Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue

Congressman Raul Grijalva, who heads the House subcommittee on national parks, is accusing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne of pandering to the National Rifle Association.

In a strongly worded letter to the Interior secretary on his efforts to allow national park visitors to arm themselves, the Democrat from Arizona asserts that the proposal "is not sound policy; it is pandering to an interest group with no interest in National Parks."

In the two-page letter (attached below), Representative Grijalva not only points out misrepresentations in the NRA's push to see concealed carry allowed in national parks and national wildlife refuges but also says the secretary's proposal will not simplify gun laws across the country as he contends but "will destroy uniformity of application and hopelessly muddle visitor understanding of the requirements."

The congressman also maintains the proposal, if adopted, will further undermine the safety of park rangers.


"NPS law enforcement personal will also be put at greater risk. Most of these brave men and women work alone, confronting large crowds where alcohol can be prevalent. Wading into a situation alone to restore and protect park visitors and park resources is daunting under the current rule. The last thing these dedicated public servants need is loaded guns hidden in the crowd.

AttachmentSize
Grijalva_Kempthorne_Letter_05_22_08.pdf54.49 KB

Comments

Kurt,
Here is some background on (Grijalva). This guy was a member of the group La Mecha which also can be seen as racist. He still refuses to disavow the group. This quote is from La Mechas constitution. "General membership shall consist of any student who accepts, believes and works for the goals and objectives of MEChA, including the liberation of AZTLAN, meaning self-determination of our people in this occupied state and the physical liberation of our land." AZTLAN is the entire Southwest of the USA.

How does he expect to continue to be taken seriously ?

Joe

Raul Grijalva: Have FBI probe alleged militia-racist link

Rep.-elect denounces patrols; they call his bigotry charges 'lies'

LUKE TURF
Tucson Citizen
Dec. 19, 2002

Vigilante group hurting towns' images, business, residents say

Congressman-elect Raúl Grijalva says his first official act will be to ask the FBI to investigate alleged links between civilian militias in southern Arizona and white supremacist groups.

'If you shine the light on the cockroaches, they don't like it," Rep.-elect Raúl Grijalva says at a press conference yesterday in calling for an investigation of citizen patrols, which he says are racist. LUKE TURF/Tucson Citizen

"If you shine the light on the cockroaches, they don't like it," Grijalva said at a press conference yesterday hosted by Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, a group that advocates for illegal immigrants.

"The more we ignore it, the more it's going to fester," said Grijalva, who will be the first representative from the new Congressional District 7, which stretches from Tucson to Yuma.

Grijalva also said he wants a "declarative condemnation" of the militias by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Border Patrol spokesman Ryan Scudder said the militias have the same right to operate and to speak their mind as Derechos Humanos. However, Border Patrol doesn't issue opinions on specific groups.

Grijalva spoke out against the Sierra Vista-based American Border Patrol, Texas-based Ranch Rescue and the Civil Homeland Defense, organized by Tombstone newspaper publisher Chris Simcox.

Grijalva said he believes all three organizations are racist.

A report released yesterday by the Tucson-based Border Action Network alleges that groups such as the American Border Patrol are local fronts for neo-Nazi groups such as the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens.

The report says such groups provided funding to local vigilante groups but no specific amounts are given.

Glenn Spencer of the American Border Patrol said claims that his group is connected to racist organizations are "absolute lies."

Simcox challenged Grijalva to "prove it," and said the congressman-elect should instead investigate "why the borders are wide open."

Simcox said Grijalva is trying to deflect attention from the real issue, which is how illegal immigrants are sticking taxpayers with the bill for emergency health care and other social services.

Ranch Rescue spokesman Jack Foote couldn't be reached for comment.

Ranch Rescue has sent armed patrols onto private property in southern Arizona, and Simcox said his group plans to start patrolling private and public property along the border next month.

The American Border Patrol uses electronic equipment to monitor illegal immigrant traffic along the border. Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos said that group may be working with the U.S. Border Patrol because two former U.S. patrol agents now work for the American Border Patrol.

Scudder denied there was a link.

"We don't have anything to do with them," Scudder said. "They're retired agents. They have no access, they have no official connections with the U.S. Border Patrol."

Grijalva said his second priority in Washington will be asking for congressional hearings on border problems that would be held near the border.

Grijalva, a Democrat, toured southern Arizona's border with Mexico earlier this month with three other members of Arizona's congressional delegation: U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl and U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, all Republicans.

Why the concern about citizens that have been issued a "Right to Carry Permit? They are US citizens that have been subjected to a background search that has shown them responsible citizens. The hidden gun in the crowd most likely already exists. The criminal is the problem not the licensed gun owner.

It sounds like the Congressman has a problem with alcohol. Maybe we should start with banning that too. We should make the world as benign as possible right? Let's look at his quote again:

"NPS law enforcement personal will also be put at greater risk. Most of these brave men and women work alone, confronting large crowds where alcohol can be prevalent. Wading into a situation alone to restore and protect park visitors and park resources is daunting under the current rule. The last thing these dedicated public servants need is loaded guns hidden in the crowd."

Why would he single out guns when he clearly painted alcohol with the same broad and dangerous brush? It sounds to me like the Congressman is pandering to the Anti-gun Lobby. Of course he’s not a hypocrite when he says something the moderator of the site agrees with. Maybe we should just ban the large crowds they're confronting. (That would be easy. Just take away the designation of National Park. The same land will be there but people will stop coming in droves.) We all know what it's like when Old Faithful is running late. It's pandemonium everywhere. I bet the rangers are checking their watches and diving for the nearest foxhole.

I’m guessing you have a great chance of losing your life while walking through certain parks with not enough nourishment or water. I’d be willing to bet you are more likely to die while rock climbing or riding your mountain bike on slick rock. What about boating? I hereby call for a look at all activities and ban anything dangerous. Down with hiking, campfires, water skiing, fishing, mountain climbing, alcohol.

Joel,

Sorry, I don't see the hypocrisy. Alcohol by itself cannot kill an innocent bystander in a crowd.

But really, I think you'd have to agree that wild statements are being made on both sides of this issue. This was in the New York Times today:

“You read stories about people attacked by animals or who stumble upon meth labs or women who are raped in a national park,” the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, said.

I cannot recall the last time a park visitor was attacked outright by an unprovoked wild animal. Yes, there are incidents when grizzlies have attacked visitors, but in every case I can recall it was because the humans wandered into the bear's territory, not a random bear-eats-tourist attack. Would you say these humans need to arm themselves so they can ignore well-accepted practices for protecting yourself in the wilds? And if so, would you agree that that would lead to higher numbers of wildlife killings? And would that be acceptable?

Meth labs in the parks? I don't recall any. I have heard of marijuana farms in Sequoia and Yosemite, but can't recall any stories of visitors "stumbling" upon them.

Rapes in parks. I can't deny that one. Those are truly disturbing incidents that I wish there was an easy solution for. Is carrying a gun the easy solution? If one is confronted in the backcountry by a rapist, who obviously has a plan, how quickly could a potential victim get a gun out of her backpack (after all, we are talking about "concealed" carry)? Wouldn't it be better to travel in groups? To learn self-defense?

What about those who believe the majority of rapes are committed by men who know their victims and so are more likely to catch the women off-guard?

All that said, there are no easy answers to this debate in which hyperbole runs rampant. For every comment that guns are dangerous and there are too many in circulation there is another that more guns equates with more safety in society. I think you'd have to agree that both sides have some merit to their arguments.


To Tom Smith:

because right now if a park ranger finds evidence of poaching on wildlife, in parks where hunting is illegal, a loaded weapon, carried illegally, is significant evidence.

Furthermore, in areas where poaching is known to be high, but difficult to catch the poacher in the act, by enforcing the rules against carrying weapons park rangers significantly reduce the incidence of illegal poaching.

The opportunity to view unhunted wildlife is a major reason many people visit parks. Even parks with comparatively low wildlife populations provide plentiful viewing opportunities because the animals are not as cautious. A significant number of visitors to parks, including significant tourism with significant dollar values to the US economy come to national parks for this experience.

Rules allowing guns would significantly undercut enforcement against poaching, and have a disproportionate impact on the visitor and tourism experience.

This would take an incredibly good lawyer. How would counsel prove to the court that my UN-fired 9mm pistol had been used to poach a full-grown elk ??

When I visit the Parks, no one, including you, or the animals, or the foreign tourists, are going to know that I am carrying a concealed handgun. How on earth is that going to affect their experience?

the anti-gun crowd continues the basic concepts here. We're talking about eliminating the unconstitutional prohibition of a citizen's right to self defense. Regulation 36CFR 2.4 will be amended to assimilate state CONCEALED CARRY laws. Everything else remains status quo.

Any one of you anti-gun people, prove to me that a citizen with a concealed carry permit has used their firearm criminally within the national park system. Give me one example. Now prove to me that a citizen with a concealed carry permit has done the same outside the parks. You'll have a hard time. Beyond that anything you say about citizens exercising their Second Amendment right is imagination, supposition and paranoia.

