Why do Americans want more concealed guns? A Zogby poll says
83% support concealed carry permits for anyone and USA Today reports
a "surge in applications for concealed weapons permits." The reports coincide with gun owner George Sodini's gym rampage
last night in Pittsburgh, which left four dead. Pundits haven't had
time to process the attack, so The Atlantic Wire is at your service to delineate the age-old divide on guns: Do conceal-carry permits make us safer or less safe?
The Weekly Standard's C.J. Ciaramella connected gun control advocates
who "painted concealed carry permit holders as dangerous crazies who
are likely to go on shooting sprees," to the rise in gun ownership. Gun
permit applicants "seem to think Democrats will restrict their Second
Amendment rights," she wrote. "I wonder why?"Guns in Congress?
E.J. Dionne of the
Washington Post tackled the anti-gun control argument that "the best
defense against crime is an armed citizenry." He facetiously suggested
that GOP Congressmen should "practice what they preach" and vote "to
dismantle the metal detectors, send the guards at the doors away and
allow Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights by being free
to carry their firearms into the nation's Capitol?"
The National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru countered
that of course the Capitol's security is preferable, but that "nobody
is proposing to implement such a regime for every 7-11 clerk working
the night shift." Ponnuru argued that, when Capitol-like security is
unfeasible, looser gun restrictions could make people safer. "The
reduction of risks here seems pretty impressive," he wrote.The best arguments for and against.
For what it's worth, the definitive argument in support of stricter gun control remains Adam Gopnik's New Yorker piece
pegged to the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting. And the definitive argument against would be John R. Lott's book "More Guns, Less Crime
" or Joyce Lee Malcolm's 2002 Reason piece on gun control in England
. Either way, Eugene Volokh thinks the rising support for looser gun laws may be overblown
"While I support shall-issue laws, I'm pretty skeptical about the
findings," he wrote, arguing that Zogby's poll question may have been
misleading. Volokh compared past surveys that showed "at most 52%-55%
support," concluding, "I'm skeptical that the increase would be so
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.