Misplaced fear

Misplaced fear

May 7th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Officials in Tampa, Fla., are fretting that a state law letting law-abiding residents carry guns poses a big risk when the Republican national convention is held there this fall, and there may be similar concerns about the Democrats' convention in Charlotte, N.C., where weapons also can be carried.

But as usual, emotion and anti-gun bias, rather than reason, appear to be driving such concerns.

Look at Tennessee.

As of late last year, roughly 340,000 residents of the state had permits allowing them to carry handguns, according to statistics from the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security. They first had to pass a criminal background check and complete a handgun safety course.

And where are the Wild West shootouts that anti-Second Amendment activists reflexively predict will result whenever any state takes serious steps to protect the constitutional right to bear arms?

Good question. Statistics show, in fact, that the vast majority of Tennesseans with permits for handguns exercise their Second Amendment rights responsibly.

The Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center tallied up the first- and second-degree murders committed over a three-year period by residents of the state who are licensed to carry handguns. It came up with just six such slayings -- only about 0.002 percent of the hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans who have the permits.

That's not to say that violence couldn't take place at the political parties' conventions in Florida and North Carolina. But if the good track record in Tennessee of residents who have permits to carry firearms is any indication, any threat of violence at the conventions in Tampa and Charlotte seems rather unlikely to come from people who have the legal right to carry guns.