Everytown Researcher Blames Constitutional Carry for Public Transit Shootings

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Gun control activists have lost their battle to ban handguns. Their "may issue" concealed carry licensing laws have been struck down by the Supreme Court. In many cities and states, the biggest fight in the gun control debate is now where lawful gun owners can carry, and the gun control lobby is doing everything it can to expand the number of "gun-free zones" to the point that it's impossible to exercise our right to bear arms from a practical perspective. 

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Public transportation is a key "sensitive place" for anti-gunners. If they can stop guns from being legally carried in city buses, light rail, and subway cars, they can block millions of Americans from bearing arms for self-defense as they go about their daily routine. Multiple lawsuits are underway challenging these "gun-free zones", including in Illinois. 

Why might someone want to carry a pistol while they're riding a bus or train in Chicago? Well, here are just a few headlines from the website CWB Chicago over the past week. 

CTA passenger stabbed during robbery attempt on downtown L platform; suspect detained

4 men mugged Red Line passenger in Lakeview, Chicago police say

Pace bus driver gets 81 months for sexually assaulting passenger with cerebral palsy (but he won’t serve any prison time)

Recognize him? Cops say he robbed a woman on the Brown Line and they need help finding him.

Violent crime is such a huge problem in this "gun-free zone" that the head of the transit workers union says he's in favor of calling out the National Guard, as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently did in New York City. Of course, that hasn't exactly turned Manhattan's subway system into a subterranean Mayberry. There are still crimes reported every day in the MTA, including a murder on Monday when a man was shoved off a subway platform and was run over by an inbound train. 

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Both Chicago and New York's transit systems forbid concealed carry, but that inconvenient fact didn't stop an Everytown "researcher" from claiming that all this crime would disappear if it weren't for "lax gun laws, including Constitutional Carry. 

Sarah Burd-Sharps, senior director of research at Everytown for Gun Safety, said Americans have changed their way of life due to fear of gun violence in public places, from checking emergency exits in movie theaters to rethinking how to get to work. 

... A push for lenient gun laws has also contributed to a rise in violence, Burd-Sharps said, noting Louisiana and South Carolina were the latest to pass permitless concealed carry laws this month. While companies often have rules against bringing weapons onto buses, there’s no detector or method of enforcing the rule.

Having guns on buses, where people can be irritable and are confined to a small area, was a “recipe for harm,” she said.

First off, what rise in violence is Burd-Sharps talking about? According to the FBI, violent crime is declining in most U.S. cities, with homicides down 13 percent in the last three months of 2023 compared to 2022. Violent crime overall plunged by 6 percent during that same period, and as we've previously pointed out, cities in Constitutional Carry states like Florida, Oklahoma, and Georgia saw double-digit declines in their homicide rate last year. 

Meanwhile, many of the high-profile assaults that we've seen on public transit have taken place in locations that are supposedly "gun-free". As Burd-Sharps herself admits, however, it's one thing to put up a sign telling people guns aren't allowed. Enforcing that edict is something else entirely. If criminals are already routinely violating those policies, how does it make sense to bar lawful gun owners from carrying their pistol for self-defense? 

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It doesn't, unless you believe that no one should be able to carry a firearm for self-defense in any public setting. Gun control activists may have lost that battle at the Supreme Court but they're still waging a war on our right to keep and bear arms, and that means erecting an ever-expanding number of barriers between we the people and our Second Amendment rights. Disarming mass transit riders is just one part of their efforts, but that won't stop the violence on our public transportation networks. It will only ensure that violent criminals don't have to worry much about their victim being able to fight back. 

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