Sunday, March 07, 2010

Guns in the saloon

Someone who is drunk shouldn't be handling a gun, but that doesn't justify a ban on concealed carrying in all places that serve alcohol. On Tuesday, the Virginia House of Delegates joined the state Senate and voted 72-to-27 to overturn this ban. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's signature is all that stands in the way of getting rid of this dangerous restriction.

Over the past two decades, a sweeping wave of freedom has allowed more citizens to carry concealed handguns. States have realized that there is little reason to restrict the carrying of concealed handguns by those who have received permits. Forty states currently allow concealed handguns to be carried in places that serve alcohol. None of the states that have allowed this freedom has cause to reverse the decision.

The facts are clear. Despite misleading claims to the contrary by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Violence Policy Center, permit holders are law-abiding individuals who are extremely careful with their guns. This general rule applies in states that allow concealed handguns in bars. Permit holders simply haven't been getting liquored up and harming others through irresponsible conduct. Virginia hasn't had any problem with open carry in restaurants, so it's hard to understand why anyone thinks there could be a problem with concealed handguns.

Take Florida and Texas, two states that allow concealed handguns in bars. Between Oct. 1, 1987, and Jan. 31, 2010, Florida issued permits to more than 1.7 million people. Only 167 have had their permits revoked for any firearms-related violations. That is a minuscule 0.0098 percent revocation rate. The vast majority of those revocations were not for violence, but merely for accidentally carrying a gun into a gun-free zone. During the past 16 months, there was only one incident involving a firearms-related violation.

The numbers are similar in Texas. Over the five years from 2002 to 2006, the average rate at which permit holders were convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony was 0.04 percent. In 2006, the most frequent reason for revocation involved permit holders carrying a concealed handgun without keeping their licenses on them. The forthcoming third edition of "More Guns, Less Crime" shows that in other right-to-carry states, permit holders are just as law-abiding. That book finds no evidence that revocation rates are any higher in states that allow permitted handguns in taverns.

What gun prohibitions do is create dangerous gun-free zones - places where criminals intent on harming others feel confident they can commit crimes with impunity. A criminal who takes his gun into a gun-free zone knows that the good law-abiding citizens, his victims, are sitting ducks. A government that maintains laws like that is not looking after the interests of its citizens.

It's past time for the commonwealth to take aim at counterproductive laws that endanger Virginians. With a flick of his pen, Mr. McDonnell can correct this problem and modernize Virginia's right-to-carry law.


CA: Judge acknowledges self-defense role in slaying: "In his front yard on a tough street in a tough part of town, James Sanchez Castillo last year shot and killed a man who jumped out of a car and into his face. On Friday, Castillo walked out of the courtroom with a probation term and four months already served in county jail, the result of a plea bargain in a case that, according to the judge, contained a major slice of self-defense. "In America, you still have a right to defend yourself on your own property," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard said from the bench. Castillo, 31, gunned down Leopoldo Velasco III, 23, last April 24, in a deadly conclusion to a week's worth of warfare between the women in their lives... At the time, Velasco's blood-alcohol level was 0.06, according to an autopsy report. He ran up to Castillo in his yard and shouted, "I'll kick your ass," and then "I'll kill you," according to a neighbor quoted in defense papers. Castillo said in his probation report that "I was very, very afraid and I was sure that he was going to kill me. I honestly believe that I had no choice but to shoot him." He fired three times and left Velasco lifeless. The victim died a parolee, with a record of felony convictions for car theft and evasion of the police and misdemeanor battery, possession of methamphetamine, resisting arrest, car theft, drunken driving and carrying a concealed weapon."

NC man won't face charges in shooting of girlfriend's father: "A man in Bladen County will not face charges in the shooting death of his girlfriend's father last year. On October 29th, investigators say Caleb Stoker, 22, shot Ricky Carroll up to five times during an argument. Investigators also said at the time that Carroll may have hit Stoker with a lead pipe. The incident happened in Tory Hole Park. After months of investigating, Bladen County District Attorney Rex Gore announced Thursday that authorities with SBI and the Elizabethtown Police Department were not able to rule out self-defense in this matter. Gore stated that the state has the burden of proof on self defense. Gore says there is no evidence to refute the self defense claim, so they can't bring charges. On October 29, 2009, officers from the Elizabethtown Police Department and the SBI responded to an area in Elizabethtown known as the Tory Hole. Law enforcement noted that Mr. Stoker was bleeding from a gash above his left eye and that he was emotionally upset. Mr. Stoker was transported to the Bladen County Hospital. While at the scene, officers observed Ricky Carroll lying on his right side, facing the Cape Fear River. Mr. Carroll was dead from apparent gunshot wounds. On his notes, the SBI crime scene tech reported a silver pipe located approximately five (5) feet from Mr. Carroll's body. The pipe was three feet nine inches long and had on it some visible blood... The SBI noted that the pipe was heavy."

Anti-gun bigotry: "A New Jersey man is upset that a baseball league has rejected his gun store as a Little League team sponsor, reported. Matthew Carmel's son played in the South Orange-Maplewood Baseball League last year and he wanted to sponsor a team in the coming season. A sponsorship costs $300. The league committee rejected his offer, and Carmel thinks that it is because his business happens to be a gun store called Constitution Arms. "It is fairly clear that someone has a problem with firearms," he told Carmel started the sponsorship process in October. He says after months of correspondence and delays he finally received a rejection from the league secretary via a short e-mail. Carmel says what really bothers him is that, while he was rejected, other approved league sponsors appear questionable, including businesses that sell or serve tobacco and alcohol."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Florida very specifically does not allow concealed carry in bars. See statute 790.06 "No license issued pursuant to this section shall authorize any person to carry a concealed weapon or firearm into (...) any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;

Restaurants attached to, fine - but not in the bar area itself.