After another shooting in Darby, Pa where a psychiatrist with a concealed weapon permit shot and killed a patient who had already shot one colleague, Wayne Lapierre, the head of the NRA, said the incident served as a call for more guns in public spaces, not fewer. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
For many Americans, that logic made sense. There were at least 8 million active concealed-weapon permits in the US in 2011. It is thought the number has risen by at least 1 million in the years since (Sept 2014). In 1987, fewer than 10 states made it easy to get a concealed-weapon permit, and some outlawed them altogether. Today, all 50 states allow residents to carry hidden firearms in public, and fewer than 10 have tight restrictions in place.
And the trend appears to be accelerating: In S Carolina, residents, as of February can bring loaded weapons into bars and restaurants. In Idaho, you can pack heat on college campuses. A Georgia law is so permissive that it’s known as the “guns everywhere” law, permitting weapons in bars, churches and parts of airports and government buildings unless prohibited by local ordinances or business owners. On Sept 10, Missouri passed a law allowing concealed-permit holders to carry their guns openly throughout the state and lowered the minimum age to get a permit from 21 to 19.
In 19th century America, carrying a gun in public was common, but it was always done openly. Concealing a weapon was considered underhanded. But after the US violent-crime rate more than tripled from 1960 to 1980, pressure mounted for states to make it easier for the general public to carry hidden firearms.
In some places, local law-enforcement is trying to halt this momentum with little success.
Orange County, California, has had 7,500 applications since February when an Appeals Court struck down a state law that had allowed county sheriffs and chiefs of police to decide who should be allowed to carry concealed weapons. This decision is being appealed and it could end up before the US Supreme Court as a final test of whether states and local authorities have a constitutional right to exercise discretion over permits. It would take geography out of it. This has led to a permitting patchwork. San Francisco has not issued a single permit in 2 years. Los Angeles County oversees fewer than 300 active permits. The lack of geographic uniformity can cause problems if carrying a legal gun in one state is not legal in another that has strict concealed weapons laws. One could then face criminal prosecution.
The number of women with concealed gun permits is increasing more than in men. A company, Well-Armed Woman manufactures and sells gun accessories and has 200 chapters in 40 states. It carries a selection of holsters and conceal-carry bags designed for women. The Flashbag holster allows a woman to attach a small handgun to her bra and a waistband holster available in pink, key lime and leopard print. Their web site features videos training women how to shoot through handbags if they don’t have enough time to draw their guns before firing. Problems arise when a bag with a gun gets stolen or left unattended for your children to explore. Women have had to learn to protect themselves with increasingly independent lifestyles.
The boom in both open and concealed gun carrying has coincided with a dramatic decrease in crime. In 1993, there were 747 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans; by 2012, the figure had fallen to 387. Some research has shown that the falling rate is due to all those hidden holsters but they are disputed studies. After predictions that every fender-bender was going to turn into a shooting, that has not happened. If a weapon is used in an excessive way (think Trayvon Martin), something else occurs – widely publicized shootings often lead to a run on guns, amid fears a crackdown is occurring. Permit holders have not gone off en-masse starting fights and acting inappropriately.
Some retailers have made rules banning concealed guns on their premises. Chipotle, Starbucks and Target all ask customers to not have guns. Disneyland also doesn’t allow guns, but some enthusiasts boast about getting their guns past the theme park’s security. This is the risk that banning guns can turn your business into a proving ground.
Only in America.

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I would like to think of myself as a full time traveler. I have been retired since 2006 and in that time have traveled every winter for four to seven months. The months that I am "home", are often also spent on the road, hiking or kayaking. I hope to present a website that describes my travel along with my hiking and sea kayaking experiences.
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