On Sunday the Star Tribune, which generally leans collectivist, ran an article on permit holders in Minnesota. While I was expecting anti-gun propaganda I have to admit that the article is actually balanced, another sign that we’re winning. I found the following statistic interesting:
Handgun owners have more freedom now than they’ve had in nearly a century, with every state except Illinois offering average residents the option of getting a carry permit, up from just a few states in the 1970s. In Utah, where gun laws are so liberal public schools can’t even prohibit them, one in nearly seven adults has a permit. In New Jersey, where local authorities have retained the discretion to deny permits, just one in 4,200 adults has one.
This spring, in the wake of the killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Florida and a vigorous national debate over “Stand Your Ground” laws, Minnesota surpassed 100,000 permits, putting it in the numeric middle of the states, with one in 40 adults now licensed to carry.
What does the Martin case have to do with Minnesota permit holders? Nothing. Why was it brought up? Because the Star Tribune has to put in some kind of slight against permit holders, as I said they lean heavily collectivist. Either way it’s interesting to note that when the state was may-issue there were only 4,200 permit holders and now that the state is shall-issue there are over 100,000 permit holders. This massive increase in the number of permit holders hasn’t lead to an increase in violent crime (the law changed in 2003). It’s also nice to see Wisconsin residents moved in quickly to obtain carry permits after it’s state legally lawful carrying of firearms late last year:
Minnesotans queued up at an average rate of 10,000 a year, swelling the ranks of permit holders from 11,381 in 2002 to 50,777 by 2007. Wisconsin, which in November became one of the last states to pass a carry permit law, reached 100,000 permits in less than six months.
I was pleased that the article author put in a piece that acknowledges the fact that Minnesota allows permit holders to carry openly or concealed:
Rothman says he is among the relatively few state residents who exercise the right under the law to carry openly, his pistol strapped to his left hip.
“Education is the reason,” he said. “Many people don’t know that carrying a gun can be perfectly legal, and [they] emotionally equate guns with illegal violence. When they see a neatly groomed suburban dad innocently shopping with this undeniably adorable young kids, it challenges that preconception.”
I know there is a heated debate between gun rights advocates regarding open carry. Some claim that openly carrying a gun for political reasons is absolutely idiotic but I agree with Rothman’s statement, open carry works as a mechanism of raising awareness. When individuals see an otherwise normal looking individual carrying a gun they are often inclined to ask about it and are then surprised to learn that it is legal for people outside of law enforcement to carry firearms. That individual may then decide to get a carry permit and our numbers increase. My form of carry is based on comfort. Generally I conceal my firearm because it avoids potential headaches I don’t want to deal with but when concealment becomes uncomfortable (when biking for example) I openly carry. Thankfully we hav both options available to us in Minnesota.
The article also managed to get a quote from one of the local anti-gunners that greatly demonstrates the flaw in their rhetoric:
The law “has not been a net benefit to our society in any way,” said Heather Martens, executive director of Protect Minnesota — Working to End Gun Violence. “They promised that if lots of people had guns everybody would be safe. Here just [recently] we had a 5-year-old child killed while sleeping on a couch. I think we were sold a bill of goods.”
I don’t know of a single gun rights advocate that said “if lots of people had guns everybody would be safe.” What those of us who advocate gun rights have said is that having more individuals carrying firearms will not lead to an increase in violent crime and it gives individuals an option if they’re attacked by a violent individuals. The anti-gunner then brings up a case completely unrelated to the story at hand, but it involved a child so the emotional value is very high and anti-gunners prey on emotions. Was the person who shot the 5 year-old a permit holder? Not that I’ve heard. How did the case of the 5 year-old being shot related to a story about permit holders? It didn’t. The flat in the gun control zealots’ cause is that it’s based entirely on emotional appeal instead of factual data. Since they can’t win with facts they try to create an image in the minds of the public that gun owners hate children.