Updated on January 28, 2015
I read this story in the New York Times by Michael Luo called “Guns in Public, and Out of Sight.” To the casual reader, it would appear that the recent surge in legalized concealed carry is responsible for a groundswell of crime.
After citing a few cases of “legal” concealed carry permit holders committing crimes (I’ll get more into that later), Luo makes are very ironic statement that to the untrained eye doesn’t mean much.
“Gun advocates are quick to cite anecdotes of permit holders who stopped crimes with their guns. It is virtually impossible, however, to track these episodes in a systematic way. By contrast, crimes committed by permit holders can be.”
The irony in this is that Luo lays out a multitude of anecdotes to make his case that allowing Americans to exercise their constitutional rights creates more crime.
At the beginning of this completely skewed piece advocating for gun control, the author notes that more than 240,000 people in N. Carolina have a permit to carry a concealed handgun. The author, probably intentionally, waits a few more paragraphs before throwing more numbers out there. After all, most gun hating liberals have difficult following lines of thought, so this figure is quickly forgotten by the time his next set of numbers is revealed.
More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.
I say that because sure enough ThinkProgress.com picked right up on THIS point, without putting it in perspective. The title of their gun control manifesto is “Half of North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Holders With Felony Convictions Keep Their Permit.” This is the scare tactic that Luo was most likely looking for. The other one, of course, are the visuals they try to create by citing that guns are now allowed in “once off-limits [places], like bars, college campuses and houses of worship.”
Folks, I’ve been carrying a gun into my church for years and there’s NEVER been an issue.
Anyway, what the untrained eye and nodding-head liberal gun grabbing elite don’t see in the above quote is the word “or.” “More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies OR misdemeanors. Since the author doesn’t provide his readers with a link to his sources of information nor does he spell out exactly what “felonies OR misdemeanors.” Over the past few years, simple things have been made into felonies to influence voters and support gun control. Amazingly, you can be convicted of a felony for simple things like violating a curfew or loitering, vandalism, using even mild drugs like marijuana or having prescription medication you were given, DUI, or forgery. None of these are necessarily violent crimes but according to federal law prevent you from exercising your constitutional rights. Each day, our congress thinks up new felonies under the guises of “hate crimes” or other such nonsense. The fact is that most felony convictions are drug-related and of those most are marijuana, a substance far less harmful than legal drugs like cigarettes and alcohol.
But, aside from the felonies (and let’s assume they are ALL violent felonies, not drug related), this story says OR misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is as simple as jaywalking, having your radio too loud in your house, protesting without a permit, flying a flag in certain places, or dog bites. In Texas, promoting the use of or owning more than six vibrators is a felony. Naturally, the author downplays that 2,200 of those were misdemeanors but then makes a big deal that 200 were convicted of felonies (most likely the majority of which were drug related). However, he does give a glimpse as to the nature of his numbers.
Look at the original quote above about the 2,400 convicts. That number alone only represents only 1% of ALL concealed carry holders. The 200 felonies represents only .08% of all N. Carolina’s permit holders. But, it gets better. Of those 200 felons, 10 – yes TEN!! – actually committed murder or manslaughter. So, only .004% of ALL CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT HOLDERS in N. Carolina committed murder or manslaughter. But way, it’s even better. Only 8 of those even used a gun! Now, we’re down to .003%!!
The author also tries to confuse his readers by linking in “weapons” with gun-related crimes. The author never identifies what is considered a “weapon” for the purpose of this story, but it could be anything from brass knuckles, to a vehicle, to rope, to a candlestick. Think Clue the boardgame. Gun grabbers like to confuse the issue by mingling guns with everything else that isn’t a fist. They inflate their numbers, as Luo did, by including “weapons” in their figures to justify something that isn’t justifiable if you just crunch the numbers.
The other telltale sign of a gun grabber is the flippant dismissal of reports that contradict their efforts to highlight the minority of permit holders that commit crimes. It’s funny because the author even says this in the middle of the story:
Researchers acknowledge that those who fit the demographic profile of a typical permit holder — middle-age white men — are not usually major drivers of violent crime. At the same time, several states have produced statistical reports showing, as in North Carolina, that a small segment does end up on the wrong side of the law. As a result, the question becomes whether allowing more people to carry guns actually deters crime, as gun rights advocates contend, and whether that outweighs the risks posed by the minority who commit crimes.
Luo is trying to contend that the .004% of permit holders that use guns to commit crimes – according to his figures – are reason enough that the majority of Americans should not be allowed to own or carry guns. It’s interesting that he quotes so many anecdotal stories about holders that commit crimes, but doesn’t share any stories that contradict his own argument.
Every month in the American Rifleman magazine, the official magazine of the NRA, has a section call the Armed Citizen. It highlights between 6-10 stories each month of how legal permit holders deterred crime using their gun. So, it’s NOT impossible to track these episodes. They are published in newspaper accounts around the country. I have a Google News alert that sends me these stories (and it’s how I found this absurd piece too) on a daily basis.
Oddly, the common denominator in many of Luo’s stories is alcohol. I find it odd that Luo would work so hard to highlight crimes committed because of guns when it seems obvious to me that alcohol should be his main target. Naturally, gun grabbers like ThinkProgress won’t mention this. Their effort is to get rid of guns so that only government is the power in the country. This mentality ignores the reason the founders included the Second Amendment to begin with – to keep the government honest.