I said this before in another post. You claim there are not many crimes in the parks. My point is if you are one of those lucky victims you will now have the opportunity to defend yourself. That doesn't mean shooting someone. Most times just showing the assailant you have a gun is enough to dissuade them from proceeding. Unless they're intent on cleansing the gene pool. In which case I'd be happy to oblige them.

Stop the baseless speculating and your obsessing about people acting lawfully and focus on the criminals who are the problem. If you have facts put them on the table.

Rick,

You keep glossing over the fact that CCW permit holders who comment on this forum have already said they've packed in the parks, against the law. That's criminal.

Also, did you overlook this comment I made earlier under another post:

...an August 2000 study by the Violence Policy Center revealed that, from January 1996 through April 2000, the arrest rate for weapon-related offenses among Texas concealed handgun license holders was 66% higher than that of the general adult population of Texas. CCW license holders are committing crimes - including murder, rape, assault and burglary - but because the gun lobby makes it difficult if not impossible for the public to determine if a shooter has a CCW license in most states, the full story has not yet been told.

Also, check out this story: Night of Terror in BWCA. True, the Boundary Waters is not a national park, but I don't think it's too hard to envision a similar scenario if the laws are changed.

Confession time: Although I have said that I've carried in a Park, I actually have not. But I have made the deliberate decision that I WOULD carry the next time I visited a Park. Sorta the same thing, I guess. That's why I feel so strongly about changing these rules. Consciously disobeying the law is morally objectionable to me in many ways. But I will NOT go in to the wilderness defenseless.

Kurt,

Is this the kind of fact checking you did as a reporter? The Violence Policy Center is a left-wing anti-gun group with a long history of deception. They specialize in half-truths and twisting statistics, for instance, their report on Texas CHL holders, "License to Kill IV", states the number of CHL holders "arrested" without providing the context of what percent of total CHL holders that number represents. It provides no numbers on "convictions" or what percent of total arrests those convictions represent. They fail to inform their audience that it is standard procedure in many jurisdictions to place the CHL holder under arrest pending the outcome of an investigation into the use of his firearm. They also fail to state that many of the arrests represent minor offenses such as accidentally displaying or carrying a concealed weapon into a restricted zone. Only about 26 percent of CHL holders who are arrested for violent crimes, and go to trial, are later convicted.

Here are the facts:

"... an analysis of arrest data for Texas concealed handgun licensees that was performed on data from the subsequent years of 1996 - 2000. A comparison was made with the arrest data for the entire Texas population for the same time period, showing that, on average: male Texans who are over 21 years old and are not CHL holders are 7.7 times more likely to be arrested for commission of a violent crime than male Texans with a CHL; and female Texans who are over 21 years old and are not CHL holders are 7.5 times more likely to be arrested for commission of a violent crime than female Texans with a CHL. Of the violent crime cases that have been adjudicated, approximately 26% of CHL holders who were arrested were convicted ..."

"The average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 7.7 times more likely to be arrested for the violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery, and assault than the average male CHL holder."

"Looking at violent crimes individually, the average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 1.7 times (rate of 7.4 v. 4.3) more likely to be arrested for murder; 87 times (rate of 24 v. 0.3) more likely to be arrested for rape; 53 times (rate of 44 v. 0.8) more likely to be arrested for robbery; 3.4 times (rate of 202 v. 60) more likely to be arrested for aggravated assault; and 10 times (rate of 892 v. 87) more likely to be arrested for other assaults than the average male CHL holder."

"No male Texas CHL holder was arrested for negligent manslaughter during the 1996 through 2000 period."

"The average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 18 times more likely to be arrested for committing a non-violent crime than the average male CHL holder."

http://www.txchia.org/sturdevant.pdf

If the anti-gun side of the argument is so compelling why must they constantly stoop to half-truths, misdirection and fraud?

"Congressman Raul Grijalva, who heads the House subcommittee on national parks, is accusing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne of pandering to the National Rifle Association."

Who cares? The NRA is an organization which seeks to protect and insure the publics rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. They have every right, some might argue an obligation, to promote the interests of their constituency. The ACLU does the same thing, claiming an interest in protecting the First Amendment. The NRA, at least, has the distinction of not having been founded by an avowed communist.

As for Congressman Raul Grijalv, as a former member of La MEChA, an organization whose motto is, "For the race everything. For those outside the race nothing", he is an anti-American racist and any accusations he makes must be weighed in that context.

It is perverse to focus so much concern on the harmful potential of people who have undergone criminal background checks and, in most cases, safety and proficiency training. Every legitimate study reveals the legal gun owner to be far less likely to commit a crime of any kind.

Let Mr. Grijalv show us that he can first disarm the criminal gangs, like MS-13, which infest our cities and his former radical friends before we turn our attention to law abiding citizens.

OK, I'll try to ignore the fact that you have to start your argument with an insult.

But as the saying goes, "figures don't lie, but liars figure." In other words, anyone can find statistics to back up their argument. And the fact that your set of facts comes from the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association does not give them any more credibility than you place in the Violence Policy Center.

Aw, Fred!!! After I was decent enough to throw accolades your direction for being honest enough to fess up to the criminal activity that you openly professed, you go and do the proverbial 180 on us!

And Rick, as I too have stated in prior opinions, it's just a shame that people's thoughts of self-defense in general begin and end without consideration of other alternatives, and investigation of newer technologies that put the 17th Century weaponry to shame. How nice it would be for a little intellect to go along with the claims of "I demand my God given rights", instead of taking the easy way out by placing all your testosterone in one basket of alternatives. All these shouts of self-defense are becoming rather tedious when the methods of such aren't investigated, and alternative methods and options beyond firearms fully considered as viable. What we're trying desperately to avoid is the "My gun's bigger than your gun" syndrome, or the inevitable "My gang's better outfitted than your gang", which the law-abiding citizens of this country lived through once already.

Is it really too much to ask for one to step back and exhibit a bit of sensibility and reasoning before one decides on "the proper course of action"? And why are you always hiding behind the NRA-propped up mantle of people taking away your "rights"? I've never seen that sentiment expressed in any of these alleged discussions? Just who's putting out the fire with gasoline here?

Sorry Lone Hiker. I hate to let you down but I read this piece online the other day and felt compelled to confess. It's one thing to make a decision, and another thing altogether to carry it out. I honestly do hope that the proposed rule change goes through. Otherwise I will be a lawbreaker the next time I visit a Park in a CCW permitted state (the only kind I will visit).

Read this piece written by the Texas State Land Commisioner that appeared in the online San Antonio news:
http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/stories/MYSA.052808.OPED_1B_CommentPatterson.2690f28.html

If there is a bigger whacko than Jerry Patterson, I don't know who it is.

Rick Smith

Kur says,

> You keep glossing over the fact that CCW permit holders who comment on this forum have already said they've packed in the parks, against the law
> That's criminal.

Naahhh, Kurt, I'm not glossing over anything. What I do is simply exercise common sense self-defense. As Fred notes, this is not a law it's a {questionably legal] regulation. I'll pay the fine when I call the park rangers to come after I've defended myself against a criminal attack. Let them eat the public relations fodder. Until then no one will have an reason to know if I'm carrying a firearm. When the park service provides me with personal protection I'll leave my gun in the car. Until then any claim on their part that I'm safe is just a bunch of indefensible baloney. To recap: they are law enforcement. That means they come when your already a victim. Court cases have proven these folks have no obligation to provide for your defense. I'll hire Karen Taylor-Goodrich to be my mouthpiece.

Kurt, you persist in quoting loony groups like the Violence Policy Center who are masters at lying with figures, as Art mentioned above. These gun haters are the same ones always yapping about "children" being killed by handguns. Have you ever looked into the firearm accidental death rate statistics for honest-to-God children under the age of 15? Or revisited those data I provided? I'll let you do the work this time. As for those 19 year old "children" you mention, the 19-25 age group is responsible for most of the crimes committed in this country. Hint: it's an urban demographic. They don't have concealed carry permits. I gave Lyle Laverty as much official concealed carry permit revocation statistics as I could find as well as data from John Lott. We're not among those statistics.

Jerry Patterson is exactly correct in what he says and has done. I'm also responsible for getting the ball rolling on eliminating a similar bureaucratic preemption of my rights here in PA. I proved the department that regulates state parks has violated the law by preventing concealed carry permit holders from possessing their firearms while beyond their campsites. Our State House approved the bill and now it goes to the Senate where it will most likely pass.

I think the anti gun folks here are the ones glossing over the true issue. Prove that concealed carry permit holders have committed a crime other than a bureaucratic infraction. Prove they'll be a threat to you ore somehow ruin you park "experience."

I promised I wouldn't use NRA statistics but you still need to drag the Brady Bunch and the VPC crazies into the discussion. Stick to the facts from the government and law enforcement. Prove that permit holders are a threat. Give me numbers. And not from gun hater groups. We have 40 states that have proven my case. I don't know what hat you're pulling your mythical claims from.

