Friday, September 16, 2005

Vos On Concealed Carry

I sent this letter to Robin Vos yesterday, urging him to reconsider his stand on Concealed Carry. I'd emailed him previously about the issue, not realizing he was a sponsor. He left a message on my answering machine, stating his position and some reasons. This was my response.


Dear Robin –

When we met at the Racine county fair, you indicated to me that you were more a moderate than a “party line” Republican in your opinions and voting habits. Yet, every issue I’ve contacted you on seems to indicate the reverse. Take the issue I recently contacted you on, the “Concealed Carry” proposal.

You are for the Concealed Carry bill. You even indicated that you are one of the sponsors of it.

This is not a moderate position. This is not something that a majority of Wisconsinites, or even the people in your own district, want. This is a position championed by a set of special interests that do not represent the majority of the people.

Additionally, this bill does not meet the “Where’s the need?” criteria. We need more affordable health care. We need a better environment. We need to make sure that people can earn a living for their families. Where’s the need for carrying concealed weapons?

On the whole, Wisconsin is a very safe state to live in. There are no unbiased studies that suggest that adding concealed handguns will make Wisconsin safer.

In your call to me, you cited some statistics. If I remember correctly, the point of them seemed to be that of the 45 (!) states that allow concealed carry permits, some or perhaps all of them have a lesser “gun violence” (or perhaps it was “crime”) rate than Milwaukee or Racine.

Robin, from what I’ve seen, you’re a fairly smart man. Clearly smart enough to know that this is a “weasel statistic.” That is, it’s a statistic that draws a conclusion by comparing two things that are not actually comparable.

A more reasonable statistic would be to compare the violence/crime rates in the major cities in those states to the major cities in ours, or to compare the violence/crime rates in the states overall to those in our state overall. Or, even, to compare the crime rates (and gun violence rates) in those major cities before and after the concealed carry laws were passed.

By your very use of these kind of phony statistics, you’re telling us that you know your argument to be false.

If statistics are a reason to enact gun laws – and I’m not sure they are – then, again, I will cite the case of Japan.

In Japan, it is nearly impossible to own a gun; Japan has virtually no gun violence.

If our aim is to reduce gun violence, clearly the Japanese model is the one to immitate – rather than adding more guns to an already violent American mix.

Last Friday, my wife and children went to the Racine/Burlington football game. When they got home, I was horrified to hear that there had been a shooting after the game. My family was close enough to that shooting to clearly hear the shots. That’s far closer than I ever want anyone to be.

Burlington is a safer place to live than some parts of Racine. Do you really think it is because we have more guns in Burlington? (As opposed to having less poverty, drugs, and crime in general?)

Do you really think that someone in that football crowd having a legally concealed gun would have made the situation SAFER?


Guns are not the answer. More guns in the mix produce more violence.

A registered gun in the parking lot after that game could ONLY have resulted in more shooting – and more potential for loss of innocent life.

If, as you say, you believe that having more guns, concealed guns, would be safe because of a required course or series of gun handling courses, then why not require such courses of ALL gun owners?

If you are honest with yourself, you’ll have to admit that the reasons you’ve given for having a concealed carry law do not hold up to careful scrutiny.

Please, reconsider your position.

Thank you.

-- Steve Sullivan

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