When a prominent Wisconsin anti-gunner tried on Saturday to rebut Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke’s pro-self-defense comments during the Conservative Political Action Conference, he may have been both right and wrong about guns and private citizens.
Sheriff Clarke, speaking on a panel that became the focus of Saturday reports by WITI/Fox 6 News and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, noted that police cannot always respond quickly to calls for help, and suggested that armed private citizens intervene.
Sheriff Clarke is quickly becoming the epitome of what gun owners wish law enforcement administrators were like all over the country. During his appearance Friday at CPAC, Clarke reportedly observed, “The Second Amendment is pretty clear. You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to understand it. The armed citizen made this country free. The armed citizen will keep this country free.”
But gun prohibitionist Gabe Doyle with the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) countered, “That’s not reality, and that’s not what other states are supporting.”
Perhaps “states” don’t care for the idea of an armed public, but the people sure do, and there is evidence of that all over the map. Mr. Doyle need look no farther than neighboring Illinois, where tens of thousands of citizens are clamoring for concealed carry licenses. As this column reported, the first of those permits have been mailed and the state police anticipate as many as 400,000 applications this year.
In California, following court victories for cases supported by the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation, citizens have been lining up at county sheriff offices to apply for carry permits, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
The Boston Globe reported that carry licenses are “on the rise” as state officials consider new gun laws.
In Ohio’s Champaign and Clark counties, permit applications appear to be doubling over last year, and statewide, more than 97,000 active permits are now in circulation, according to the Springfield News Sun.
Here in Washington, this column will obtain new figures today on the number of active concealed pistol licenses, and it will likely be somewhere north of 450,000. Watch for an update in this space.
Mr. Doyle may have been engaged in wishful thinking. Gun sales are up and crime is down, as this column has repeatedly reported. Increasing numbers of Americans are getting licensed to carry, and they are behaving themselves far better than people who illegally carry guns, such as the 17-year-old charged last week with the murder of a north Seattle man.
Instead of offering specifics, Mr. Doyle engages in smarm, observing about Sheriff Clarke: “He’s carrying forward his personal message which is turning Wisconsin into the wild west. Let’s all get on our horses and our cowboy hats and go shoot it out.”
That is not what Clarke said at all. Contrary to what Mr. Doyle argued, Clark is explaining reality. When seconds count, police are minutes away, and the armed private citizen becomes the first responder.
But for anti-gunners, top cops are only credible when they agree with and support the gun control agenda. Otherwise, they’re to be portrayed as wild west yahoos. And they shouldn’t go around spouting off about the Second Amendment. It’s bad for the idea of public disarmament.