From: Brad3000 <
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 17:24:02 -0400
To: BRADTEST <Subject: SRA - Concealed-Gun Laws Spring From Nation's Culture...
FYI - Interesting...
Concealed-gun laws spring from nation's culture
GUNS:The debate over concealed-carry handgun laws hinges as
much on American culture as it does statistics.
BY SCOTT THISTLE, NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER - Jun. 30, 2003
Aman in Philadelphia shoots and kills his neighbor in a dispute
over snow shoveling. After seeing Disney's "102 Dalmatians," a
man in an Alabama theater shoots himself in the abdomen when the
handgun in his jacket pocket goes off by accident. A man partying
on St. Patrick's Day in an Indiana restaurant goes to the restroom,
pulls out his pistol and blasts a toilet to pieces. "It didn't
flush fast enough," he tells police later.
A man in Tulsa, Okla., foils a rape when he shoots and kills the
An Alabama Marine Corps sergeant shoots and kills a man trying
to steal his car. A woman who, while entering a Louisiana child
care center, is attacked by an unknown man, scares him off by
firing the handgun she has in her purse.
Documented by the media, these incidents are some of the evidence
for and against liberalizing laws that make it easier for people
to carry handguns for personal protection.
On one side are gun advocates who point to studies showing that
when more people are allowed to carry firearms for self-defense,
crime goes down.
On the other side are antigun groups that say statistics show
more guns mean more gun violence, including accidental shootings
But the polarization over gun rights in the United States isn't
based solely on the interpretation of statistics or studies. Most
seeking permits simply believe in their Second Amendment right to
bear arms, said Frederick "Gardy" Behrends, a Duluth-based National
Rifle Association certified handgun trainer.
"It's an American want of freedom just to be able to do something,
but not necessarily do it," Behrends said. It also appears to be
a cultural issue. In some parts of the country, the number of
permits seem to suggest that guns are considered necessary tools,
while in others they only cause death and destruction.
WHATEVER THE REASON
Barring law-abiding citizens from having handguns in public is
an unlikely solution to American gun-related crime, said Robert
Gevers II, a Fort Wayne, Ind., lawyer. Gevers was the county
prosecutor who won a homicide conviction against Joseph Corcoran,
who shot and killed four, including his brother, in a Fort Wayne
living room in 1997. Corcoran, now on Indiana's death row, had
previously stood trial but was acquitted for the 1992 shotgun
slayings of his mother and father. Also in his background was a
1993 conviction for criminal mischief when he and a friend shot
a telephone line in two, causing a disruption in local service.
Despite that, the rules in Indiana, a "shall-issue" state, didn't
disqualify him from carrying a loaded firearm in public.
"But whether we would have had a concealed-carry law or not
wouldn't have mattered because he (Corcoran) could go out, just
like I can go out, and buy a long gun or buy an assault rifle
for whatever reason," Gevers said. Corcoran used a high-powered
assault rifle in the quadruple homicide. Tightening regulation
on gun sales would be the best solution to stem the flow of
firearms to criminals, Gevers said.
OUTCRY IN MINNESOTA
With the passage of Minnesota's Personal Protection Act of 2003,
the state switched from a may-issue to a shall-issue state,
prompting some public outcry that gun violence will escalate
and stories like Corcoran's will become common. But as specific
cases like Corcoran's are put forward by antigun groups, pro-gun
groups offer their own cases of licensed handgun holders prevent-
ing crime and protecting themselves and others from would-be
In attempted rape in Tulsa, Okla., was stopped in progress on
Jan. 25 by a man using a .40-caliber handgun who shot and killed
the assailant, according to a story written by the Associated
Press wire service. Guns, like drugs, are available to criminals,
Gevers said. "If you really want to get cocaine or methamphetamines
or marijuana or whatever it is, you can get it. And if these bad
guys out there want to get a gun they can get a gun."
Ultimately, the desire many have to carry guns, even those who
might not deserve to, is part of American culture, he said. It's
not an issue easily settled with statistics or studies.
STATES LIKE US
A look at states with populations close to Minnesota's, including
Arizona, Oregon and Louisiana, shows no significant correlation
between crime rates and the number of those seeking or gaining
permission to carry firearms. But there's also no correlation
between population and the number of permits issued, suggesting
there's another reason why they're being sought.
Louisiana, for example, with a population of 4.5 million and the
nation's highest murder rate per capita, according to the FBI,
has only 17,000 active concealed handgun permits, according to
the Louisiana State Police, which issues the permits.
In contrast, Oregon, with 3.4 million people and ranking 40th in
the nation in murder rates, has more than 90,000 concealed handgun
license holders, officials there said. Arizona, with 5.1 million
people and ranking 9th in the national murder rankings, has 67,695
active handgun permits.
In Oregon, most permits are issued to people who live in eastern
and rural parts of the state. "There's still a cowboy mentality
there and we still even have rustling," said Chuck Long, a data
systems manager with the state of Oregon. "People carry guns in
eastern Oregon like others would carry umbrellas."
"There is some mystique about it that is part of the American
psyche I can't explain it other than if you look through the
history of this country, firearms are a very big part of it,"
said Gevers, the Fort Wayne attorney. "Whether we were fighting
the Indians or the Redcoats or each other during the Civil War,
that's just the way it was."
Still, he and others wonder if there is a disconnect.
The cultural acceptance of guns as a tool rings especially true
in rural America, but urbanites can't always connect with the
gun as a tool and instead see it only as a device for death and
destruction, Gevers said.
Urban people, unaccustomed to firearms, don't always recognize
the gun's evolution as a multipurpose tool the way people from
more rural areas do, Gevers said.
"I don't have snakes in my backyard, I don't have varmints gett-
ing the chickens -- I don't have those sort of things that a gun
can be used as a tool against," he said. "But it's part of what
the psyche may be about and those of us in the urban areas don't
have the need of guns as tools but we see them as an extension
of ourselves, perhaps, and it is still ingrained in us and we
can't quite give it up."
The idea of being able to hold a manufacturer of a
legally sold product, liable for any after sale
illegal misuse, is like suing Boeing for the World
Trade attacks! Brad.