No permit, safety training, or background check: That's what's needed to carry a loaded gun in over half the country. Nothing! Florida is the 26th state to let adults carry handguns without a permit or license. Meanwhile, states that allow permitless carry, which is also called "constitutional carry," continually see increased violence and death.
Research has shown that weakening permitless carry laws is associated with a 13%-15% increase in violent crime rates and an 11% increase in rates of homicides committed with handguns. Gun violence is a deadly epidemic. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution permits unvetted, potentially dangerous, and untrained people to carry guns publicly.
Help make our communities safer. Sign the petition to demand our elected officials oppose permitless carry of weapons!
Arlene Alvarez, a 9-year-old girl in Texas, was sitting in a pickup truck when Tony Earls murdered her. Earls reportedly opened fire to shoot a man who allegedly robbed him and his wife, and Alvarez was mistakenly hit. He wasn't licensed to carry. However, Texas law does not require permits and Earls was not prosecuted. Earls has moved on. Alvarez didn't get to see her 10th birthday.
Every time we walk down the street, visit the mall, or attend a public event, we are at greater risk because of policies like permitless carry. It has gotten so bad that many foreign countries issue travel advisories about gun safety when their citizens go to the United States. This is not an abstract debate about constitutional rights—it's a matter of life and death.
A growing number of law enforcement officers across the country oppose permitless carry laws, citing a 13% increase in officer-involved shootings and a 13% decline in the rate of clearing violent crimes in states that changed to permitless carry. In April, police chiefs in South Carolina shared their concerns about the unintended consequences of making it easier to carry concealed guns with state lawmakers, reports Live 5 WCSC.
"As law enforcement, we train, and we train, and we train some more, and we still make mistakes," said Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock. "With this legislation, we are asking the public no longer to be required to train and expect the same results." Permitless carry "puts our law enforcement officers in a position to fail," offered Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook.
Even most gun owners (including yours truly) agree that if it takes a permit and training to drive a car, it should take a permit and training to carry a gun. But the National Rifle Association is a powerful lobby representing gun manufacturers (not gun owners), and its political donations are used to block all gun control restrictions. Our elected officials work for NRA blood money, not for the voters who gave them their positions of power.
At some point, enough has to be enough. We cannot continue to make owning deadly weapons easier. We continue to suffer through a direct correlation between increased violence and mass shootings and decreased boundaries to gun access.
This dangerous experiment in permitless carry has gone on too long. It is time to stop weakening gun safety provisions and strengthen sensible laws. The only thing we can do for Arlene Alvarez now is to stop the next reckless gun owner from taking another life.
Sign the petition: Oppose permitless carry of weapons.