Dave Zweifel of the Madison WI Cap Times doesn’t like Wisconsin’s new shall-issue permit to carry law, and doesn’t mind telling the world about his feelings. And neither does the house cartoonist. In Zweifel’s piece, the scribe tries to make the case that there’s no way to know if concealed carry is safer or not. Despite all the evidence staring him in the face. If he cares to look. Unfortunately, he also doesn’t seem to mind lying through his teeth about the law, its passage and its proponents…
Oh sure, he starts out well enough:
Now that Wisconsin’s learned Legislature has seen fit to allow the citizenry to carry concealed weapons everywhere but where they are specifically banned, we surely must be on the threshold of a safer future for us all.
It probably won’t surprise you that he was actually indulging in sarcasm there, for in his very next paragraph he states:
At least, that’s what the majority of our legislators assured us last fall as they quickly moved to pass a concealed carry law, which the state’s new Republican governor eagerly signed. Forty-eight other states, after all, have passed concealed carry laws and, according to the guns-for-all proponents, they’ve experienced absolutely no problems.
Wow; I can see one misleading statement and two outright lies just in those two sentences. The legislature did not “quickly” move to pass the permit law, this was something which, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, had been being debated for more than a decade. Indeed shall-issue bills passed the legislature in 2003 and again in 2005, only to be vetoed by then Governor Doyle.
As for Dave’s contention that there exist “guns-for-all proponents,” that’s just a flat out lie. I do not know of a single civil rights activist (of the firearms flavor) who suggests that people in prison or locked mental facilities should be allowed access to firearms. Nor do I know any who advocate that young children have unrestricted access. If Dave (or anyone else, for that matter) has access to such a statement I’d love to see it and will happily apologize to him. But I’m not holding my breath.
Then there’s Dave’s real whopper, claiming that civil rights activists have stated that permit holders have never caused any problems in any other states. As Rep. Cliff Stearns said in 2009 regarding the law-abiding nature of permit holders:
Florida, which has issued more carry permits than any state has issued 1.36 million permits, but revoked only 165 (0.01%) due to gun crimes by permit-holders.
Again, it’s hard to prove a negative, but I have never, ever heard even the most rabid pro-carry advocate (who could well be me, for that matter) say that no permit holder will ever cause a problem. What we can say is that study after study has shown that permit-holders are more law-abiding than the general populace.
Did you catch that? Hard data on concealed carry permit holders’ criminal interactions (or lack thereof)? Apparently, Dave doesn’t understand that the relevant stats can be/have been/will be compiled without compromising privacy. And that’s a big (if non-existent) problem for the journalist and his friends in the police force:
The shielding of concealed carry permits from public inspection has been a major reason why the gun lobby has been able to claim that concealed carry laws have not caused any problems. The trouble is, because of the secrecy, it’s virtually impossible to prove whether they do or they don’t.
“I would think that the sponsors of this law would want to show proof to the public that the sky isn’t falling because of concealed carry,” said Oregon Police Chief Doug Pettit, the legislative representative of the Wisconsin Association of Police Chiefs. “But if no one can access records, how will we know?”
Apparently, what you don’t know can hurt you. So know this: Zweifel’s entire argument is based on a piece from the New York Times about the criminality of concealed carry permit holders in North Carolina. A piece whose erroneous conclusions have been thoroughly debunked by TTAG and others. A state of affairs that could have been established with a simple Google search. If Zweifel could have been bothered.