Skip to comments.Allowing citizens to have weapons cuts crime
Posted on 08/29/2006 8:30:46 AM PDT by neverdem
Over the past 10 years, South Carolina has become a much safer place to live, work and raise a family. Since the General Assembly wisely chose to allow good citizens to carry guns for self-defense, the violent crime rate has sharply declined. And although the mainstream news media largely avoid reporting such facts, the truth is more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens equals less crime.
Prior to passage of the Law Abiding Citizens Self-Defense Act, few South Carolinians were allowed the ready means to protect themselves from vicious criminals. In fact, applications for concealed weapons permits were summarily denied unless the State Law Enforcement Division was convinced of the need. Under this outdated and highly discretionary system, money or worldly goods were often given higher priority than personal safety.
That all changed when then-S.C. Rep. Jeff Young of Sumter decided to take up the cause of self-defense. Young's extraordinary leadership bolstered by members of the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of South Carolina helped persuade more than two-thirds of the S.C, House to advance the concept. The train was on the track and South Carolina was well on its way towards becoming a safer place.
The citizen safety measure passed the House with little disagreement, but when it reached the Senate, opponents of individual rights were waiting. The mostly Democratic opposition, led by S.C. Sen. John Land and his closest allies, immediately began warning about the dangers. According to their confused logic, good citizens could not be trusted to handle firearms in public. They seemed to suggest the mere presence of a gun would somehow turn an honest person into a homicidal maniac.
Thankfully our friends, like then-Sen. Joe Wilson of Lexington, knew better. Again, with strong grass-roots support, Wilson was able to convince the Senate majority to recognize the basic individual right to self-defense. Although the other side predicted that blood would run in the streets, our clear thinking prevailed. And in the closing minutes of the 1996 legislative session right-to-carry became law.
The first permits were mailed out a few months later, around Thanksgiving. Since that time well over 50,000 more have been issued. The best news in all of this is that statewide our violent crime, which had been on a frightening rise, suddenly began to drop. And its decline has continued. Research conducted by various scholars, including professor John Lott of the University of Chicago, suggests that it's no coincidence.
The indisputable conclusion drawn from Lott's research is that in every case liberalized right-to-carry laws have caused violent crime rates to plummet. It's not difficult to understand why this happens. As a whole, street thugs and other criminal opportunists are cowards. They fear an armed populace. And although violent crime will always be with us, the deterrent effect of a reasonable concealed weapons law does indeed benefit society as a whole.
So, on this 10th anniversary of the Law Abiding Citizens Self-Defense Act, we should applaud its common sense approach to crime control and community safety. As more people take responsibility for their own safety, the folks living around them will gain a real and tangible benefit. More guns in the hands of good people clearly makes the streets safer for everyone except those who seek to do us harm.
The writer, former president of Gun Owners of South Carolina, lives in Columbia.
I would make one change here:
Halting Improper Government Restrictions on the Right to Have Weapons cuts crime.
We gotta change the mindset that government allows us to carry weapons. That's half the battle.
If South Carolina smalltown newspapers (and I include Myrtle Beach's the Sun News) are anything like ours, stories about gun ownership lowering crime will almost never get published.
These papers aren't elitist liberals like the Northeasterners, but they are a breed of all-government-is-good sheep that view DARE elementary school graduation as a headline story, because a) it happened at a public/government school, b) it involved police doing something other than law enforcement and c) it is worthless feelgoodism.
Gun ownership scares the people who are scared of guns strictly because of ignorance but it also dismays the newspapers because it lessens the need for the Nanny State and does nothing to expand government in all its guises.
An Armed SANE society is a polite society.
All citizens are not armed in Iraq.
[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
---James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46.
As do many legislators in this country. I wonder why that is? Surely they don't fit in the same category as cowardly street thugs and criminal opportunists, do they?
(An old man living in a cave once said, if a question is worded properly it contained the answer.) ;>
Yeah mainly the dead ones.
I was going to post objecting to the same thing, but I thing you did a better job.
I guess criminals don't like getting shot either. Who knew?
Iraq is a work in progress. It is terrorism and the struggle for control at work there.
Perhaps it should read 'Arming citizens in the US reduces US crime' as there are many countries in the world that have unarmed citizens and far lower crime levels than ours.
There may be a cultural element to it, granted, but it's far from a US-only phenomenon. In many countries where the citizens' gun rights have been infringed, crime in that country rose and also became more blatant/aggressive than it had been in the same country when the governments rightly respected the citizens as their employers, rather than serfs.
Goood point. Here you probably getting into something I can't spell or pronounce. Political systems, religion and sheer tradition can coalesce into ? The framers often and prodigiously noted that their form of republican-democracy was illy suited towards a lawless group of citezenry, who had no morals (of any sort) outside their own self-interest.
It's akin to when politicians talk about a "stable Iraq"; let's be clear - Iraq *was* stable under Saddam, but that's another matter whether the rest of the world winks and nods about how it is, that this area was "stable". Here's where the conspiracy nutjobs go into gear. They would claim, I'm certain, that it is in the decadent, imperialist West that the goal is instability in the region, etc., etc., & the long arm of Castro is involved.
People really CAN be trusted with the reins of government, self-rule and determination. But it's got to be the real deal, not a fait accompli by hucksters.
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