldo had a reported history of abusing women, was described by his relatives as pure evil, and served time in Cuban prison. Both these men had histories of violence and were still granted a concealed carrying permits from shall-issue staes. A man named Pedro Vargas, who underwent the Florida firearm training in order to obtain his concealed weapon permit, and displayed no history of violence or mental illness, shot and killed 6 people who lived in his apartment complex in 2013. (concealedcarrykillers.org/mass-shootings-committed-by-concealed-carry-killers/.)
These cases are just examples of the dangers of allowing concealed carrying. States that abide by unrestricted concealed carrying laws allow anyone to hide a potentially lethal weapon on their person in public arenas. May – issue states expect issuing authorities to determine the legitimacy of the applicants need for a permit, and potential level of threat the applicant poses. The most common law, shall – issue, has no nationally set standard for training requirements or knowledge or background checks for a concealed carrying permit; and via reciprocity laws, many shall-issue states accept permits from other shall-issue states. However, even if shall-issue laws were increased, background checks and training requirements were implemented on a national scale, there is still no guarantee the permit holder will contribute to the very reason people feel the need for protection with concealed permits.
Concealed weapons disrupt the safety and peace of mind of the American people.