Concealed weapons-carrying classes continue to fill up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but the majority of the students in the classes have changed from men to women. The enrollment of women in classes has tripled in the last 10 years. In consideration of the recent police layoffs at the Tulsa Police Department, women feel the need to acquire self-defense skills more than ever.
Fortunately for these women, the process is simple, requiring an eight-hour course that teaches the students how to use their guns. Once completed, the students may apply for a license that takes 90 days to be approved. Once received, licenses are valid for five years.
Oklahoma’s increase in gun sales rose dramatically in February 2009, just four months after the election of President Obama, when the state reported an 87 percent increase in concealed permit applications from February 2008. Kelly Bostian reported in Tulsa World, “Gun sales spiked in November with the election of Barack Obama and Democrats adding their majority in Congress. But local gun dealers say the spike is turning into a steady climb with political worries about gun rights as well as worries about the economy and potential for increased crime.”
The rise in gun sales is not limited to Oklahoma. According to background check data, there have been significant increases in 2008 and further increases in 2009, based on concerns that the Democratic administration would change gun legislation.
There are 40 states with right-to-carry laws. Since 1991, 23 states adopted right to carry laws, prompting the number of privately owned guns to rise by approximately 90 million. Within the past 20 years, the nation’s murder rate has decreased by 46 percent, a 43-year low, and total violent crimes have decreased 41 percent, a 35-year low.
While arrests and conviction rates are major determinants of crime rates, handgun laws are also contributing factors, probably the most cost-effective. Unfortunately, there tends to be a focus on the few incidents in which legal guns are used in crimes, while the occasions that legal guns have been used to save lives are downplayed.
On February 1, 2010, three men attempted to break into a Yakima, Washington, home, but when they were greeted by a shotgun, they fled the scene. DeAngelo Morrison of Indianapolis, Indiana, is alive today because of his shotgun, which he used to protect himself against an armed man who chased him into his apartment in 2006. In 2005, a 79-year-old man in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, shot two intruders when they entered his home at 5 a.m. In 2001, Shirley Becraft, while picking up his son from his Blockbuster job, noticed two ski-masked intruders entering the store. Using his legally concealed rifle, he managed to shoot both intruders and earned a “Good Citizenship Award” from the local police department. The list goes on and on. Studies repeatedly find that defensive gun occurences number between 800,000 and 2.5 million per year.
Gun control continues to remain at the forefront of many political debates, but one thing should remain uncontested: The Second Amendment requires preservation. The women of Tulsa concur.