By Rob Morse
We know a lot about people. We also know a little bit about gun owners and politicians. We run into trouble when some of what we think we know is wrong.
You’d think that making some gun owners take a firearms safety class would make everyone safer. We imagine that demanding we have a state license before we can carry a firearm in public would make all of us safer, too. We’d be wrong and now know we know it.
When we think about it, we discover that wisdom is about more than the truths we think we know.
Here’s where the trouble starts. We accumulate an amazing number of facts and then think we know how other people will behave based on that experience. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.
We imagine that telling people to take a firearms safety class before they carry a firearm would make everyone safer. It turns out that disarming the good guys costs more lives than were saved by somehow inconveniencing criminals. All that’s accomplished is disarming the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators.
Our experience can give us wisdom or leave us with mistaken prejudices.
Having honest people carry concealed firearms in public is a good thing, a net benefit to society. It’s a fact that most armed individuals tend to avoid conflict rather than seek or create it. It’s a fact that armed individuals use a firearm to stop the life-threatening situations they can’t avoid.
About one out of 11 adults have used a firearm for self-defense. Across the US, about 45 hundred of us will defend ourselves with a firearm today. About one-out-of-a-dozen adults in public are carrying concealed. Yes, honest men and women go armed and protect themselves and their family. We don’t see it because concealed is concealed.
We imagine that mandating a permit for the privilege of carrying a firearm in public makes us safer because it disarms the belligerent spouse. But we forget that the same law also makes it harder for the victim of domestic abuse to armed herself. We imagine that gun laws somehow disarm criminals. In fact, criminals break those laws — it’s what they do, after all — and don’t bother to apply for carry permits.
The sad fact is that our gun laws disarm more victims than criminals. Too often we create our “truth” by remembering only the facts that fit our prejudices.
We know that fewer people apply for carry permits when we make it more expensive and time-consuming. That’s a clear case where our own common sense is confirmed.
We know that crime and violence are real. Forget the “truth” we think we know from TV and movies. From the latest FBI data, we know that almost six thousand citizens of Nebraska are victims of violent crime each year. That number might be low because we’ve seen violence increase nationwide since that data came out.
I ran the numbers. I looked at the crime rate and the number of Nebraskans who currently have carry permits. An additional 560 Nebraska citizens would be able to defend themselves with a firearm each year if a carry permit were optional.
That doesn’t mean that about 560 more people would shoot and kill their attackers. That’s very rare in defensive gun uses. The great news is that bad guys usually decide that attacking an armed woman is a mistake. He runs away, and we want more of that. To put it into perspective, 560 more cases of armed self-defense is over twice the number of lives lost on Nebraska roads each year. That’s a lot of lives that can be saved.
We might imagine that armed people could get in a deadly fight over a parking place if they’re armed, but despite the gun control industry’s most dire warnings and predictions, that never seems to happen.
We found out that individuals tend to feel the moral weight of being armed and want to do the right thing. They try to avoid conflict. A surprising fact is that people who legally carry a firearm in public are about the most law-abiding and non-violent group on the planet. Let me say that again another way; individuals who legally carry a firearm in public are more likely to obey the law than even the police. Maybe that fact fits with what you expected, and maybe it surprised you, too.
One little-known fact is that Nebraska citizens can already carry in public without a license by carrying their loaded firearm openly in a holster. Many of us would rather go about disarmed than carry a firearm for everyone to see it on our hip. We also have to be careful because some Nebraska cities have outlawed open carry.
The sad news is that leaving our gun at home means we have to face a criminal with our bare hands. That means more good guys get hurt.
We also discovered that individuals ted to take more firearms training classes when carry permits are optional. That sounds surprising, but only at first.
It turns out that we budget a few hundred dollars for our safety. We spend more of that money on training classes when the state isn’t taking our money to pay for a permit. Our neighbors are a lot like us. We want to know how to defend ourselves responsibly.. so we go to class and learn.
The problem we face is that some politicians think their “wisdom” is reality. They confuse their “truth” with the facts. They need our help to learn about gun owners and carrying a firearm in public. We have to educate them about constitutional carry.
You can contact your legislator here. They need our help to learn the facts and the truth.
This article originally appeared at Rob Morse’s blog Slow Facts and is reprinted here with permission.