Though it should hardly come as a surprise considering his past record and rhetoric, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama further cemented his left-wing foundations Wednesday by stating that he is firmly against Americans defending themselves with legally concealed firearms.
“I am not in favor of concealed weapons,” Obama said. “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could [get shot during] altercations.”
These remarks are consistent with Obama’s past record on guns, where he favors an outright ban on many classes of firearms.
As noted in a previous article for PJ Media from February 22, Obama said in the 1998 Illinois State Legislative National Political Awareness Test that he favored a ban on the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons. Semi-automatic weapons are those firearms that are self-loading. They fire once per trigger pull, and use the energy generated by the firing cartridge to eject the empty casing and load the next round. They are not to be confused with fully-automatic weapons — most commonly called machine guns — used by the military and some elite police units, which will fire for as long as the trigger is depressed and the firearm has ammunition.
The semi-automatic firearms Barack Obama would like to see banned include rifles and shotguns commonly used for defense, hunting, and many forms of target shooting. This counters his campaign web site, where Obama claims to respect the Second Amendment. Cleverly worded as befitting a lawyer, Obama’s one-paragraph statement says he respects the rights of hunters. The right of using a firearm in self-defense or the defense of others appears nowhere in his statement.
Obama’s recent remarks against the rights of citizens in states allowing concealed carry are hardly surprising. There are presently 39 states that have “shall issue” concealed carry provisions and nine more that have “may issue” laws. Obama’s home state of Illinois is but one of two states in the nation — the other being Wisconsin — that refuse to allow their citizens to apply for a concealed carry license.
The justification for his dismissal of concealed carry rights — “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could [get shot during] altercations” — has long been debunked by scientific data, and is based solely on feelings, not logic.
A liberal Democrat, criminologist Garry Kleck set out to prove that the ownership of firearms didn’t decrease crime. In 1993 he published Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, which stated that Americans used guns for self-defense against criminals as often as 2.5 million times a year — 6,850 times a day. Of those uses, the mere presence of a firearm ended the threat of criminal activity.
John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime studied data compiled from every U.S. county from 1977 to 1994, and concluded that states with “shall issue” concealed carry laws — “shall issue” meaning that governments must issue a permit unless a citizen is disqualified, versus “may issue” states where citizens have to justify why they would need a permit, and “no issue” states where concealed carry is never an option — and discovered that violent crimes steadily decrease in states where citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons.
But what of Senator Obama’s specific assertion that more innocent people could get shot during altercations? If the senator wants to decrease the number of innocent people shot, he should start by taking firearms away from the state.
A commonly cited figure from Newsweek for well over a decade notes that “only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The ‘error rate’ for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high.” Upon reflection, such a figure makes perfect sense.
Civilians in “shall issue” states take intensive formal classes in advance of obtaining a carry permit, and in those classes the majority of the time is spent covering the legal liability, escalation, and justification for the use of deadly force. As a result, permit holders are very careful about deploying their weapons, as simply drawing a firearm when the threat is not warranted could lead to permit revocation and jail time. Far from being trigger-happy, CCH licensees are extremely reserved when compared to the general population.
In those instances where a handgun is used, civilians so rarely shoot innocent victims because they are present for the criminal enterprise, and therefore can easily isolate who the criminals are as the crime is occurring. Police, however, are reactionary in nature and most often show up after a crime has been reported. They arrive at the scene due to second- or third-hand information provided by a dispatcher, and cannot immediately tell criminal actors from innocent victims or bystanders, greatly increasing the possibility of false identification and an erroneous shooting.
Obama has never recognized a right of Americans to use firearms for defense, and has in the past exuded disdain for firearms and their owners. Like so many of his campaign promises, Barack Obama has based his position on concealed carry upon feelings, not readily available facts.
We should hardly be surprised.
Bob Owens blogs at Confederate Yankee.