by Charles C.W. Cooke
Friday, September 30, 2016
They never learn.
Just a few hours passed between the announcement that Missouri would become the 11th state not requiring a government permit to carry a concealed firearm and the unfurling of the usual nonsense. Missouri is now the “Shoot Me State,” squealed The New York Times. Its reforms represent “a risk to public safety!” claimed Everytown. “It’s like abolishing meat inspection,” complained Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show.” The common gist: In overturning the governor’s veto and deregulating the state’s concealed-carry process, Missouri’s legislators had struck a blow against sense.
That there was no evidence presented in favor of this proposition should not, in truth, surprise. Since 1987, gun-control activists have been promising precisely the same thing: That any loosening of the gun laws will yield a return to the Wild West. “Blood in the streets!” they have cried. “The O.K. Corral!” they have predicted. “Is anyone safe?” they have asked.
Nothing has been able to prevent these prognostications. Not the halving of the “gun violence” rate during exactly the same period in which concealed carry has flourished. Not the extraordinary drop in the overall crime rate. Not the marked success that the liberalization of the gun laws has brought. Nothing.
In 2013, after 49 of the 50 states had introduced concealed carry, the then-governor of Illinois warned that if his state were to become the 50th, Americans would start shooting each other in the supermarkets. “If you’re going and you bump into someone accidentally,” Pat Quinn explained, “well, they can pull out a loaded, concealed handgun to assuage their anger. So I think it’s important we defeat this bill.”
What, you may be wondering, could provoke an ostensibly intelligent man to say something so extraordinarily dim—especially after literally every other state in the union had shown that such fears were unfounded? What, we might inquire, could cause The New York Times’ editorial board—that self-appointed arbiter of all that is good and light—to engage in such a self-debasing freakout? Why, it seems reasonable to ask, is the debate over carry not heavily populated by remorseful characters such as Ron Silver, the Florida legislator who conceded that his staunch opposition to “shall-issue” carry had been misguided and overwrought?