Here’s Why I Carry

“Why do you need to carry a gun?” It’s a question gun control advocates like to ask. And the truth is, most of the time I don’t need one. That isn’t unusual, as the overwhelming majority of people who carry a weapon never have to draw it.

But a gun is a lot like a seat-belt or fire extinguisher: it’s a lot better to have one you don’t need than to need one you don’t have. That’s a fact some folks in Minnesota recently learned.

The hard way.

Minneapolis has seen a rash of gang beatings. Victims have been left unconscious, often being stomped as they lay helpless on the ground.

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The perpetrators apparently have no fear of law enforcement, with at least one of the attacks occurring in broad daylight. Perhaps that’s because they know Minneapolis’ police force is chronically understaffed. And the bad news for potential victims is that it’s not clear when or even if the city is going to fix that. The good news?

Having a gun can even the odds.

Unlike most weapons, a firearm’s efficacy depends on its user’s skill–not her size or strength. That’s why a woman in neighboring St. Paul, Minnesota was able to single handedly drive off a gang of men.

It’s also how a woman in Texas was able to defend herself from two robbers, one of whom had struck her with a baseball bat.

Having a gun meant that a Michigan man was able to defend himself in a drugstore parking lot–despite being ninety-one years old.

These stories are far from unique, as across the country, you can find thousands of cases in which armed citizens protected themselves and others.

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What's more, sometimes a gun can stop a crime without even being used. That's what a DOJ-funded survey of federal convicts would suggest, anyway. Eighty-one percent of participants agreed that "a smart criminal always tries to find out if his potential victim is armed.” Seventy-four percent concurred with the statement, “One reason burglars avoid houses when people are home is they fear being shot.”

Yet although people who legally carry might be a threat to criminals, they aren't a danger to the public.

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In 2018 over 1.3 million Texans were licensed to carry a firearm; one of them was convicted of murder and another three were convicted of manslaughter. If they formed their own country, it would have a per capita murder rate of 0.29 per 100 thousand. For comparison, the UK's 2018 rate was 1.2.

So far, eighteen suspects have been arrested in Minneapolis, and city council members are hesitant to hire more officers. Even if they do, residents know that a cop can't accompany them everywhere.

A pistol should.

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