Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
As a Virginia concealed carry permit holder, I feel compelled to reply
to the editorial "Privatizing concealed carry database threatens
public safety" (CT, Apr. 2).
First of all, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, any person who owns a
handgun can carry it openly, Wild-West style, anywhere they want (with
a few exceptions). Someone I know once openly carried a very tiny
pocket pistol into a Kroger and was asked by his trembling cashier
whether he was going to kill her.
It is not surprising that in this environment, those of us who wish to
carry firearms on our person choose to conceal them in order to avoid
the fearful reactions like those of the Kroger cashier. So, instead we go through the thorough and lengthy process of concealed carry permit application. Many of us do; in fact, you have probably encountered people like us at the supermarket or at the
theater, or anywhere other than on campus or in a bar.
That should not give you pause because concealed carry holders are the
most law-abiding citizens there are. In the absence of data about
Virginia, I will mention that a study of Texas concealed carry permit
holders indicated that they are 5.7 times less likely than the average
citizen to commit a violent crime. In Florida and Arkansas,
respectively, those with concealed carry permits are 300 and 1,000
times less likely to commit a violent crime. If average people were as
law-abiding as average permit holders, the United States would have
the lowest crime rate in the entire world.
Imagine the consternation we feel when those of us who have so
diligently applied ourselves to obtaining the permit to carry a
handgun hidden in public suddenly have our names published in a major
newspaper for all to see.
Those of us who wish to carry a handgun in public do not wish to deal
with the hysteria of some people if we openly carry - like with the
aforementioned cashier - and also do not wish to be made a spectacle
of by the horrific misuse of the Virginia concealed carry database by
the Roanoke Times. It should be completely obvious why we want our
names to be hidden from the public.
Second of all, I would like to say that the process for obtaining a
Virginia concealed carry permit entails a criminal and mental health
background check as well as passing a class, which demonstrates that
you are adequately capable of using and accurately firing a handgun. I
would like to know where anyone, usually those who loathe and know
nothing about firearms, get off second guessing the Virginia State
Police when it comes to firearms safety and qualification. The whole
point of the Virginia concealed carry criterion is to establish a
clearly defined set of conditions for the issuing of a concealed carry
permit. Part of the reason this exists is to safeguard the right of
responsible gun owners to self-defense from the irrational bias of
those who fear guns.
As my final point, when the authors of the earlier editorial write
"the average citizen can no longer check to see whether the babysitter
to whom they entrust their children is packing heat," not only do they
show themselves to be hopelessly biased by their use of the sophomoric
term "packing heat," but they also show their ignorance of the law. It
states that any person may refuse the right of a concealed carry owner
to carry a firearm on their property. Any person can, for any reason,
demand that their private property should remain gun free.
That should be the end of their problem with the privatization of the
Virginia concealed carry database.
senior, aerospace engineering