Gun ownership in the United States is one of the most controversial issues today. The US ranks #1 in gun ownership based on number of guns per capita with 112.6 guns per 100 residents (2014). Lately, there is the so-called American gun crisis due to a series of mass shootings that are becoming more frequent and deadlier. Now, and more than ever, gun ownership is on the hot seat after the shooting in San Bernardino, California. And with this, we tackle the debate over concealed carry – its pros and cons.
List of Pros of Concealed Carry
1. It is a Constitutional Right
As of 2013, all 50 states of the US permit citizens to carry a concealed gun in public. Any eligible American who wishes to carry a concealed gun has the right to do so. According to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
2. Promotes Feeling of Security
Having a weapon to defend oneself without appearing too obvious gives a sense of security. In that, in case the need arises for one to use the concealed gun, the person can readily use it to defend oneself and other people. Those who carry concealed guns know that they can fight back against violent criminals when necessary.
3. Helps Deter Crimes
Criminals who know that anyone they encounter might have concealed guns or weapons with them would think twice before they execute their evil plans. When the public has firepower, it would help stop criminals especially mass shooters right at their tracks.
4. Proven Track Record of Owners
A study in 2000 found that the those who carry concealed guns are 5 times less likely to kill, 5.48 times less likely to commit violent crimes, and 6.6 times less likely to drive drunk than the general public. In another report, concealed gun carriers commit less than 1% of all gun-related homicides.
List of Cons of Concealed Carry
1. Causes Accidental Shootings
The risk of accidental shooting may escalate given that the majority of the public carry concealed guns. Children who scour their parents’ stuff may accidentally chance upon a concealed weapon and wield it out of curiosity or fun.
2. Has Mental and Emotional Effects
People who carry or own guns may not have the proper training to wield their weapons. They may be prone to have mental and emotional instability, and may not carry out the responsibility that comes with gun ownership. On the other hand, non-carrying public are left vulnerable against violent criminals and even those who carry concealed guns with whom they might have heated argument.
3. Gives Easy Access to Guns
Now that every state permits concealed guns, this makes it easier for violent criminals to arm themselves. A survey of imprisoned felons found that 75% of felons chose to carry firearms because of the likelihood that their victims could be armed and may fight back.
4. Promotes Tense Situations
There is a chance that simple arguments and disagreements could escalate into tense situations when one or both parties are armed. People who frequent locations where there is a high chance of disagreements such as in bars and sports arenas could end up having lethal confrontations.