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Concealed weapons may cut crime

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Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 4:49 pm

Teachers packing Glocks in Galt?

Well, not exactly. However, the time for training school personnel in firearm handling and safety has come to this district.

While they’re at it, maybe they should consider arming some teachers or administrators with concealed weapons. Would this deter violent aggressors?

No one wants to see our schools become armed camps. But at the same time, who can deny that we now live in uncertain and unpredictable times?

Many object to concealed weapons based on conventional wisdom, which assumes fewer guns produce less crime. One might think so based on simple logic. After all, look at the Japanese. They have very strict gun laws and very few murders.

But what about the Swiss? Just about everyone there has a gun. However, the murder rate is one of the lowest in the world. It is only 0.5 per 100,000 people vs. the U.S. at five per 100,000.

Author and researcher John R. Lott, Jr. has studied the relationship between concealed weapons permit laws and their effect on crime. Dr. Lott received his Ph.D. from the University of California Los Angeles and has held positions at notable institutions such as Yale, the University of Chicago, the Wharton School of Business and the University of Maryland. In his second edition book, published in 1998, titled, “More Guns, Less Crime,” Lott came up with some surprising conclusions:

1. After a review of 25 years of history in which several states enacted CCW (carry concealed weapons) laws for law-abiding citizens, violent crime in those states dramatically dropped. As a result, Lott concluded that undercover “packing” by responsible citizens was a deterrent to criminal attack.

2. Despite the fact that anti-gun advocates had insisted CCW laws would increase violent crime, Lott proved just the opposite. Homicide rates have continued to fall in those permissive states.

3. The researcher and his associates also pointed out that jurisdictions with the strongest restrictions on CCW permits have the highest rate of gun-related murders.

After Lott revealed these and other data, anti-gun advocates did their best to dispel his conclusions. One of their points is that crime has fallen in all states and not just in those with loose gun laws. However, Lott has argued that crime fell at a steeper rate in those with the more liberal CCW policies.

One group, which published a vehement criticism of his conclusions, was rebuked in a 2003 issue of the Stanford Law Review. It reported that these naysayers had misread their own data!

Since Lott published his studies in late 1990s, more than 40 states (California is not one of them) have made it relatively easy for responsible civilians to carry weapons. None of these states has experienced higher homicide rates.

With an estimated 300 million guns in the United States, the odds of being murdered by one of these weapons are extremely small. The chances of an untimely death by substance abuse, disease or accident are far greater.

So, should school personnel be armed with concealed weapons? This is a question each district must answer, as policy-makers are ultimately responsible for the safety of their students.

Certainly for some, the emotionalism of gun-related issues will always override the facts. But one thing is certain: A sign that reads, “This is a gun-free zone” on a schoolhouse wall will do nothing to stop a deranged killer.

If anything, it will invite him in.

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.

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