Ya' know what's delightfully ironic about all of this gun control stuff? It's racist. Do a bit more reading: "The Racist Roots of Gun Control" by Clayton Cramer. Soon this type of discussion will all be moot because the Supreme Court will finally affirm the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms and that will send the gun haters scrambling like vampires from daylight. And, yes, essentially, that does include automatic firearms like a SAW and M-16 since these are arms an infantryman or citizen militiaman would typically carry into battle. Even Laurence Tribe and Allan Dershowitz finally had the intellectual honesty to admit the Second was an individual right. Only the desperate and disingenuous continue to cling to the mythical "states right" concept.

Don't worry, though, the only folks you'll see in your sacred national parks with AR-15s will continue to be the drug smugglers and pot growers. Interestingly, Lyle Laverty asked me to speculate if I thought someone in a park carrying a shotgun concealed under a long coat would be permissible under our proposal. I told him it's illegal.

Lone Hiker is definitely living in la-la land by continuing to believe that being a nice person will magically dissuade a criminal from their intended goal. And still going on with the "macho" and "testerone" insults." How childish. "All these shouts of self-defense are becoming rather tedious," he says. I say all the bleating about surrendering my rights has long ago become tedious. Because people like him just don't like guns is an asinine reason for me to surrender my natural and Constitutionally guaranteed right to self defense. It's a shame criminals can't come to an agreement with Lone Hiker.

How about this, Lone Hiker? "It's just a shame that criminal's thoughts of asset reallocation and self-gratification in general begin and end without consideration of other alternatives." Why don't you guys try that approach to this discussion instead of whining about citizens lawfully exercising their rights without any being able to prove any impact on your life whatsoever.

The point you are missing is "concealed handguns," not just any kind of weapon. Hunters (and poachers) don't hunt with handguns, and murderers generally don't kill with rifles (although there have been some notable exceptions). Believe me, a handgun will have little affect on either a charging bear or, if in Yellowstone, a bison. Thus, the point is, why would one need to carry a handgun in a National Park? I've always felt much safer in a park than walking down the streets of any large city, and I'm sure if you looked up the numbers, the percentage of violent crimes committed in national parks is significantly lower than what is committed in the general population as a whole. The enforcement of anti-poaching laws simply is not a valid argument in this case.

Houston, Texas last year. Man trying to stop a robbery in the house next door shot and killed both thieves in the back with no warning to the second one, despite the fact he was told to take no action by the 911 operator he was on the phone with. Need any more examples?

Rick,

Ya know, we could bat this back and forth for years and we wouldn't see eye to eye. That's OK, and it's something I plan to address in another post down the road. That said, I must admit your lack of tolerance for regulations is kinda disconcerting. How do you decide which laws or regulations are worth obeying? If wearing a concealed weapon where they're outlawed doesn't bother you, where do you draw the line?

I also think it's telling that early on you asked for someone to provide evidence of a concealed weapons permit holder who's broken the law, and now you've retreated to asking for proof of a crime "other than a bureaucratic infraction." Along those lines, did you read that Boundary Waters story I cited? Granted, the story didn't indicate whether those involved had concealed weapons permits, but I think it's very telling of what can happen.

Now, you say you'll pay the fine if caught, but will you also turn over your handgun?

As I've said previously, your disdain for the Brady Campaign is interesting, as they use a lot of the same statistical sources you've cited in drawing their conclusions.

I also think you're jumping to conclusions by lumping everyone who opposes concealed carry in the parks as anti-gun. I could care less if you own a firearm. I just don't think there's justification to go armed every time you leave the house.

Now, regarding statistics. Here're a bunch, with the sources cited. True, one can't tell how many of these cases involved CCW holders, but I'd wager more than a few.

* In the United States, children under the age of 15 are 12 times more likely to die from gunfire than the children in 25 other industrialized countries combined!
Fingerhut, Cox, and Warner, "International Comparative Analysis of Injury Mortality." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. October 7, 1998.

* In 1998, more than 30,000 men, women, and children were killed with firearms in the United States.
· 17,424 were suicides
· 12,102 were homicides
· 866 died from unintentional shootings
· 316 died in undetermined circumstances
Sherry L. Murphy. "Deaths: Final Data for 1998" Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 48, No. 11, July 24, 2000.

* Gunfire kills more teenagers than all natural causes combined.
American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Violence, "The Role of the Pediatrician in Youth Violence Prevention in Clinical Practice and at the Community Level," Pediatrics, Vol. 103, No. 1, January 1999.

* In 1999, nearly half of all murder victims were killed by someone they knew such as a friend or family member rather than a stranger.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States 2000: Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), 2000.

* Women are about twice as likely to be shot by their intimate partner than they are to be killed by strangers using guns, knives, or any other means.
Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH; James A. Mercy, PhD;
"Men, Women, and Murder; Gender-specific Differences in Rates of Fatal Violence and Victimization," The Journal of Trauma, Vol. 33, No. 1, July, 1992.

* In the United States, approximately two-thirds of all murders are committed with guns.
Sherry L. Murphy. "Deaths: Final Data for 1998" Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 48, No. 11, July 24, 2000.

* Gunfire killed 3,792 young people ages 19 and under in 1998.
Sherry L. Murphy. "Deaths: Final Data for 1998" Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 48, No. 11, July 24, 2000.

* The annual cost of gun violence in America in terms of direct medical costs, lost productivity, and lost quality of life is $100 billion. Furthermore, through public health care and public debt, the taxpaying public pays an estimated 85%-96% of medical charges for firearm injuries.
Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig, Gun Violence: The Real Costs, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000. G.J. Ordog, J. Wasserberger, G. Ackroyd. "Hospital Costs of Firearm Injuries." Journal of Trauma, February, 1995.

Of course, this is really an exercise in futility because -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- if the regulations remain unchanged gun owners like you will still flaunt the "questionably legal" regulations.


Blair just doesn't get it:

> the point is, why would one need to carry a handgun in a National Park?

Why do you have fire insurance? Are you planing for you house to burn down? Why do you have car insurance? Are you planning to be in a car crash? Why do you have health care? Are you planing to be sick? Life is kinda fickle and we choose to be prepared. At least some of us do.

We are talking about concealed handguns in the possessions of citizens lawfully exercising their rights. There's a saying, "don't take a knife to a gun fight" If I knew I would need a firearm to defend my life I guarantee you I would be carrying at least my AR-15 instead of a SIG handgun. My handgun is my little life insurance policy. It doesn't come out of the holster until the appropriate time as defined by law.

As for that guy in Houston OK, maybe you got me there. You provided one example of a citizen doing something wrong. I didn't object to removing the scum but the law provides for consequences under those conditions. The research also proves as many as a million times a year citizens lawfully use firearms to defend themselves. I think I'm still ahead of you.

You also make my point, concealed carry permit holders don't poach and vandalize while carrying and don't murder. I'm glad you feel safe, however. If you feel so lucky, though - well do you? Then why don't you forego your homeowners insurance, car insurance and health care? Murderers, rapists and thieves commit their acts of social indiscretion with a variety of weapons. Most of which are classified as lethal and the victim is entitled under law to respond to that assault with deadly force. Having a concealed handgun is the same as pulling out your insurance card.

If you are ultimately the victim du jour then you and your clean conscience can go to meet your maker knowing you held to your convictions. I've chosen to even the playing field a bit and am not willing to go quietly. I've come too close to being there.

Also, I don't know if the aforementioned shooter in Texas had a concealed carry permit. He was just the neighbor who happened to be armed and sick and tired of people being victimized by thugs. Oh yeah. And where were the cops in all this? Uuuhhh, I guess they were enforcing laws elsewhere in the town and not situated at that location protecting someone's life or valuables.

Kurt,

The statistics used by the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association are drawn directly from the Texas Department of Public Safety Concealed Handgun Licensing Section and put into the proper context as measured against the age appropriate population of Texas. The instructors are DPS qualified and work closely with the Texas DPS.

The Texas DPS maintains it's own website which anyone can visit:(http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/convrates.htm)

Rather than simply taking dictation from gun control organizations, you might want to visit the websites of the actual state agencies and review the statistics concerning CHL holders. Unless of course you believe that the state and federal governments are part of some "grand conspiracy" to hide the wanton criminality of CHL holders.

The FBI also gathers statistics comparing crime rates between states with liberal CCW laws and those with more restrictive gun laws. Not surprisingly your side does not fair well. "The FBI, drawing from data it has collected and published in the Uniform Crime Reports, concludes that "violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws severely limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense." Particularly, the FBI notes that the total violent crime rate is 26 percent higher in the states with restrictive CCW laws than in the less restrictive states. Likewise, homicide rates are 49 percent higher, and robbery 58 percent higher, in more conservative states. The only reasonable conclusion is that liberal CCW laws help to reduce the overall crime rate, and particularly to reduce the frequency of violent crime."

