Background: Concealed Weapons

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1 Background: Concealed Weapons Should people be allowed to carry a concealed weapon and who should decide the federal government or the states? Carrying a concealed handgun in public is permitted for non-law enforcement officials in 49 states as of July 13, Illinois and Washington, DC do not allow concealed carry except by active and retired law enforcement officers. Proponents of concealed carry say that criminals are less likely to attack someone they believe to be armed. They cite the 2nd Amendment's "right of the people to keep and bear arms," and argue that most adults who legally carry a concealed gun are law-abiding and do not misuse their firearms. Opponents of concealed carry argue that increased gun ownership leads to more gun crime and unintended gun injuries. They contend that concealed handguns increase the chances of arguments becoming lethal, and that society would be safer with fewer guns on the street not more. State regulations on concealed carry fall into four categories. The first is "no-issue" which does not allow citizens to carry a concealed handgun. The second category is "may-issue" which grants concealed carry permits at the discretion of local authorities. The third category is "shall-issue" which requires police to issue concealed carry permits as long as the applicant meets certain minimum requirements such as a minimum age, no prior felony conviction, and no recent commitments to a mental institution. The fourth category is "unrestricted carry," where no permit is required to carry a concealed handgun. On May 12, 1987, Florida passed a "shall-issue law that became a model for other states. "Shall-issue laws" require police to issue concealed carry permits as long as the applicant meets certain minimum requirements. Requirements vary by state, but typically include a minimum age, no prior felony conviction, and no recent drug convictions or commitments to a mental institution. Some states also require classes and training. In the early 1990s, the National Rifle Association launched a campaign to increase the number of states with "shallissue" laws. By May 7, 2009, 29 states had adopted "shall-issue laws. Of these states, 21 had previously prohibited carrying altogether. On July 8, 2011, Wisconsin became the 49th state to allow concealed carry. Wisconsin citizens who go through training and obtain a permit will be able to carry a concealed handgun in most public buildings and private businesses (including bars and churches) unless establishments post a sign forbidding it starting Nov. 1, 2011.

2 PRO Right to Carry Concealed Handgun 1. Criminals are less likely to attack someone that they believe might be armed. The deterrent effect of concealed carry benefits the individual carrying a handgun as well as the general public because criminals never know who is armed. 2. According to a 2000 study by John Lott, PhD, "shall-issue" laws have reduced homicides by 8.5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, rapes by 5%, and robberies by 3%. Lott argued that if states that did not permit concealed handguns in 1992 had permitted them in 1977, 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes, 60,000 aggravated assaults, and 12,000 robberies would have been prevented between 1977 and [8] 3. The right to carry concealed handguns is guaranteed by the Second Amendment in the US Constitution. The Second Amendment states, "A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." 4. According to a 1997 study of National Crime Victimization Survey data, "robbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all. [9] 5. Even if an adult never needs to draw a concealed handgun for self-defense, a person may feel safer being armed and feel freer to go outside at night or in dangerous areas. 6. A majority of adults who legally carry concealed handguns are law-abiding citizens who do not misuse their firearms. According to a 2000 report by engineering statistician William Sturdevant published on the Texas Concealed Handgun Association website, the general public is 5.7 times more likely to be arrested for violent offenses, and 13.5 times more likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses, than concealed carry weapon permit holders. [30] 7. Carrying a concealed handgun could aid in ending public shooting sprees. The Apr. 20, 1999 Columbine High School massacre and Apr. 17, 2007 Virginia Tech shooting could have been ended and lives saved by an armed citizen shooting the assailants. [10] 8. The government cannot guarantee the safety of its citizens. Protecting oneself and family is a personal duty and the government should not impede the ability of responsible adults to defend themselves. 9. Criminals carry concealed weapons regardless of their legality. Responsible citizens should have the same advantages when it comes to protecting themselves from armed attackers. 10. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the US Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on June 26, 2008 that although most 19th-century courts found that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment guarantees "the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. [31] 11. Concealed handguns are an effective non-lethal form of self-defense a majority of the time. An Autumn 1995 peer-reviewed study by Gary Kleck, PhD, published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, found that when someone draws a concealed gun in self-defense, the criminal simply retreats 55.5% of the time. [32]

