Concealed carry not as bad as people think

Story by Frank F. Pellegrino

After reading last week’s Spectator Staff Editorial, I was disappointed to see that the opinions expressed about Wisconsin’s new conceal and carry law were strictly negative.

As I went through each paragraph, I began to think that the members of the editorial board were under the impression that the city of Eau Claire is going to turn into the gun-touting ‘Wild Wild West’ as a direct result of this law.

Let me first start out by saying I do not own a gun, nor do I intend on trying to apply for a concealed carry weapon license come November. Likewise, I would consider myself pretty anti-violence and closer to the liberal end of the spectrum.

With that being said, I do not think this new law is such a bad thing.

For starters, I think the best solution to this problem would be to eliminate guns all together, but that is obviously not an option, the reason being that criminals always have, and always will have some way to obtain these weapons.

That’s where the concealed carry law comes into place. It gives those interested in protecting themselves against those criminals a legal means to do so.

I get that the most commonly expressed opinion against it, and one that I saw in the Spectator Staff Editorial, is that more guns are going to directly result in
more violence in the area.

But think about it.

Why would somebody need a legal means in place to carry a gun, if they wanted to then do something that was illegal with the gun to begin with?

After all, it’s still going to be illegal to discharge a gun randomly, to wave it in people’s faces or to shoot innocent people.

Likewise, studies have even shown that implementing a concealed carry law actually reduces crime. John Lott, who researched FBI crime statistics from 1977-1993 and published it in his 1998 book ‘More Guns, Less Crime,’ actually found that areas with a law in place actually saw a murder rate reduction of 8.5 percent; a rape rate reduction of 5 percent; and an aggravated assault reduction of 7 percent.

Another issue expressed in the staff editorial was that it is a bit confusing where exactly the guns will be allowed, citing that in certain parts of Carson Park it is OK to have guns, and in other parts it is not. The editorial went on to say that this would lead to misunderstandings, which “can and will be deadly.

Let’s think about that for a second now, too.

If two people were legally abiding by Wisconsin’s concealed carry law in Carson Park, their guns would be concealed at all times, and nobody would ever know the difference. It would not matter if either of these people accidentally stumbled into one of the areas where it was illegal to conceal and carry because if they continued to abide by the law, their guns would never come out.

But if a third person decided to enter Carson Park waving a gun at innocent people, this could indeed lead to that person being shot by one of the people who were legally carrying a concealed weapon. Regardless of whether or not the person was on ‘legal’ ground or not, I would just be satisfied the person had been shot, not question whether or not the shooter was on ‘legal’ ground.

I think the most important thing to note in regards to where the guns can be taken is that this is one of the most emphasized things discussed in the course you are required to complete before getting your license. If you look at the actual act itself passed by the state, seven of 49 total pages focus on where you can bring the gun.

Anyone who obtains a concealed carry license will have it beaten into their heads where it is illegal to bring their guns, and that they can lose their license very quickly if they don’t abide by it.

Which brings me to my next point: these licenses are not easy to obtain if you have committed any crime and are very easy to lose. All of the people you wouldn’t want to have these licenses in the first place — you know, the criminals — are already prohibited from ever obtaining a license.

When it comes down to it, there are always going to be violent people in the world who want to do bad things. I personally don’t feel the need to protect myself from these people on a daily basis, but who I am to say that nobody else should be able to either?

If someone wants to go through the process of having their background checked, taking a course about how to legally conceal and carry and applying for their license, then let them. After all, if they can make it through all that, they are exactly the people I’d want around me in a tragic situation.

Frank F. Pellegrino is a senior print journalism major and Chief Copy Editor at The Spectator.