"The FBI estimates that each year, Americans use firearms for self-defense more than 2.1 million times; by contrast, there are about 579,000 violent crimes committed annually with guns, of which 70 percent are committed by 7 percent of criminals, including repeat offenders, who pay no attention to gun laws anyway. Furthermore, 99.9 percent of self-defense firearm uses do not result in fatalities. Of incarcerated felons surveyed by the Justice Department, 34 percent were driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens, and 40 percent decided against committing a crime for fear that a potential victim was armed."

It is a common tactic of those whose arguments are not supported by the evidence to use false or misleading statistical claims. When called out, these people claim that everyone manipulates data and as a result no one's evidence can be trusted. This technique has the effect of putting the legitimate evidence under a cloud suspicion and diminishing the impact that evidence has in the debate.

As I said before, it is perverse to concentrate so much passion against people who are, by all accounts, law abiding citizens willing to submit to criminal background checks and safety training just to exercise a right guaranteed them under our Constitution.

It's true to point out that we could argue about this for years. It would be a much better use of this valuable space to dissuade people's irrational fears of fellow Park visitors who might be armed. There have been more than 9,400 comments posted about the proposed firearm regulation change. It's probably safe to say that the rule change will take place. I think it would be incredibly sad if some folks stopped visiting our beautiful Parks because they think that they are in some newly-created "fear factory".

Most people fear something because they don't know anything about it. Can't we use this space to inform people about the complete irrationality of their fears? They have nothing to fear from me or any of my fellow CCW-holding brethren. They will actually be safer now then they were before, in spite of many, many "facts" to the contrary.

> Ya know, we could bat this back and forth for years and we wouldn't see eye to eye.

Art did a good job of presenting the factual Texas data. Thanks, Art.

I ‘ll admit you’re probably right, Kurt, and I give you credit for enduring this discussion. But my intent wasn’t to persuade someone to buy a gun or convert them, it was to point out the vacuousness of the anti-gun arguments in this situation and the bigotry and prejudice many anti gun people have – especially the Brady and VPC organizations that pander to these prejudices.

> I must admit your lack of tolerance for regulations is kinda disconcerting. How do you decide which laws or regulations are worth obeying?

It’s easy. It’s when some bureaucrat writes regulations that violate my Constitutional rights. That’s why I set out to change the national park and the state park regulation. I think I’ve had a modicum of success in proving my point to date.

> you asked for someone to provide evidence of a concealed weapons permit holder who's broken the law, and now you've retreated to asking for
> proof of a crime "other than a bureaucratic infraction."

I haven’t retreated. I’ve still not gotten an answer. I want proof of a permit holder committing a gun crime against another citizen. And, yes, it’s a bureaucratic infraction that denies my constitutional right. Sit in the back of the bus until you understand this ;^)

> Now, you say you'll pay the fine if caught, but will you also turn over your handgun?

Well, I guess since I will have, at that point, had to defend my life that’s the least of my worries. You’ve heard the saying, “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.” There’s no room for compromise when it comes to self-defense. I can buy another handgun but I can’t buy another me, or another wife or child. I told you before, I was close enough to a nasty situation in Cumberland Gap that I saw the light and realized gun control laws are downright stupid. I'm lucky enough to be here telling you about it.

> I also think you're jumping to conclusions by lumping everyone who opposes concealed carry in the parks as anti-gun.

That’s a red herring. Why should I defend my right to self defense under the Constitution then turn around and say it’s conditional within artificial geographic bureaucratic boundaries. If you are someone who sees the logic behind taking responsibility for you own welfare and safety you don’t say self defense is valid in point A and then somehow be opposed to it in point B. All of you seat belt advocates can say it’s mandatory on highway 81 but not on highway 95. Where’s the difference?

It’s relatively apparent that most of those posting are anti-gun because they all use the same old Brady/VPC mythology rhetoric . If they own guns maybe they’re the Obama “sportsmen and hunters” who have nothing to worry about. ;^) If they oppose concealed carry in parks they, well, probably don’t carry a gun for self defense. You can’t be ambivalent in this situation.

> I just don't think there's justification to go armed every time you leave the house.

Maybe you live in a really safe neighborhood. Maybe you’re lucky. Do you cancel your homeowners insurance, health insurance or car insurance under capricious circumstances? It’s my Constitutionally guaranteed right, hence my justification. Whether you employ the means to defend yourself is your decision. If guns are so superfluous why do cops need guns?

> In 1998, more than 30,000 men, women, and children were killed with firearms in the United States.

Jeez, talk about old stats. I don’t understand why you would post this data after I’ve posted the most recent government data. And your still guilty of the doing same thing all the anti gun gangs do: “[people] were killed with firearms.” Inanimate objects don’t cause actions. “40,000 people were killed by cars…” X people were killed by alcohol.” People do the killing, driving and drinking. Yours is just a rehash of the gun banner spin machine. I provide links to more recent data compiled by the government not anti gun groups with an agenda and with detailed explanations of the death circumstances. As I said, more than half, and closer to 75%, of the homicides are crime-related and involve criminal acts. I guess the criminals weren’t up on that law that murder is illegal.

As hungry as the media are to report such spectacular news, I still haven’t seen any reports of a concealed carry permit holder committing one of these murders. Interestingly, the media overwhelmingly ignore any occasion where a concealed carry permit holder has actually prevented a crime or saved a life.

> Gunfire kills more teenagers than all natural causes combined

No, teens committing crimes generally kill other adult teens. The anti gun gangs spin the data to make it seem like (a) it’s the guns doing the action and (b) all of the teenagers were innocents just minding their own business. In most cases this is gang and drug activity.

> in 1999, nearly half of all murder victims were killed by someone they knew such as a friend or family member rather than a stranger.

That’s generally the case because drug deals gone bad involve acquaintances - albeit criminal acquaintances. Criminal against criminal crimes are quite prevalent. Yes some innocent people are killed by others but not by concealed carry permit holders. What does the more recent data indicate? here's another link to FBI data. http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezashr/

To reiterate, you don't need to shoot someone to stop a crime. Just showing the criminal you have one is sufficient deterrent. More than a million times each year.

You did read the DOJ study that recognized that gun control laws are essentially useless and futile because (drum roll!) criminals don’t obey the law, right? That’s why these folks continue to rob, rape, kill and sell drugs. They don’t care about laws. Citizens who go through the hassle of getting a permit are somewhat less inclined to do so for the purpose of criminal intent.

> Of course, this is really an exercise in futility because -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- if the regulations remain unchanged gun owners like
> you will still flaunt the "questionably legal" regulations.

If bureaucrats write regulations without my consent or involving a democratic process and that violate the Constitution why should I or anyone else? If a comfy overpaid bureaucrat denies me the means to defend my life and refuses to provide me with a bodyguard why on earth should I abide by this regulation? And whether I or any other gun permit holder choose to prioritize the Constitution over a bureaucratic regulation I guarantee you’ll never be aware of it. Unless you break the law and try to attack me.

Getting back to the original issue, though, I’d still like to hear about macho, NRA-brainwashed, testosterone-infused (I know, that’s redundant) permit holders packing heat who might poach, just shoot wildlife maliciously, damage property or threaten park visitors. That is what we’ve been talking about, right?

The perception of those who don’t like guns is seems to be that when the regulation is changed all of these heat-packers will somehow swarm the parks whooping and hollering and forever destroy the pristine visitor experience of those genteel, sophisticated, experienced park veterans who choose to not carry a gun.

I’ve not read anything here from anyone who has indicated how they have been affected adversely by someone lawfully carrying a concealed handgun outside the parks (no one has complained yet about the criminals outside or inside the parks).

And I’ve still not seen anyone legitimately explain how this regulation change will result any differently from what has taken place in the 40 states that have enacted right-to-carry legislation.

Or how it will differ from the experience in national forests where, by golly, there are also big predatory critters, scenery, visitors and regulations on what and when you can hunt and what you can or can’t do to property?

If a criminal sees two people and knows one has a gun and the other doesn’t, guess who he’s going after. This is enhanced for the criminal by stupid, gun-free victim zones. You don’t hear of crimes in national forests to the extent that take place in national parks. And more citizens are packin’ heat in the forests. Why aren’t national forest visitors chiming in here to add their horrible experiences with concealed carry permit holders?

Yes, it does come down to a love guns/hate guns issue of emotions. Unfortunately too many people continue to leave the facts at the door and run with trendy politically correct groupthink fueled by emotionally misleading propaganda from the anti gun grops.

The main facts constantly being ignored are that in the hands of responsible citizens guns save lives, and permit holders are among the most responsible citizens. When the regulation is changed the only thing you’ll notice is less crime. Because the criminals will have to work harder to determine if their victim will shoot them. Ask criminals in jail what they fear most. Answer: armed citizens.

