Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Is Carrying a Concealed Weapon Unsafe?

I got into a Facebook discussion with advocates of CCW (Carrying Concealed Weapons).  They offered training in gun handling and gave you what looked like a police badge to carry around.  

I asked: “Does anyone know how many gun carrying persons either shoot themselves by accident, or their children shoot themselves by accident, or shoot an innocent person through negligence or by accident; as opposed to shooting or making a citizens arrest of another person in a case of legitimate self-defense?  I'd wager that the former case far out weights the latter. Seems rather unsafe, unnecessary, and unwise to be carrying around a loaded weapon in your waistband.”

It is simply a question that requires a rational assessment of risk vs rewards/benefits.  

I am not discussing the “right to own arms or bear arms.”  I am not discussing hunters in the woods, or the few folks living in the wilderness.  

The responses to me were varied, often irrational, and off the point: get out of the country, you are irresponsible, you don't know, policemen carry guns and don’t shoot themselves, get a life, my "rights," etc.  

There are legitimate cases where a person needs to carry a concealed loaded gun based on dangerous occupations, dangerous work areas, safety, security, etc..  Hopefully, they are trained and very responsible, and, I prefer, licensed and insured. 

Many people own guns, but keep them safely locked up in their homes.  I’m a veteran and own guns, but keep them at home.  

I think the vast majority of Americans think the risks of carrying a loaded gun in their waistband or purse are far greater than the benefits or advantages.  The vast majority see no need to carry a loaded gun in their waistband or purse into the workplace, supermarket, church, school, barber shop, restaurant, gas station, hospital, library, repair shop, retail stores, a park, on a drive in the country, etc.  

Every year in America, over 100,000 people are shot with a gun.  

Most people don’t like to be around people carrying loaded weapons in public; and, rightly or wrongly, associate such concealed weapon carriers (CCW) with criminals, hot heads, loose cannons, paranoid people, bullies, misguided folks, or people with a pretentious hero complex. Many States have passed laws against non-licensed and unauthorized persons CCW.  Most of the responses to CCW Facebook books are against the idea.  The clear FACT is that the vast majority of Americans DO NOT carry a concealed weapon on their waistband or purse because they think it to be unsafe, unnecessary, and somewhat disrespectful of common social customs.    

One CCW post stated that it would be a "miscue" to get angry and make a mistake and misjudge another person and threaten them with a loaded gun or shoot them.  A "miscue"??  More like a criminal offence: brandishing a weapon, aggravated assault, criminal negligence, or manslaughter.  

Currently, some Republicans in the U.S. Congress are proposing bills to expand the ability of citizens to carry concealed weapons.  The NRA lobby, gun and bullet makers, and some citizens support this idea.  I do not.  

To drive an automobile you must meet age and many other legal requirements, be trained, pass tests, receive a valid licence, register your vehicle, purchase insurance, keep you car properly maintained, and follow all the rules and laws of the road.  I want to see the same kind of controls and requirements for carrying loaded weapons in public.  Cars and negligent drivers can injure, maim, or kill people. Guns and negligent users can injure, maim, or kill people.  Apply the same sensible social controls and regulations to both.  

Over 2,200 years ago, the sage, Lao Tzu, wrote down in the Tao Te Ching, Chapter 80, some advice on this matter.  

Though you have armor and weapons enough
Have no reason to parade them.

Though there are arms and soldiers,
There is no occasion to stage public reviews.

And, though there are weapons,
People do not carry them.

Although there are weapons and armours,
There are no occasions to display them.

There may be armour and weaponry yet they will sit collecting dust

Another perspective on this question of risk vs reward/benefit is the issue of statistics.  These statistics, if true, should make you think, and keep matters in perspective:

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