By: Teresa Mull
Oklahoma became the 14th state in the Union to honor Constitutional Carry when Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed HB 2597 into law last week. Constitutional Carry means no law-abiding citizen will be forced to beg for government permission or pay a fee simply to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense.
Now, Oklahoma City’s Police Chief Bill Citty is denouncing the new legislation. Fox25 News reports Citty said:
"You'll have more people carrying guns, you'll have more guns accessible. Studies have already shown, legitimate studies now, show the more guns you have and the easier it is to get guns, the more deaths you're going to have. Either from homicides, accidental shootings, suicides. It's bound to increase at a time when our aggravated assaults are already higher than they have been in a while … Saying that it makes communities safer, that’s a pretty tiring and an old statement as far as I’m concerned. That’s not the case. Anyone that buys that, it’s just not."
Bad Intel or Blatant Lies
Citty is either ignorant of what “legitimate studies” actually show about gun control, or else he’s ignoring them. The facts proving that “more guns equal less crime” are overwhelming.
Gun Owners of America (GOA) reported in 2017 on the benefits of Constitutional Carry:
Concealed carry in general has been very successful in the United States. The Crime Prevention Research Center reports that, while concealed carry permits tripled during the first seven years of Obama’s presidency, the murder rate dropped 16% during that same period.
This means there are millions of additional people carrying firearms outside of their homes, even as the murder rate has dropped. We are actually safer today.
Concealed carry holders are the safest segment of our society, as they commit crimes at a lower rate than police or the average member of the public.
This positive record carries over especially in Constitutional Carry states. They are some of the safest states in the country. Just look at Maine and Vermont, with their low crime rates.
Further research compiled by Guy Smith and published by Gun Owners of America (GOA) has found that, contrary to what Citty is claiming:
“There’s no clear relationship between more guns and higher levels of violence.” (Small Arms Survey Project, Keith Krause, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, 2007)
"The number of times per year an American uses a firearm to deter a home invasion alone is 498,000.203 Fact: In 83.5% of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first, proving that guns are very well suited for self-defense." (Estimating intruder-related firearm retrievals in U.S. households, 1994. Robin M. Ikeda, Violence and Victims, Winter 1997)
"The rate of defensive gun use (DGU) is six times that of criminal gun use." (Crime statistics: Bureau of Justice Statistics - National Crime Victimization Survey (2005). DGU statistics: Targeting Guns, Kleck (average of 15 major surveys where DGUs were reported)
Of course, as all Second Amendment supporters know, gun control laws do not deter would-be criminals. Data shows that eight out of ten times, guns used in crimes were obtained illegally. The only effect of increased gun control is to impede the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional right to self-defense.
Police Chief Citty should know better. And chances are, he does.
All about the Money
While Citty at least feigned concern for public safety, Democrats in the Oklahoma legislature have revealed their true priority: Safety? Constitutional rights? No. Money!
Some Dems have expressed concerns about how Constitutional Carry may affect the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) budget, despite the fact that the department will have less work to do and fewer administrative costs if fewer people are applying for concealed carry permits when the new law goes into effect in November 2019.
"The figure I hear consistently is that licensing in Oklahoma generates about $6 million and about $2 million of that goes to the administration of the program, so that’s going to be a net loss to the state of about $4 million," said Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, according to Oklahoma's News 4. "I think anytime you’re looking at revenue to the state, there needs to be some concern about that. I have not heard anyone, any of the proponents indicate to me how they’re going to replace that."
News 4 further reports:
Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman voted against the bill when it was presented on the House floor earlier this month and said they have not received a clear answer on how funding would be replaced.
"When it comes to an agency that’s essential like OSBI, it’s very concerning when we’re cutting their budget like that," Rep. Virgin said. "We’ll be advocating that OSBI be made whole but I don’t want to focus on money as the reason to oppose permit less carry but that’s certainly one of a number of reasons to oppose it."
OSBI spokeswoman Brook Arbeitman told Fox25 OSBI has been preparing for Constitutional Carry since last year, and the agency is "dynamic" and will adapt to the changes.
Arbeitman also said Oklahomans are still encouraged to get concealed carry permits for practical travel purposes.
"If you plan to travel to one of the reciprocity states that requires permits, you're going to run into some issues without a permit yourself," Arbeitman said. "Because of that, we still encourage people to go through the process."
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at email@example.com.