Dear Fred:

Because of the threat of poaching, the presence of an assembled and loaded weapon is a reasonable threat ON ITS FACE. This is a real reason there have been no successful challenges to the existing regulation on Second Amendment grounds. All judges and reasonable people would agree this is exactly the kind of reasonable regulation the Constitution is talking about.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with idiots with guns, and appeal to reason, implying no one with a handgun would threaten wildlife. Would that that were so ! I saw a guy kill a king salmon with a pistol. I saw a guy shoot at a brown bear -- if you can believe how dumb this guy was -- with a revolver. There is a farmer who farms near here who has a cow that was shot by another moron with a 32.

People expect that that nature of the park experience is that no visitor is packing. If one is, bust them as a legitimate threat to the special rules applying to parks. Your right of revolution will not be compromised by either choosing to enter a park with no working firearm, or by choosing not to go.

Anonymous writes:

> Because of the threat of poaching, the presence of an assembled and loaded weapon is a reasonable threat ON ITS FACE.

How about: "because of the threat of murder, rape and assault an assembled and loaded weapon is a reasonable defense ON ITS FACE"?

> This is a real reason there have been no successful challenges to the existing regulation

I think the challenge to the regulation, as well as the Supreme Court challenge to the Washington, D.C. (aka gun-free nirvana) gun ban will succeed

> Perhaps you are unfamiliar with idiots with guns, and appeal to reason, implying no one with a handgun would threaten wildlife.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with idiots with cars, and appeal to reason implying no one with an automobile would harm innocent bystanders

> I saw a guy kill a king salmon with a pistol.

I saw a guy kill my friend with a tractor trailer truck

> People expect that that nature of the park experience is that no visitor is packing.

Geez, You're head is in the clouds. I expect the nature of park experience is that no visitor is killing women on the same trail my wife and I hike.

Put things into perspective and prove you've been harmed by the presence of a citizen carrying a firearm for self defense instead of espousing suppositional paranoia and prejudice.

Rick/Art,

OK, you guys win. I might have a fighting chance if I dwelled on guns, gun laws, and crime stats as much as I do on parks, but I don't. Here are my parting thoughts:

* You complain about "the vacuousness of the anti-gun arguments in this situation and the bigotry and prejudice many anti gun people have – especially the Brady and VPC organizations that pander to these prejudices." Why did these organizations form in the first place? Did they first conceive the idea that they hate guns and so needed to concoct an argument, as your views suggest, or was it because of gun violence in general, whether committed by criminals or guns owned by permit holders? In the case of the Brady group, didn't it arise out of the assassination attempt on President Reagan and the bullet press secretary James Brady took? And wasn't the gun used in that crime legally purchased in Texas?

* "Interestingly, the media overwhelmingly ignore any occasion where a concealed carry permit holder has actually prevented a crime or saved a life." As a member of the media for my entire professional life, going on 30 years now, this is one of the most bizarre, ridiculous, and over-generalizing statements I've ever heard. Media -- particularly broadcast media -- love hero stories, Rick.

* "I want proof of a permit holder committing a gun crime against another citizen." Rick: Those Texas statistics that Art points to and which you can find here show 140 cases of permit holders committing gun crimes against another citizen. True, it's but a small fraction of the overall crimes committed, but you just wanted proof of one instance, and these stats provide 140. And that's just one of 50 states.

* "...in the hands of responsible citizens..." I think you've hit it on the head with this comment, Rick.

"Responsible citizens." I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't think the concern is about guns in the hands of responsible citizens. Rather, it's about guns in the hands of those who aren't so responsible, who leave their weapons out in the open where youngsters can get them, who mix alcohol with guns, whose anger leads them to settle arguments violently, who figure they're far in the backcountry and so can take some pot shots at something. Too, there are a number of stories out there about groups concerned over their states' permitting procedures because they lack mental health reviews before issuing permits. If you look back over the nearly three years I've been generating the Traveler and examine the color and tenor of some of the comments I've been subjected to, you'd question whether those folks were responsible. My wife half-jokingly has suggested I enter the witness protection program.

And then, Rick, sometimes accidents even happen to "responsible citizens." Proof of that? Read this story, which tells about a Utah POLICE CHIEF WHO SHOT HIMSELF IN THE LEG WHILE TEACHING A CONCEALED WEAPONS TRAINING CLASS.

Rick, Art, Fred (who already knows, I think) and other concealed carry proponents, I'm not anti-gun. I've fired weapons before and have a good friend who just retired from the New Jersey State Police. He and I traveled often with him carrying, and it never bothered me. In fact, we've gone into the backcountry of Yellowstone and he's never felt the need to carry.

The bottom line for me is that, in light of the relative lack of crime in national parks, and the odds of accidents happening and those accidents becoming more dangerous when firearms are involved, I just don't see the need for park visitors to arm themselves.

> The bottom line for me is that, in light of the relative lack of crime in national parks, and the odds of accidents happening and those accidents
> becoming more dangerous when firearms are involved, I just don't see the need for park visitors to arm themselves

With all due respect to you for the time, effort and thoughts you put into this website, Kurt. deciding not to carry a firearm is your personal decision. To do so is my Constitutional right. To denigrate someone (as many anti gun opinions are wont to be) for choosing to exercise that right is unacceptable. Especially when restrictions result in victims otherwise willing to defend themselves.

> a Utah POLICE CHIEF WHO SHOT HIMSELF IN THE LEG WHILE TEACHING A CONCEALED WEAPONS TRAINING CLASS.

there's an even funnier video of a cop with a SWAT T-Shirt proclaiming he's an expert when he shoots himself in the foot in front of a 5th grade class. He didn't check to see if the gun was unloaded. And there are numerous reports of cops leaving their guns in the bathroom and losing them.

Good people do bad things, bad people do more bad things and good things are used for bad purposes. Just because someone yells fire in a theater doesn't warrant abrogation of your First Amendment rights. Just because people get drunk and drive means you must use only public transportation. Read some of John Lott's work for an even more detailed statistical analysis of the benefits of firearms. On balance, guns are used for good purposes far more often than not and the social benefit is far greater than people realize. The implied threat from concealed carry permit holders is greatly exaggerated.

Don't you think Rick it might be wise to implement some kind of psychological testing before one can be issued a concealed (handgun) weapon?

Knowing the psychological temperament of this nation, it's been well-documented we're a pretty stressed-out populace. We're heavy into poping pills for sleep deprivation, many levels of depression, bad economics and no decent health insurance. Let's face it, we're one stressed-out nation and you want more guns in the National Parks (and you worry about your little old hand gun being taken away). Parks are for restive peace and tranquility and not a place for the NRA to implode their values.

Hang on to your cutlery: [Ed. note: The link connects to an article about an incident in the UK described thusly: "The grandson of prominent anti-gun campaigner Pat Regan has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing her to death."]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_yorkshire/7430668.stm

Anonymous,

"Don't you think Rick it might be wise to implement some kind of psychological testing before one can be issued a concealed (handgun) weapon?"

It would be only too easy to extend this logic to the First Amendment as well. The rantings of demagogues like Huey Long, Bull Connor, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan have led in many cases to violence and death. Yet I have yet to here anyone call for "psychological testing" as a precondition to the exercise of the right to free speech.

The price of freedom is insecurity. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither". We must accept that a world where people are allowed the freedoms proclaimed in our Constitution will be inherently more unpredictable and less "safe". That world will also provide the greatest opportunity for individuals to realize the fullness of their God given potential.

You reflect on the "psychological temperament" of our nation and find nothing affirmative. This can only be a symptom of either intellectual or moral bankruptcy. You joke about "having our little guns taken away". Perhaps you should spend some time reading the history of the last century, where governments committed the wholesale slaughter of their citizens after disarming them. It was only the resolve of this "stressed-out", "pill popping", "sleep deprived" nation that prevented the spread of a gun-controlled nightmare.

As for the values of the NRA, they are Americas values. The right of a free people to organize and petition our government for redress of grievances. The right to defend both our person and our property and the right of our children to inherit a nation where all of the rights guaranteed their fathers and grandfathers are intact.

Art--

Just so you will know. NRA values are not this American's values. And, I suspect, they're not a lot of Americans' values. Many disagree with your assertion that carrying a weapon is guaranteed by the Constitution and therefore is an "American value." Don't let NRA propaganda blind you to the fact that lots of us think differently. That's what makes America great. It's a pluralistic society and we don't have to all agree. But, I suspect that you won't agree with that either.

Rick Smith

Rick,

"Many disagree with your assertion that carrying a weapon is guaranteed by the Constitution ..." That's why men like Patrick Henry and Gouverneur Morris insisted that certain rights be spelled out in the "Bill of Rights", they knew that unless they were, people like you would deny them.

Far from blinding me to the fact that "lots of us think differently", the NRA has alerted me, and millions of people just like me, to your intentions. We stand ready to defend our rights and, as the Democrat party has learned, it's a fight we intend to win.

The fact that "lots of people" have different opinions is not what makes America great. What makes America great is that the founders realized that some people would work to undermine the liberties that God has granted each of us and they established a government designed to frustrate their efforts. I'm only too happy to frustrate yours.

