Thursday, 23 September 2010

Armed Citizens 1, Criminals 0

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The report from NewsNet5 in Wadsworth, Ohio, was scarcely considered news, rating only a few brief paragraphs: “A gun-carrying couple helped [police] catch a man who was allegedly beating his girlfriend in a parking lot in front of her two children…. Police said the couple, who each have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, called 911 [and] then pulled out their guns and ordered the man to the ground.”

Heather Evans told the 911 dispatcher, “My husband and I both have CCW license and we were in fear for her life, and we drew our weapons on him.” The attacker, Anthony Konopinski, is now facing domestic violence, child endangerment, resisting arrest, and drug paraphernalia charges.

According to the latest FBI reports, each of the violent crime categories tracked by the agency, including aggravated assault, have declined significantly while gun ownership has increased. Said the FBI, “During 2009, violent crime declined for the third year in a row, with an estimated 5.3 percent drop from 2008 figures … each [category] decreased from 2008: murder (7.3 percent), robbery (8.0 percent), aggravated assault (4.2 percent), and forcible rape (2.6 percent).” This coincides with the surge in gun purchases that began shortly before President Obama was elected in the fall of 2008. And since violent crime peaked in 1991, it has decreased 43 percent to a 35-year low while murder has fallen nearly 50 percent to a 45-year low.

In that same time period the number of guns owned by American citizens has increased by about 90 million, bringing the total number of privately-owned firearms to well over 250 million. This number includes almost 100 million handguns. The National Rifle Association reminded its members that the federal ban on “assault weapons,” more accurately described as the common popular semi-automatic rifle, expired in 1994 and the murder rate “has since dropped 10 percent. The federal handgun waiting period…expired in 1998…and the murder rate has since dropped 21 percent.”

There are now 40 right-to-carry states, an all-time high, up from 10 in 1987…. 44 [states] protect the right to arms in their [state] constitutions, 33 have “castle doctrine” laws protecting the right to use guns in self-defense, and Congress and 33 states prohibit frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry.” The NRA stated that numerous studies conducted for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, and others “have found no evidence that gun control [laws] reduce crime.”

Some of those who now carry concealed were persuaded to abandon their anti-gun stances only when they experienced reality, up close and personal. Michael DeBose was one of those who had a change of heart and mind after confronting reality. In the summer of 2007 DeBose, an anti-gun Democrat representing Ohio’s District 12 in Cleveland, was walking near his home when a car with a “loud muffler” pulled up alongside him and two thugs jumped out, one carrying a gun. As he said in an interview afterwards, “They started to come at me and I was about 50 to 100 feet away from them. At that point, I started to run. I was yelling, hollering and screaming…the short one…ran back to the car and they took off…. I could’ve been hurt. I could’ve been killed.”

In an interview afterwards with Mark Walters, author of Lessons From Armed America, Rep. DeBose said,

To be honest with you, I’m not promoting guns, quite honestly. I voted against concealed carry twice but when this happened — someone points a gun at you and you feel hopeless and helpless and you want some way to defend yourself and your family — then your perspective changes…It changed my views…It’s in my best interest to get a gun.

Both Rep. DeBose and his wife have applied for and received their Ohio CCW licenses. As more and more citizens are seeing the light and deciding to exercise and enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the Second Amendment, owning a gun and carrying concealed appear to be going mainstream.

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