On Wednesday Senate Democrats narrowly defeated the Thune amendment, a broad-sweeping law that would have made state-issued concealed handgun licenses (CHL's) valid across state lines. To be sure, there was a valid concern with the Thune amendment--the superseding of state laws by the federal government. Laws concerning concealed carry vary widely from state to state and are very specific. Adding an overlapping federal level could be a confusing and possibly chaotic prospect, especially for police. Democrats payed lip-service to states' rights, but for the most part they just trotted out the old canard about the "wacko gun nut." But the opposition to the Thune amendment was not only misplaced; it was fallacious, misleading and flat-out wrong. Democrats were aided by a coalition of city mayors, most notably Mike Bloomberg of New York City, and anti-gun lobbying groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Violence Policy Center. All of these groups painted the Thune amendment, and by proxy CHL holders, as a threat to safety. Besides coming up with fantastical scenarios of criminals using out-of-state CHL's to transport truckloads of guns into urban areas, they slandered normal, everyday citizens who are simply exercising their constitutional rights. "The hard facts are that concealed handgun permit holders do not prevent mass shootings, they perpetrate them," said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center in an AP article. I'm not sure where Rand is getting her "facts." Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech did not have a CHL. Neither did the killers at Columbine or Thurston High School. Out of the 48 states that allow concealed carry, only Alaska and Vermont do not require permits. Most other states require classes and/or background checks that preclude violent felons. Because of this, CHL holders are among the most responsible and law-conscious citizens. To put it bluntly: If you're going to shoot up a classroom or mall, why go through the trouble of an 8-hour class? There are, inevitably, people getting concealed carry licenses that shouldn't have them. And there are inevitably tragedies that occur. The AP article takes time to cite a Violence Policy Center study revealing that "concealed handgun permit holders killed at least seven police officers and 44 private citizens during the two-year period ending in April." Yet, the Brady Campaign's web site states that 85 people a day die from gun violence (including suicides and accidents). If their own statistics are to be believed, gun-control advocates should be least worried about CHL holders. Much was also made of the point that families of victims of the VA Tech shooting took out ads opposing the Thune amendment. However, no one took the time to mention that Virginia Tech is currently home to the largest chapter in the nation of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a group that advocates for legal concealed carry of handguns on college campuses. Or I could bring up the case of the 2002 Appalachian School of Law shooting. A former student entered the administration offices with a handgun and began firing, killing three and wounding three. He was subdued, not by police or campus security, but by a group of students, two armed with concealed firearms. But what's the point? As they've made clear, anti-gun advocates these days don't seem to be interested much in facts or logic anyway.
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