Anonymous pondered"

> Don't you think Rick it might be wise to implement some kind of psychological testing before one can be issued a concealed (handgun) weapon?

Except for Vermont, most states' application process involves some questions about past mental health history. Usually the disqualifier is whether the person was committed _unwillingly_ to mental health treatment. This is not the case when asking people who apply for drivers licenses and whether they have a drinking problem. More people are killed by drunk drivers than by mentally ill concealed carry permit holders.

and later Rick Smith declares:

> Many disagree with your assertion that carrying a weapon is guaranteed by the Constitution and therefore is an "American value."

You can disagree that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to "keep and BEAR ARMS" but you're wrong. Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania constitution, which existed prior, made it perfectly clear, "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to do the same. And - you'll love this - it does, in principle, provide for possession of firearms like the M-16, M-4, SAW, or MP5 - any weapons typically carried by an individual into battle. To date, we have the Firearms Act of 1934 that regulates automatic firearms so you must pass a background check and pay a $200 fee to the Treasury Department for each automatic firearm you are registering. Since laws were changed in 1986 the availability of automatic firearms for public purchase has created ridiculous supply/demand price inflation. Typically, you'll pay approximately more than $12,000 or more for an M-16.

I don't expect Rick Smith to be down at the Knob Creek machine gun shoot but I thought I'd throw that in to explain that as an American citizen you may own the same firearms the military uses because, the individual citizen is the militia - not the National Guard - as defined by the Constitution and fantasized by the gun banners.

This little bit of trivia may not be an "American value" in your mind but it is fact. District of Columbia v. Heller will settle this decisively very soon and end the delusional and myopic claims of gun banners.

Kurt:
You need to actually read the report this information came from. The actual report is much different than the misinformation you are spreading. Read the study at: http://www.txchia.org/sturdevant.pdf

Anonymous,

According to this report (which is eight years old, by the way), violent crimes by CCW permit holders in Texas increased every year from 1996 to 1999. Over that period, according to the study, there were 27 murders/non-negligent manslaughters, two forcible rapes, five robberies, 376 aggravated assaults, and 454 "other assaults."

Rick previously had asked for proof "of a permit holder committing a gun crime against another citizen," and these statistics, produced for the Texas Concealed Handgun Association, certainly seem to provide that proof.

Beyond the violent crime, these stats also show that non-violent crime by CCW permit holders in Texas also steadily increased year after year.

Are the incident rates for the general population higher? Yes, but is that surprising in light of the greater pool of gun wielders? And interestingly, for the years cited some might say the murder rates aren't drastically different -- 5.2 per 100,000 for the general population and 4.0 per 100,000 for permit holders.

most states' application process involves some questions about past mental health history

Don't confuse or try and equate psychological evaluations with "some questions about past mental health". Any idiot can answer "some questions" about their past mental health history properly. An in-depth evaluation is a completely different animal, designed to test your stability and thought processes through a variety of similar, but unrelated qualifiers. It takes virtually a court-ordered trip to a padded cell to be denied an ownership permit, and even then there are numerous cited instances where these same "certifiable" lunatics legally purchased handguns and used them on the general public. An assessment on the other hand, is specifically designed to identify and eliminate those people who are trying to give the "right" awswer to a series of questions by approaching the topic from a variety of angles, testing to determine your thought processes, not your "right" answers. If the processes vary, they know you're full of crap, and just attempting to "ace" the test by concealing your true agenda. The quick and easy application process is not at all, in any way, an apples-to-apples comparison.

Kurt,

No reasonable person can read the report of the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association (http://www.txchia.org/sturdevant.pdf) and come away with any other opinion than that it destroys your contention that possessing a CCW results in additional violent crime. In fact the evidence points in exactly the opposite direction, the availability of CCW reduces crime. This assertion is backed up, at the national level, by the FBI. People intent on committing a violent crime will do so, with or without a gun.

You state: "Beyond the violent crime, these stats also show that non-violent crime by CCW permit holders in Texas also steadily increased year after year." Wow, I wonder if that might be because the number of CCW holders increases year after year? Again, you have a problem with context. The only way to evaluate the supposed criminality of CCW holders is in relation to the age appropriate general population. Doing this destroys any assertion that CCW holders are somehow more inclined to commit a crime once in possession of their licenses.

Murders and violent crimes are being committed in the National Parks under the current regime of strict gun control. In every other instance, without exception, liberalizing gun laws has resulted in a reduction of violent crime. This is according to the FBI and appropriate state agencies, whose responsibility it is to gather and assess data without prejudice.

Stay away from the facts, they don't help your cause.

Art,

I am not -- I repeat, not -- asserting that "CCW holders are somehow more inclined to commit a crime once in possession of their licenses."

All I'm pointing out, using statistics you yourself have pointed to, is that CCW holders have committed crimes, both violent and non-violent. Period.

Here are the facts, as presented by the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association, the group you directed me to:

There were 27 murders/non-negligent manslaughters, two forcible rapes, five robberies, 376 aggravated assaults, and 454 "other assaults" from 1996-1999.

Now Art, you can configure the statistics anyway you want, but you still end up with 27 murders/non-negligent manslaughters, two forcible rapes, five robberies, 376 aggravated assaults and 454 "other assaults" committed by CCW holders from 1996-1999.

Kurt:

> Now Art, you can configure the statistics anyway you want, but you still end up with 27 murders/non-negligent manslaughters, two forcible rapes,
> five robberies, 376 aggravated assaults and 454 "other assaults" committed by CCW holders from 1996-1999.

There's a big difference between arrest rates and conviction rates. Art's report is older data for one thing. Kurt, I sent you a compilation of reports from the TX Dept of Public Safety from 2002-2005. The overall _conviction_ rate in all offenses of permit holders is less than a third of a percent compared to the overall statewide rate. I counted TWO murders in the time period between 1/2002-12/2005. You need to review that data and count up whatever numbers you want. Permit holders, with the exception of these TWO, don't kill people. It doesn't look to me that they don't commit very many violent crimes, either. I look through the data and see a lot of zeroes in the permit holder columns.

I guess I have to eat humble pie and admit that yes, permit holders have killed people. That's two guilty people out of hundreds of thousands of permit holders, though. The general consensus here is that, well, parks are pretty safe and we don't need guns there because something MIGHT happen. I stand by my claim that the hysterical fear-mongering is way over the top. And I still stand by my claim that permit holders aren't the problem and - I'll generalize now because I've been proven wrong - don't commit the crimes.

Read the reports I sent you, Kurt, and feel free to comment on them here. I'm curious what your opinion is in comparing arrests and convictions. Did I miss something?

Rick,

Why do I need to look at more data? This whole back and forth started when you asked for proof that a single CCW permit holder had committed a crime, other than a "bureaucratic infraction," and the records you and Art provided, old or recent, amply provided that proof.

And when you say, "Permit holders, with the exception of these TWO, don't kill people," well, since you seem to be referring to Texas statistics, wouldn't you say you're a bit low? What about the stats from the other 49 states?

And why do you keep whittling down the criteria? First you wanted evidence that CCW permit holders committed crimes, then violent crimes, and now you seem to be settling only on murders. If Texas is what you want to focus on, fine, but let's take a closer look at all of the violent crime data involving permit holders for the years you mentioned. After all, those who believe park visitors should be able to arm themselves point to more than just murders in the parks when they try to justify their arguments.

So, reasonable ground rule?

Now, in 2005 there was one murder conviction involving a permit holder. And there was one manslaughter conviction. And five terroristic threat convictions. And seven convictions on sexual assaults of a child. And one kidnapping conviction. Fifteen deadly conduct convictions. And one criminal negligent homicide conviction. And 23 convictions on assault that causes injury in family violence. Eight convictions on assault that causes bodily injury.

2004. No murders, no manslaughters, no terroristic threats. But three convictions on sexual assault of a child. Ten deadly conduct convictions. Nineteen convictions on assault that causes injury in family violence. Fourteen convictions of assault that causes bodily injury. Four convictions on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Two convictions on aggravated assault that leads to serious bodily injury.

2003? Three convictions on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One aggravated robbery conviction. Fourteen convictions for assaults that caused bodily injury. Eight convictions for assault that caused bodily injury family violence. Eight deadly conduct convictions. One murder conviction. Four terroristic threat convictions.

2002. Three convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One conviction for aggravated robbery. A dozen convictions for aggravated assault that caused bodily injury. Eight that caused bodily injury as a result of family violence. Eight convictions for deadly conduct. One murder conviction. Hmmm. That makes three murder convictions Rick, not two, for the time period you cited. Four if you count the conviction for murder under the influence of sudden passion. Two convictions for terroristic threats.

How did things fare in Texas in 2006? Well, there were five convictions of CCW permit holders for aggravated assaults that caused serious bodily injury. Nine convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One conviction for aggravated robbery. One conviction for assault against elderly or disabled individual. Twenty-one convictions for assault that causes bodily injury. Twenty-three convictions for assault that causes bodily injury family violence. One conviction for criminal negligent homicide. Eleven for deadly conduct. One for deadly conduct involving the discharge of a firearm. One murder conviction. One conviction for a terroristic threat interrupting a public place.

