On Second Thought — September 2014 Blog Entry:

Concealed carry of firearms has been growing at an astounding rate the past several years. All states now allow concealed carry of weapons (CCW) in some form or another.

A total of 41 states, including Michigan, have “shall issue” laws, where any citizen meeting basic criteria of minimum age, no criminal history, passing a safety course, etc, must be issued a CCW permit. Some states are “may issue” –which allow local law-enforcement authorities to decide who gets a permit to carry weapon. Unfortunately, this system tends to reward those who are politically-connected with a CCW, and “regular citizens” are often denied.

Several states, such as Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont and Wyoming are “constitutional carry”—which means they recognize and follow the rights in the Second Amendment, which states, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  In these states, citizens do not need any permit or license to carry.

Unfortunately, not all states or jurisdictions respect the Constitution, and some have done everything possible to limit citizens’ right of self defense. Washington, D.C. is about as anti-gun as possible, where it’s nearly impossible for citizens to carry a concealed—or openly-carried—weapon.

Until the Supreme Court ruled in the 2008 District of Columbia vs Heller case, most citizens could not even own any type of firearms in the city, which is supposed to protect our Freedoms. Despite the Heller decision, Washington, D.C. has now imposed so many regulations upon those wanting to legally carry a gun, that it’s still near-impossible. Such a shame, as Washington, D.C. is one of the most dangerous, violent cities in the US.

New York City has also imposed so many restrictions on who can carry, only the wealthy and well-connected are able to get a CCW, effectively denying most citizens the right to protect themselves. Of course, criminals have no trouble accessing or using guns—rendering the law-abiding members of society as helpless victims against thugs.

Illinois was the last hold-out against allowing citizens the ability to carry a concealed weapon. Again, the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution properly, and its 2010 decision McDonald vs Chicago recognized the right to carry a concealed pistol. Illinois fought the ruling, but eventually relented. It began issuing CCW permits in January 2014, and by mid-summer nearly 70,000 permits were issued. By the end of this year, officials estimate nearly 100,000 Illinois citizens will be “packing heat” in Illinois.

Though Illinois is finally on its way toward an armed-and-polite citizenry, the city of Chicago has resisted the Court’s ruling, and imposed additional restrictions on CCW. Residents of the city must jump through many hoops, pay huge costs, and endure months of paperwork…just to exercise their right to armed self-defense. Chicago residents need to be able to carry concealed weapons, as it’s another of the most violent cities in the US, with 500 murders in 2012, and over 400 in 2013.

Coincidentally—or not—since thousands of citizens are now legally armed, the crime rate in Chicago for 2014 is down drastically. The police conveniently attribute this reduction to better community policing procedures. But the real reason is more likely due in part to changes in how Chicago reports crimes. Their new-but-highly-questionable method of reporting all types of crime is intended to show a statistical reduction in crimes, including murder. This “lower crime rate” surely pleases the city leaders and visitors bureau, but is may be mostly smoke-and-mirrors.

The fact that many thousands of Illinois citizens are now carrying concealed weapons likely influences the criminal activity of the “bad guys”. When they know a potential victim may be armed, they’re less likely to take that chance. We’ll have to wait a year or two to see how this plays out.

Though the anti-gun crowd has always claimed there would be much more crime when citizens are allowed to carry weapons, the facts prove otherwise. In every case where a state has allowed concealed carry, the crime rate has dropped. Most freedom-loving Americans understand that guns don’t cause crime any more than spoons are responsible for Michael Moore being so fat. Guns can deter crime, and allow citizens to protect themselves—the most basic of rights.

One final example of gun laws and attitudes moving in the right direction is Detroit, Michigan. For many years, Detroit has been at or near the top of the most dangerous cities in America. Like Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C, New Orleans and many other cities, murder and mayhem is a common reality for many citizens of Detroit. Those who could have fled this crime-ridden city; those who remain have had enough, and refuse to be be a FBI crime statistic. The citizens are fighting back, and their actions are supported by Detroit’s Police Chief James Craig.

The top police official has supported citizens right to defend themselves. The Detroit News recently noted a decrease in Detroit’s crime rate, and reported on Chief Craig’s views: “Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.”

It’s good to know many in law enforcement support our Second Amendment rights, and understand that guns can reduce crime.