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The ‘armed citizen deterrent’ goes to work in Chicago, Toppenish

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, shown here at a 2013 press event, can't seem to acknowledge the deterrent effect of armed citizens on criminals.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, shown here at a 2013 press event, can't seem to acknowledge the deterrent effect of armed citizens on criminals.
Photo by John Gress/Getty Images

Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) is today reporting on what appears to be a deterrent effect concealed carry in Illinois that has been followed by lower crime rates in Chicago, and KIRO Eyewitness News reported that the Toppenish School District over in eastern Washington’s Yakima Valley is arming 11 of its administrators to be first responders in the event of a school attack.

What makes both stories important is that they underscore the deterrent value of highly publicizing the potential that intended victims of crime just might shoot back. Yesterday, Examiner learned from the Washington Department of Licensing that the Evergreen State now has 466,594 active concealed pistol licenses on the books, up 1,862 from the 464,732 reported last month.

According to guidelines created by Toppenish school officials, anyone authorized to carry a firearm on a district campus must undergo an extensive background check, and non-law enforcement staffers need a concealed pistol license. Will this news prevent a school attack? The odds of that may be higher than a “universal background check” law preventing a criminal from getting a gun, or prosecuting such an individual if he tries.

A letter in today’s Washington Post from Dan Gross, president of the anti-gun Brady Campaign, underscores the problem. Gross boasts that the Brady Law “has blocked about 2.1 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers, including more than 1 million to convicted felons, 291,000 to domestic abusers and 118,000 to fugitives, according to the Brady Campaign’s calcalutions.” But where are the criminal prosecutions to match those numbers and make the law truly effective?

Gross then reveals the true nature of his organization’s push for expanded check laws. “Of course we need more records in the system. But let’s give credit to the majority of states that have enacted laws that require agencies to report records — including mental health records — into NICS. According to the reporting, the number has tripled since 2011. That is a good thing.

“It’s simple,” Gross continues, “we need both to both get more records into NICS and expand background checks to all gun sales to ensure that prohibited people, including those who are a danger to themselves or others, don’t have easy access to guns.”

Notice, he’s talking about building a database on guns, not prosecuting criminals. Arguing that another law will prevent bad guys from getting guns is a flimsy sham, and gun prohibitionists know it.

In Chicago, according to the IBD report, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy left something unstated when he started handing out credit for the Windy’ City’s decline in violent crime. “He credited better police work,” the story says, but he ignored “the increase in the number of pistol-packing permits that let citizens defend themselves, their families and their neighbors.”

“The law,” says the story, “has left criminals uncertain of who might be able to shoot back.” Now, that’s a deterrent, as is publicizing the fact that school officials in a rural Washington school district are packing heat. It is no deterrent to pass a law that inconveniences law-abiding citizens but doesn’t even try to punish outlaws who get caught trying to violate it.

Yesterday, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and an opponent of Initiative 594, challenged two of that anti-gun measure’s billionaire proponents – Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg – to a two-on-one debate about their well-financed proposal. If that debate were to occur, Gottlieb could ask both of his opponents to explain why they’d rather build a database than prosecute criminals.

He might also ask why the two wealthy elitists, who have their own bodyguards, why they are feverishly trying to pass a law that criminalizes the lawful practice of loaning a firearm to an in-law for personal protection, or to friends for hunting or recreational shooting. Why should that become a gross misdemeanor or felony, unless the idea is to discourage gun ownership, and disqualify as many people as possible from owning or using firearms for any lawful purpose?

When a proposed law relating to firearms is so troublesome that it is not supported by a single law enforcement group – some are remaining neutral – and opposed by two of the state’s oldest and most respected police organizations, it’s a good chance there is something wrong with the proposal. When those same two groups support a rival measure, there’s an even better chance that the gun control proposal has more than one problem.

Law enforcement opposition to I-594 might just have a deterrent effect of its own, by making some people think twice about voting for the billionaire-backed gun control package. That question will be answered in two months.

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