The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.
Once again the President has ensured that he will never let a crisis go to waste. No matter how the public sees the outcome of the case, it’s the gun that is to blame and something must be done to rid our nation of these weapons or else more people will die. What any legal gun owner; especially a concealed carry holder, should notice is with that statement the president has made them the problem in America. He is not alone in this thought. The Violence Policy Center (VPC) has made it their goal to show how dangerous concealed carry holders really are. They have statistics showing the gun crimes at the hands of legal concealed carry holders to try to drive their point home that no one should be armed. While it’s quite disturbing to see anyone who is trusted to be a responsible steward of a firearm commit any crime; the statistics the VPC uses to further their argument is quite weak.
Take for example the total people killed by concealed carry holders. VPC has a tally of 516 deaths. That is an astonishing number until you consider this is over a span of 6 years. Yes, this data has been collected from May 2007 until June 2013. That comes to an average of 86 people killed by concealed carry holders a year nationwide. Now let’s look at the Uniform Crime Report for the year 2011. If you add all of the murders where a handgun was used you’ll find that that one year alone, 2,220 people lost their lives. I know that for some people that doesn’t mean much. After all, concealed carry holders are a smaller group so of course there will be a smaller number of murders at their hands. Luckily Texas has given a bit more clarification on this issue. The Texas Department of Public Safety released a study in 2012 that found that concealed carry holders commit less than 1% of the crimes in the state of Texas. The department looked at the conviction rates over the course of 2011 and covered every offense imaginable. A total of 63,679 offenses were convicted in Texas in 2011. Out of those, a total of 120 were committed by concealed carry holders. That’s a percentage of 0.1884%. It appears that President Obama is using the wrong case to call for stemming gun violence. Statistically it appears that even with the increase of concealed carry holders in this country; the violence among them is not climbing. Sure, there are antidotal cases where someone who has a concealed handgun license was careless, but by and large these people are the most responsible members of society.
Beyond the popular belief of some, carrying a concealed weapon doesn’t make one prone to look for trouble or long to get into gunfights just because they can. It will actually make you a more responsible person because you will have to think about how your behavior can escalate or calm a potentially dangerous situation. I know this because I have a concealed handgun license. I am fully aware of the responsibility I have to the safety of everyone around me whenever I carry my weapon. This is not something I take lightly for I do not wish to live with the consequences should a tragedy happen and I’m culpable for the outcome.
I cannot speak for George Zimmerman or what was going through mind when he found himself having to use his weapon or the scenario that led to that point. What I can say is the statistics show that those of us who are concealed carry holders are in the top percentile of the law abiding in this nation. The president’s attempt at making us scapegoats is quite disturbing and it is wrong. The president will use George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin as tools to go after us responsible gun owners; especially now that George Zimmerman will once again carry his concealed handgun. I suspect that this one action on the part of Mr. Zimmerman will be the catalyst that will motivate lawmakers to push for a gun control bill and alienate concealed carry holders nationwide. We must defend our good names in the face of those who wish to smear them for an agenda because we cannot afford sit silent while those in Washington DC use a tragic event to strip us of our rights.