The Economist: Permitless Carry A Bad Idea

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So far, 2021 has been a banner year for permitless carry, also called constitutional carry. A number of states have embraced it as of this year, more than I recall passing such legislation in a single year, much less in a span of only a few months.


It’s been great.

However, over at The Economist, they’re pretty sure this is a horrible idea.

Those championing permitless carry argue that having more armed citizens will help save lives. Tennessee’s governor, Bill Lee, has called his state’s new law “core to a strong public-safety agenda”. But there are reasons, such as law enforcement’s opposition, to be sceptical of this. In Tennessee and elsewhere, police have campaigned against permitless carry, saying it endangers them and makes it more likely that criminals and felons could walk around armed. As Stan Standridge, the police chief for San Marcos, Texas, has pointed out, the Lone Star state requires licences to drive a boat and cut hair. Yet guns can wreak far more havoc than boats or hair-clippers. This is a rare issue where Republicans have openly split from the concerns and interests of police in favour of pleasing their base.

Nor do more permissive gun laws make people safer. There are several reasons why armed citizens rarely interrupt shooting rampages, including fear of the police believing them to be the shooter, says Kris Brown of Brady, a gun-control organisation. A study by researchers at Stanford looked at the impact of “right-to-carry” laws and found that ten years after adoption, they were linked to a 13-15% increase in violent-crime rates. Yet the full impact of permitless carry on Americans’ safety could take many years to prove. There are so many guns already in circulation that it is difficult to discern the effects of specific changes to laws, and for two decades, the NRA successfully stopped federal funds from going to firearms research that might point toward the need for more gun control.


Yes, because when I want to really get a neutral take on a piece of pro-gun legislation, I go to one of the most vehemently anti-gun groups on the planet.

It should be noted, however, that absolutely nothing on this piece lists it as an opinion piece. However, there was no attempt to reach out to pro-gun voices and get their take, to ask them questions, or anything. This is presented as a news piece, a think piece, and yet is nothing but an anti-gun screed masquerading as journalism.

Nor do they link to the study claiming “right-to-carry” led to an increase in violent crime. Without that, it’s impossible to critique the claim. Since this is posted on the internet, there’s little reason not to link it unless they either can’t find it–in which case they shouldn’t use the numbers–or they don’t want you to evaluate anything for yourself.

My money is on the latter for the simple reason that violent crime rates across the nation started dropping not too long after most states had adopted such policies and continued dropping over and over again until the last year or two. If you evaluated the study for yourself, you might find that the methodology used was questionable in some way.


Further, we’ll likely see a further drop in violent crime as more good guys are armed.

See, what people like the author never get is that the good guys aren’t the problem. A law-abiding citizen could have a rocket launcher at his disposal and no one would get hurt with it while the violent felon would kill with a rock or his bare hands. The sooner people come to understand that, the better off we’ll all be.

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