That's a lot of humble pie, Rick. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and guess that in one year there are more murders/manslaughters/negligent homicides, and other violent crimes, involving permit holders across the nation than there are crimes of the same nature in national parks over the same period.

Now, I know you don't trust statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, but after looking unsuccessfully for crime stats at the state police websites of Kentucky and Virginia, two concealed carry states, I'm beginning to believe those who say many states don't break out crimes by CCW permit holders. If you know where to find those individual state stats, let me know. In the meantime, the Brady Campaign has tracked down at least five homicides committed by permit holders during the first five months of 2008. True, I can't predict what the judicial outcome of these cases will be (aside from the guy who also killed himself), but judging from the initial reports, these are pretty serious infractions with substantial evidence.

The bottom line?

I have no qualms about agreeing with you that there are more violent crimes involving guns in the general population than involving CCW permit holders. Any chance you'll agree that more than a sprinkling of permit holders nationwide do indeed commit violent crimes and that arming park visitors is not a panacea to feeling safe in the parks? Also, what are the odds that you'll join me in urging Congress to better fund the National Park Service so there could be more law enforcement rangers where they're needed?

Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-)




You said

“Now Art, you can configure the statistics anyway you want, but you still end up with 27 murders/non-negligent manslaughters, two forcible rapes, five robberies, 376 aggravated assaults and 454 "other assaults" committed by CCW holders from 1996-1999.”


As I said before, According to the Rocky Mountain News in 2006 .... And this is ONE YEAR

"Last year, there were 11 homicides, 35 rape cases, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings, 261 aggravated assaults and 320 other assaults out of a total of 116,588 offenses in national parks."


Sounds like by your standard National Parks are indeed dangerous. Your letter to the Interior Secretary omitted the numbers for rape robbery, kidnappings, and aggravated assaults for 2006.

In your letter you said “During 2006 there also were 320 assaults without weapons, 1,950 weapons offenses, 843 public intoxication cases, and 5,752 liquor law violations. How many of those might have turned deadly were concealed carry allowed in the park system?"


Do you expect me to believe that the source for this information included public intoxication and not rape and kidnappings? Are you going to correct this omission in a follow up letter to the Secretary of the Interior or are you going to allow your argument to be framed by cherry picked facts?



You are upset about CCW crime numbers? How about police who murder, rob, rape, etc. What were their numbers? Are they included in your CCW numbers? I know that there were a couple policemen in the news recently involved in murders. How can you trust the police to be armed when some of them commit crimes? The only common theread for criminals is that they do not respect the law and other people, that’s what makes them criminals, even the former governor of NY is a criminal by his own standard!

Why are you willing to tarnish your reputation as a reporter who can do good for the environment and the parks? Everyone here knows how you feel. You are not reporting you are proselytizing on this issue. Give it a rest. We are going to have a big job on hands if Raul Grijalva fulfills his dream and hands the National Parks (and the rest of his “Aztlan” fantasy ) over to the corrupt Mexican Government!

Can we stop comparing stats yet ? You are the one who started with the baloney Kurt.

And yes we too value the Parks.

Joe

Joe,

Proselytizing?

The editorial is clearly marked as such, and the other comments were in response to issues raised by gun proponents.

Also, please clearly read those comments of mine. I don't believe in them I proclaimed myself to be upset by the statistics. Rather, I was just making a point in response to previous comments that there are some CCW permit holders who have been arrested and convicted for violent crimes.

Anon--

You have dona almost the impossible. You have managed to get a pro-gun comment in with an anti-Atzlan comment in the same post. Congratulations. I didn't think it was feasible. You have to watch out for those tricky Hispanics in Congress.

Rick Smith

> That's a lot of humble pie, Rick. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and guess that in one year there are more murders/manslaughters/negligent homicides,
> and other violent crimes, involving permit holders across the nation than there are crimes of the same nature in national parks over the same period.

I stand corrected, Kurt. More than a single permit holder did commit a crime with a handgun. You proved me wrong.

> Now, I know you don't trust statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

No I don't because they're a sleazy pandering organization that uses distortion and attempts to make money on people's suffering to advance their agenda> They attempt to curtail my rights. The NRA, in whatever they do, acts to support the Constitution. And I still haven't used any NRA data while you continue to use stuff from the brady bunch.

> I'm beginning to believe those who say many states don't break out crimes by CCW permit holders. If you know where to find those individual state
> stats, let me know

That's been a problem for me, too. I'll post this final bit of data from John Lott in a separate post to follow

Commenting on news stories with no outcome, Kurt adds:

> True, I can't predict what the judicial outcome of these cases will be (aside from the guy who also killed himself), but judging from the initial reports,
> these are pretty serious infractions with substantial evidence.

I'll go along with you that there were some serious crimes in that list and that the evidence in a few looked relatively substantial. Just keep in mind the lists of "arrest rates" versus the actual conviction rate.

> The bottom line? I have no qualms about agreeing with you that there are more violent crimes involving guns in the general population than
> involving CCW permit holders.

Fair enough

> Any chance you'll agree that more than a sprinkling of permit holders nationwide do indeed commit violent crimes

I'll agree with you that 99.7% of the general population is more dangerous than concealed carry permit holders.

> and that arming park visitors is not a panacea to feeling safe in the parks?

:^) You didn't think I'd ever concede that one, did you, Kurt?

There is a hugely differentiating criterion in this overall discussion that there are people who commit crimes and those who are victims. Those crimes the brady bunch reports allege involve victims, outside of national parks, who had [key point here, with emphasis] the OPPORTUNITY and legal right to possess the means to defend themselves.

That they didn't avail themselves (except in those "shootout reports) of that right is unfortunate, but their decision, nonetheless. Most of those news reports make it seem like many of these incidents are "acquaintance" types of crimes you mentioned in one of your earlier posts - but by no stretch to the degree that the Kellerman junk science claims.

I still stand by my determination to amend 36CFR 2.4 and will continue to assert my right to be able to defend myself within the bureaucratically defined boundaries of a park inside a state in which I'm authorized to possess my firearm.

I said this before and I'll say it again. I've unwillingly been a bit close to a couple situations that proved without any doubt that I am responsible for my own safety and that of my family. People here can continue to delude themselves that the wonderful park service will magically prevent their majestic park experience from being interrupted by a rapist, thief or murderer but just remember - they are "law enforcement" - as in , after the fact. They're not out there to protect you. That's my life insurance policy.

> Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-

Aww, c'mon, Kurt, I'm just getting warmed up. Here's my last, and only non-academic and non-NRA but pro-gun stat, link: The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock: http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock/noframedex.html

I have a three-drawer filing cabinet filled with _academic_ studies and a hard drive full of data . My wife calls me a gun nerd. I just call it a balancing act.

Guns save lives.

> Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-)

As promised, John Lott data. Despite their best efforts and scurrilous attempts by the brady bunch to discredit Lott's data he's honest and his data are comprehensive and well-researched.

If I find additional state-level data I'll pass it along.

Data from John Lott “More Guns Less Crime” Second Edition, publish date 2000, Chapter nine, pages 219-222

Chapter 8 Do concealed-handgun permit holders pose a risk to others?

But Susan Glick, a researcher for the Violence Policy Center in Washing­ton, a research group that focuses on gun laws found that many people issued concealed-weapons permits in Texas, a state with comparatively loose gun laws, had run afoul of the law. Some 15 people in Texas out of perhaps 200,000 who were issued permits to carry concealed weapons since 1996 have been charged with murder or attempted murder, Ms. Glick said. (Dirk Johnson, "Divided Missouri to Vote on a Right to Carry Concealed Guns," New York Times, April 2, 1999, p. A16)

In states with lax CCW [concealed carry weapon] laws, hundreds of licensees have committed crimes both before and after their licensure. For example, in Texas, which weakened its CCW law in 1996, the Department of Public Safety reported that felony and misdemeanor cases involving CCW permit holders rose 54.4% between 1996 and 1997. (Douglas Weil, "Carrying Concealed Guns Is Not the Solution," Intellectualcapital.com, March 26, 1998)

Antigun activists complain that no reliable data exists linking concealed weapons to crime because the gun lobby has been successful in hiding it. (James N. Thurman, "As More Carry Hidden Guns, Who's Safer" Christian Science Monitor, September 1, 1999, p. 1; Thurman was responding to my statement that "The kinds of people who go through the criminal background check and undergo the training aren't the kinds of people who commit the crimes")

The types of people who obtain permits tend to be extremely law abiding. That holds true for Texas as well as other states. Texas issued over 192,000 permits during the first three years of its right-to-carry law, from January 1, 1996, to December 31, 1998. Arrests for crimes "involving a gun" are a particularly misleading statistic, because someone who uses a gun defensively is likely to be arrested except if the police officer was completely sure that the person behaved properly. By March 1999, an Associated Press report stated that "only 515 of the charges. . . resulted in convictions, though some were still pending. . . . the bulk of the convictions against licensed concealed-handgun holders were misdemeanors, including 185 for drunken driving and 21 for prostitution. Felonies included 31 convictions for aggravated assault, six for assault causing bodily injury and five for aggravated sexual assault. No licensed handgun holder in Texas has been convicted of murder."93 Tela Goodwin Mange, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, noted that "The fact there are so few incidents relative to the number of people who have concealed handguns is a positive thing."

