Radio Commentary

November 17, 1997

A Decade of Packing Heat

ast month Florida—and the nation—celebrated an important anniversary. Ten years ago, that state passed the country’s first right-to-carry law. In 1987, Floridians who met reasonable requirements were allowed to carry concealed firearms in public. At the time, the gun grabbers went nuts. They warned of bloody violence—folks shooting each other over fender benders and neighborhood basketball games. Ten years later, the data is clear: of the half-million folks authorized to carry a concealed gun in Florida, point zero one eight six percent used their guns for crimes. Some bloodbath. But Florida wasn’t the only state to allow citizens to actually exercise their rights under the Second Amendment. Twenty-three states, including our own, followed Florida’s lead and allowed concealed-carry permits. The results in Texas mirrored those in Florida: of the over 110,000 Texans with the right to carry, only 57 have been involved in criminal incidents. Have concealed-carry laws cut the crime rate? It’s hard to say. Many states—including Florida—have seen their crime rates decline after adopting right-to-carry. Certainly, Nevada’s high crime rate has not been checked by our right-to-carry statute—yet. But getting into the semantics of the laws’ effect on crime misses the larger point: sane, non-criminal adults should be allowed to carry a concealed firearm. The Justice Department reports that 87 percent of violent crime occurs outside the home. Right-to-carry laws enable hundreds of thousands of Americans to protect themselves on the street. And it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that more and more criminals are thinking twice before mugging pedestrians with noticeable bulges in their jackets. From NPRI, you think about that! u


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