3 CON Right to Carry Concealed Handgun 1. Concealed handguns are not an effective form of self-defense. A Nov peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Public Health by Charles Branas, PhD, et al. found that someone carrying a gun for self-defense was 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault than an assault victim without a gun. Attackers often surprise victims, making it difficult to use a concealed handgun. [11] 2. "Shall-issue" laws lead to increases in the rates of rape, robbery, and violent crime. A 1995 peerreviewed study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology by David McDowall, PhD, et al. of five urban cities found that gun homicide rates increased an average of 4.5% following the enactment of "shall-issue" laws. [12] A May 2009 peer-reviewed study by Yale professors Ian Ayres, PhD, and John Donohue, PhD, that appeared in the Econ Journal Watch found that "shall-issue" laws increased aggravated assault between 1977 and [33] Several researchers have found substantial flaws in the methodology of a landmark 1998 study by John Lott, PhD, and David Mustard, PhD, which claimed that more guns means less crime. 3. The ability to carry a concealed handgun is not a right granted by the US Constitution. The Second Amendment provides for citizens to bear arms for universal military obligation and a well-regulated militia, not for personal carry. 4. Carrying a concealed handgun increases the chances of a confrontation escalating and turning lethal. The chances of a handgun being used inappropriately increase when normally responsible adults are intoxicated, tired, afraid, or untrained in conflict resolution. [13] 5. Responsible adults can still be a threat to public safety if they are armed. Between 1996 and 2000, the Violence Policy Center found that concealed handgun permit holders in Texas were arrested for weapon-related offenses at a rate 81% higher than the general Texas population. [34] Between May 2007 and Mar. 24, 2010, at least nine law enforcement officers and 142 private citizens were killed nationally by concealed handgun permit holders (approximately 0.003% of all murders in that time period). [14] [15] 6. The concealed carrying of handguns increases the likelihood of unintended shootings taking place. According to a July 2001 peer-reviewed study appearing in Accident Analysis and Prevention by Matthew Miller, PhD, Deborah Azrael, PhD, and David Hemenway, PhD, approximately 50 people are unintentionally shot each day in America and a child under 15 years of age dies every other day from unintended gunfire. [16] 7. Carrying concealed handguns increases the risk of suicide because one-third to four-fifths of all suicide attempts are impulsive and carrying a handgun gives individuals the means to act on their impulses. Suicide attempts involving firearms are more likely to be fatal. In 2005, 53% of all suicides in the US involved a firearm, resulting in an average of 46 suicides from guns each day. Suicide is the secondleading cause of death among Americans 40 years of age or younger. [35] 8. Criminals are more likely to arm themselves with firearms if they suspect that victims may also be armed. Felons report that they often carry firearms to deter victims from resisting. [17] A victim drawing a gun during an attack sends a signal to the offender that more force must be used to overpower the victim during an attack.

4 9. Adults who carry concealed handguns are often inadequately trained. Some states do not require any hands-on training before receiving a concealed carry permit. Public safety should be left to trained police officers who are less likely to shoot innocent bystanders. 10. Responsible adults with concealed handguns make it more difficult for police to distinguish criminals from ordinary citizens and to identify perpetrators during a shooting. 11. Carrying concealed handguns needlessly intimidates other citizens. Police frequently receive calls from customers at stores who feel threatened and less safe when another customer is said to be armed.

5 Federal Judge: Concealed Weapons Court Rulings Throughout history the American court system has made several rulings when dealing with possession of hand guns. The following court cases indicate the court s opinion and their reasoning behind their opinion. The first case is District of Columbia v Heller. For the first time in seventy years, the Court heard a case regarding the central meaning of the Second Amendment and its relation to gun control laws. After the District of Columbia passed legislation barring the registration of handguns, requiring licenses for all pistols, and mandating that all legal firearms must be kept unloaded and disassembled or trigger locked, a group of private gun-owners brought suit claiming the laws violated their Second Amendment right to bear arms. The federal trial court in Washington D.C. refused to grant the plaintiffs relief, holding that the Second Amendment applies only to militias, such as the National Guard, and not to private gun ownership. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit disagreed, voting two to one that the Second Amendment does in fact protect private gun owners such as plaintiffs. Petitioners agree with the trial court's decision that the Second Amendment applies only to militias, and further argue that (a) the Second Amendment should not apply to D.C In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as selfdefense within the home. The Court based its holding on the text of the Second Amendment, as well as applicable language in state constitutions adopted soon after the Second Amendment. In McDonald v Chicago, several suits were filed against Chicago and Oak Park in Illinois challenging their gun bans the plaintiffs argued that the Second Amendment should also apply to the states. Does the Second Amendment apply to the states because it is incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges and Immunities or Due Process clauses and thereby made applicable to the states? The Supreme Court reversed the Seventh Circuit, holding that the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense applicable to the states. With Justice Samuel A. Alito writing for the majority, the Court reasoned that rights that are "fundamental to the Nation's scheme of ordered liberty" or that are "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" are appropriately applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Clarence Thomas's separate claim that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment more appropriately incorporates the Second Amendment against the states than does the Due Process clause. In 1938, United States v Miller, the Court ruled carrying a doubled barreled shot gun is a violation of the second amendment. The court said, Justice James Clark McReynolds writing for the majority, the Court reasoned that because the possession of a sawed-off double barrel shotgun does not have a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, the Second Amendment does not protect the possession of such an instrument.

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