Doug Weil is indeed correct that Texas experienced a 54 percent increase in arrests between 1996 and 1997, but he fails to mention that the number of permits also increased by 50 percent between those two years, thus making the rate at which permit holders were arrested virtually unchanged. Weil's statement also makes it appear that the law changed between the two years, but the Texas law actually went into effect Janu­ary 1, 1996.

Texas's experience is probably best summarized by Glenn White, presi­dent of the Dallas Police Association: "1 lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because 1 thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn't happened. All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it has worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I am a convert."94

The experience has been similar in other states. The vast majority of revocations involve misdemeanors. Even when gun-related violations occur, the vast majority involve cases like carrying a gun into a restricted area like an airport. There is no evidence that any of these violations amounted to anything more than forgetfulness. The National Journal reported recently that permit holders "turn out to be UNUSUALLY law­abiding, safer even than off-duty cops."95

Here are the revocation data for other states:

Alaska. Of the permits issued from January 1, 1995, to August 17, 1999, .3 percent were revoked for any reason. None involved the firing of a gun.96

Arizona. Of the permits issued between the end of the fall of 1994 and July 31, 1999, .1 percent were revoked, though up to half of these were revocations for "administrative reasons" (such as people dying or saying that they no longer required the permit).97

Florida. Of the permits issued during October 1, 1987, to February 28, 1999, .2 percent were revoked for any reason. Of these, 113, or .02 percent, were revoked for any type of firearms-related violations, and almost all of these were nonthreatening.98

Indiana. Of the active permit holders, .16 percent had their permits re­voked or suspended for any reason during 1998.99

North Carolina. Of the permits issued between December 1, 1995, and August 4, 1999, .3 percent were revoked for any reason. While no detailed records exist for what reasons prompted revocations, those who oversaw the collection of the statistics could not recall hearing of any case of im­properly firing a gun.100

Oklahoma. Of the permits issued from 1996 to August 1999, .1 percent were revoked for any reason.101 Even these small numbers exaggerate the risks posed by permit holders, for some of these permit holders had their licenses "revoked" simply because they died. The Oklahoma Supreme Court also recently ruled that the state had improperly revoked some permits for reasons unrelated to one's fitness to carry a concealed handgun.

South Carolina. Of the permits issued from July 1996 to August 16, 1999, .4 percent were revoked for any reason. No violations involved a permit holder firing a gun. Sometimes the reason for the revocation was rela­tively trivial. For instance, one person lost his permit for not keeping his gun properly hidden-he was not wearing a shirt so the gun could be seen extending above his pants' waistband.

Utah. Of the permits issued between the summer of 1994 and July 1999, .4 percent were revoked for any reason. Of these revocations, 80 percent resulted from drunk driving. No violations involved the firing of a gun by a permit holder in Utah.102

Wyoming. Of the permits issued during fall 1994 to July 1999, .2 percent were revoked for any reason. James M. Wilson, the supervisor for the permitting program, stated that "Revocations did not include any cases of discharging of a firearm." 103

Shhh, don't tell the Brady Campaign, but there's big trouble in gun-control paradise.

The Times of London reports:

"Knife-carrying youths face automatic prosecution as street violence spirals"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article4069395.ece

Editor's note: This comment was edited

Enough with the careless use of statistical data. PLEASE!

Anyone, with little or no effort, can find and quote data gathered by various organizations on virtually any topic imaginable. These data are invariably "editorialized" to provide the organization with whatever "statistical evidence" they require to elicit some emotional outburst on any issue, both pro and con. Any attempt to normalize these data slants the actual findings toward whatever opinion those gathering the data represent. Data which serve not to support their views are deemed outliers, and not included in the findings, so as to not make the hypothesis lack credibility, and try to "prove" their point.

That aside, its one matter to throw out "facts and figures" in an effort to project an image of knowledge. It's quite another to effort an explanation of your data sets, and EARN that image. But that would entail an ability to do the math, understand the hypothesis and the scientific method, then with complete objectivity, offer an explanation of these data. What I'm seeing here is a total lack of objectivity on both sides of the fence, and the equivalent of a bucket of mudslinging by most parties, without offering one iota of supporting evidence aside from these useless statistical rationalizations.

For example, I could cite evidence that shows you are almost 10,000X more likely to be accosted while driving your car than you would be in a NPS unit. But rightfully so, we as a society deem road rage a crime, an emotional outburst easily curbed by thinking before reacting. But some smartass will use such a study to claim justification for driving armed, so that they can protect themselves while getting from Point A-B. In my view, retaliation against someone who has "assaulted" you with their automobile hardly justifies or legitimizes gunfire.

So I beg to offer this point for your general consideration. At what point is your method of "self defense" acceptable? What line has to be crossed before you determine that discharging your sidearm is the "proper" response? You might be licensed to carry, but consider this.........so are peace officers, yet they are educated in a variety of mechanisms of gaining control of a situation, and their handgun is considered a LAST resort, not a primary line of defense. I have asked in earlier posts for people to consider alternative mechanisms of defense, and I have been told I must have been visiting the mushroom patch again. To me, it sounds as though your HGH is wearing off when that's the best response you can garner. But that's just one man's opinion. I guess that asking some people to take a moment to think before they act is asking too much.

Just be aware of this, vigilantes. In the State in which I reside, if a home invasion is in progress, and the use of deadly force is used against an unarmed intruder, you will be charged (and many have been convicted) of Manslaughter in the 1st degree, which carries a term of 10+ years. If you use deadly force inside your residence and no imminent threat exists to you or your family, the charge is Murder in the 2nd degree. If you manage to scare off the intruder, or they decide to retreat and leave your residence, and you fire upon them WHILE THEY ARE STILL ON YOUR PROPERTY, the charge is Murder in the 1st degree. Once they cross your property line, the term "premeditated" is added to the charges, since you had the opportunity to break off the pursuit and chose to let your testosterone get the best of you. The point is you can defend your property while you are there, but defending yourself or someone else at the grocery store, baseball game, truck stop, hotel / bar, etc. is generally viewed with more contempt by the legal system insomuch as you are viewed as just that, a vigilante, not a peace-keeper. You may be a licensed gun carrier, but you're certainly not licensed to kill, by any means. As much as the American public would like nothing more, except maybe to kill all the lawyers, than to rid the nation of gang-bangers, rapists, serial killers, etc. more guns on the city streets won’t solve the problem, and I’ll tell you why. The Criminal Element, as the pro-gun crowd chooses to label them, have no fear of you and your CCP guns. You carry one, they carry a bigger one. They are going to continue their business as usual, making you a target of their rage, not hiding in the shadows every time you approach. Escalation into a society of assault rifles and military arms is your suggestion on improving the quality of life in America?

We did the same thing as kids years ago. The quickest way to disperse a crowd, or make the police retreat was to fire off 2-3 rounds from a 30.06 into the air. It was funny watching the police, knowing they were out-gunned, scamper back behind their cruisers and back off as quickly as they could while calling out for backup. It gave us just enough time to clear out before the police massed. So, while you’re out there on your patrol with your concealed .32 or .38 and somebody pulls an Uzi or the new 500 series on you, or you witness someone with advanced firepower pulling a job, you’re telling me you have the advantage in that confrontation? You’re either ignorant or just plain foolish to take on those odds. But if you decide to, best of luck to you. You’ll be needing it.

Thanks for providing all this data Rick. You and I both know that we're not going to change anybody's mind, but it is nice to demonstrate that there is a LOT of information available. They can believe what they want.

It must have taken a lot of time to gather all these numbers. Thanks for your time. You mentioned Dr. Lott's research. I've read all of his books and found them to be very informative and unbiased. It's just a shame that we can't get some of the "utopia" crowd to read one or two.

You said, "How do you decide which laws or regulations are worth obeying? If wearing a concealed weapon where they're outlawed doesn't bother you, where do you draw the line?"

One is a violation of a REGULATION written by a bureaucrat. A regulation denying my RIGHT to KEEP and BEAR ARMS is a violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. If CCW offends anyone, they should endeavor to amend the Constitution, or at least work to have CCW permit laws rescinded.

I just don't get it. We don't allow people to carry concealed weapons in our public schools, churches, museums, libraries, and courthouses. Therefore, why should people feel a special need to carry concealed weapons in our national parks?

Are our national parks not special, sacred places? Or, are they just another administrative variation of open space?

Owen Hoffman
Oak Ridge, TN 37830