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Guns, crime, and the news media: The truth that is concealed

By Paul M. Weyrich
web posted August 19, 2002

There have been three murders of women in Baton Rouge, Louisiana near the Louisiana State University campus, which police have concluded is the work of the same predator. DNA evidence has linked the victims, who apparently didn't know each other. Now police are looking at previous unsolved murders of women in Baton Rouge. There have been more than 30 in the past decade.

The reaction locally is what might be expected. Women are purchasing guns at ten times the rate they have done in the past. Mace sales are up dramatically. Governor Mike Foster told residents of the area that they should apply for "concealed carry" permits if they feel so inclined. He pointed out that police can only do so much, so citizens have to help.

What the media almost never report is the fact that everywhere concealed carry is in effect, serious crime has declined dramatically. That's because most of the media is in favor of gun control. The fact that concealed carry has a positive effect in every community where it is used disrupts their theory that gun control is needed to combat crime.

You never hear the truth about Washington, D.C. The nation's capital has the toughest gun control laws in the nation. But Washington also has one of the highest murder rates committed with guns in the nation. There turned out to be no correlation between the passage of gun control laws and a drop in the number of murders committed with guns. In fact, crimes committed with guns actually went up after some of the toughest measures were passed.

Gun control advocates claim that because guns are readily available in nearby Virginia and Maryland that Washington's laws won't work. So, they contend, if Maryland and Virginia would just pass similar gun control measures then Washington's law would be a success. The problem is there is no evidence to back up that idea. When criminals want to get guns they will get guns. Guns have been outlawed in Great Britain. But many prominent citizens, including a television personality, have been killed with guns. If gun control laws worked that wouldn't happen. Oh, and all sorts of non-gun related crime is way up. When someone is determined to kill another person they will find a way to do so, guns or not. So gun control has not done a thing for controlling crime.

The problem for gun control advocates is that in Virginia, a concealed carry law has had a dramatic effect reducing crime. So there is no sentiment in the state legislature to pass gun control measures. On the contrary, if anything is done it will be to expand concealed carry. Even in the Maryland legislature concealed carry is a live option despite the fact that the Democrats have overwhelming control of both houses. But many of those Democrats are conservative on social issues so they don't vote for gun control.

Despite the major efforts of the NRA and Gun Owners of America, whose Washington spokesman Larry Pratt is clearly one of the most articulate opponents of gun control in the nation, the truth about concealed carry is still hardly known. The fact is that criminals are reluctant to go after people who may or may not have a gun to face them down. It works. The data clearly supports that view. Why this isn't before every state legislature in the nation is a tragedy. Those legislatures, heavily controlled by liberals, are influenced by the gun control lobby. The media, with few exceptions, will never explain how well concealed carry works.

Maybe what happens in Baton Rouge will tell a story which can't be ignored. It could be that some of the women who are applying for concealed carry permits will end up catching this serial killer, where police have been unable to do so. If that happens, and given the strong support that Gov. Mike Foster has given to the program, it just could be that Baton Rouge will be the place where concealed carry will finally get the attention it deserves.

Paul M. Weyrich is President of the Free Congress Foundation.

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Other related stories: (open in a new window)

  • Anti-gun myths harm women by Wendy McElroy (May 6, 2002)
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  • So, you want to see me naked? by Linda A. Prussen-Razzano (January 10, 2000)
    Linda Prussen-Razzano has a 12 Gauge 28" Accu-Choke shotgun and four words for anyone who would do harm to her safety and security

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