The Corner

The New York Times Hyperventilates About Guns (Again)

In response to Taking Hawaii?

Yesterday, my colleague Charlie Cooke noted that the Missouri legislature convincingly overrode Governor Jay Nixon’s veto to become the eleventh “constitutional carry” state. Charlie predicted that the “usual suspects will, of course, cry bloody murder.” Well today, the New York Times obliged. Using all the restraint the Gray Lady is known for, it’s editors declared Missouri the “shoot-me” state and attacked not just constitutional carry but also Missouri’s version of a “stand-your-ground” statute:

The measure has drawn no great national attention, but it certainly provides further evidence that gun safety cannot be left to state lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby. Democrats opposed to the Missouri bill called it a “perfect storm” of lowered standards for the use of deadly force and an invitation for people to be armed without responsible controls. The measure was enacted by the Republicans, despite strong public opposition and warnings about the threat to public safety from the state Police Chiefs Association. Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the groups fighting the gun lobby, noted that stand-your-ground laws result in disproportionate harm to communities of color.

In his post, Charlie noted that constitutional carry has been law in multiple states with no discernible negative effect on crime rates. In other words, allowing citizens to exercise their civil rights does not transform American communities into free-fire zones. Missouri won’t be the Wild West (heck, the Wild West wasn’t even all that wild), and stand-your-ground laws simply carve out a simple principle — America’s public and private spaces do not belong to violent aggressors. Yes, there has been an increase in justifiable homicides (the numbers are still quite small relative to all homicides) since the widespread passage of stand-your-ground statutes, but empowering citizens to protect themselves from violence — without first having to prove that they made the right split-second decision not to flee — is precisely the point of the statute.

Responsible armed citizenship is safe citizenship, but there is also an important cultural and psychological effect as well — one that some leftists plainly abhor. When you talk to many concealed carriers, you’ll find that the moment they started carrying, they felt not just less vulnerable but also less dependent. In many ways, the decision to carry a gun is a form of declaration of independence – a declaration that you are no longer fundamentally dependent on an inefficient and (almost always) tardy state for the safety and security of the people you love the most. 

I echo Charlie’s call for more states to enact constitutional carry. I would say that the Second Amendment is the only permit I need, but not even the Second Amendment grants me the right to keep and bear arms — it merely recognizes and protects a right of self-defense that exists in natural law. Tennessee legislators, are you reading? Eleven states have gone first. You can make it twelve. 

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