In early December of 1999, William Manies, 52, of Fountain City, TN returned to his former office to get even with the 45-year-old woman who fired him a month before. Manies, a carry concealed weapon permit holder, walked into the office and pointed a .38-caliber pistol at the victim and executed her while she sat in her chair, talking on the phone. This violent act and other very serious crimes like it are committed on a regular basis.
There are many small things that the government could do to limit the number of handgun related deaths, but the most obvious thing is to enact stricter handgun control laws and to make it more difficult to get a carry concealed weapon permit. These types of steps are necessary to save lives.
Gun control laws like the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, better known as the Brady Law, have already lowered gun related deaths. The Brady Law puts restrictions on the buying and selling of guns. Its biggest contribution to saving American lives is that it requires background checks and that keeps handguns out of the hands of violent criminals. November 30 was the eighth anniversary of the signing of the Brady Law. Since the law went into effect, gun related deaths in the United States have dropped a remarkable 27 percent, from 39,595 in 1993 to 28,874 in 1999. “The decline in gun deaths is proof that gun control laws work,” said Sarah Brady, Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“Look where we are today: crime is down to record levels and gun crimes have fallen even faster than crime overall.” The Brady Law has and will continue to save lives because it takes guns out of the hands of criminals and crime. This is seen in that the percentage of robberies and assaults committed with firearms has fallen each year after reaching a peak of 42.4 percent of robberies and 25.1 percent of aggravated assaults in 1993. Although the Brady Law has done so much to help people in the buying aspect of gun control, we need stronger restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons.
Some people might say that we should give every one the right to carry a concealed weapon and that it would make everyone think before they committed a crime. Although the people that thought of this theory have an interesting idea, it has no physical evidence to back it up. On the other hand, the idea that stricter laws for the right to carry concealed weapons has convincing evidence. In the 21 states and the District of Columbia with strict laws on carrying concealed weapons or laws that don’t allow the carrying of concealed weapons at all, the crime rate fell 4.4 percent from 1996 to 1997. During the same period, in the 29 states that have relaxed laws on carrying concealed weapons, the crime rate fell 2.1 percent.
The decline in the crime rate of strict licensing and states that don’t allow the carrying of concealed weapons was 2.1 times that of states with relaxed laws on carrying concealed weapons. Furthermore, in the states that relaxed the laws to carry concealed weapons, the violent crime rate dropped only 11.4 percent, while in states with strict laws on carrying concealed weapons dropped 24.8 percent. This proves that there are more effective ways to fight crime than to encourage people to carry guns.
Having citizens carry concealed weapons is also a danger to the public because most people that own a gun for protection haven’t been properly trained to operate their handgun. Police officers particularly have strong opinions toward citizens carrying concealed weapons. They have to approach every vehicle stop and any contact with a citizen as a potential contact with an armed individual. The officers also know that the mere sight of a gun can escalate a situation, so that instead of simply losing your wallet, you can lose your life.
The government has passed laws that control the distribution of guns and the right to carry concealed weapons. They have taken some steps in the right direction, but they need to take it a bit farther. They need to make stronger restrictions on the right for citizens to carry concealed weapons and continue to keep guns out of the hands of felons.