Open Carry / Concealed Carry: Both Make Us Less Safe

By Tom Buglio

Open Carry makes society more dangerous

A man in Colorado Springs was openly carrying a rifle, looking distraught.  A neighbor called 911, and was informed that Colorado is an ‘open carry state,’ so no police were dispatched.  A few minutes later, he shot and killed a boy on a bicycle, with the same caller calling 911 again.  The shooter killed 3 people before being shot by the police.  Without universal background checks, and no requirement for gun safety training, open carry is a dangerous law.

 Concealed Carry also makes us less safe

The more that sensational gun violence afflicts the nation, the more the myth of the vigilant citizen packing a legally permitted concealed weapon, fully prepared to stop the next mass shooter in his tracks, is promoted.  This foolhardy notion of quick-draw resistance, however, is dramatically contradicted by a research project showing that, since 2007, at least 763 people have been killed in 579 shootings that did not involve self-defense.

Tellingly, the vast majority of these concealed-carry, licensed shooters killed themselves or others rather than taking down a perpetrator. The death toll includes 29 mass killings of three or more people by concealed carry shooters who took 139 lives; 17 police officers shot to death, and – in the ultimate contradiction of concealed carry as a personal safety factor – 223 suicides. Compared with the 579 non-self-defense, concealed-carry shootings, there were only 21 cases in which self-defense was determined to be a factor.

Statistics compiled by the Violence Policy Center

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