The National Rifle Association (NRA) frequently claims that concealed carry permit holders are the most law-abiding citizens in America. While this is likely true in many cases, it has become apparent that the screening process in most states does little or nothing to stop dangerous individuals from obtaining permits to carry concealed handguns.
In 2009, for example, there were six confirmed mass shootings (defined as three or more deaths) by concealed carry permit holders, including the Fort Hood shooting by Nidal Malik Hasan and the killing of three policemen by Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski in Pittsburgh.
Currently 34 states have "Shall-Issue" laws that require law enforcement officials to approve permits for any applicant who passes a basic computerized background check through the FBI's NICS database (which is missing millions of disqualifying records). Individuals with misdemeanor criminal convictions, DUI offenses, past domestic abuse restraining orders, and histories of voluntary commitment to psychiatric instituitions can and do obtain permits legally. Training requirements—if there are any for permit holders—are no more rigorous than a single day-class in instruction.
Despite these problems with the screening process, the NRA is currently pushing to allow the carrying of concealed handguns in public spaces across America—including schools, churches, parks, airports, metro transport, restaurants, and bars.
The gun lobby has also frequently suggested that carrying a concealed handgun in public is a constitutional "right." However, the Supreme Court was clear on this issue in their decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. "The Second Amendment right is not unlimited," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia. "It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. "
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|Resources for Advocates|
- CSGV Blog: Ordinary People - Are all gun owners law-abiding Americans?
- CSGV Webpage: Mass Shootings by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders in 2009
- Results of audits of concealed handgun permit holder rosters in Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Indiana
- Brady Campaign Report: Reported Crimes and Misdeeds by Concealed Weapons License and Permit Holders
- Legal Community Against Violence Report: America Caught in the Crossfire: How Concealed Carry Laws Threaten Public Safety
- Legal Community Against Violence Report: Banning Assault Weapons: A Legal Primer for State and Local Action
- NPCA Webpage: Keep Parks Safe: Say No to Loaded Guns in Our National Parks
- Blog: Abusing the Privilege