Thursday, March 10, 2011
The Problem with Concealed Carry Laws
Pro gun Americans like to imagine that if more people carried guns, they would be better able to protect themselves and we would have less crime. Now some would-be criminals would presumably be deterred just by the sight of a gun. But in an incident like the Tuscon shooting, which has generated a new round of laws that make it easier to carry a gun, you have to ask yourself what difference it would have made if some bystander had had a gun handy. Unless that bystander was recently part of the special forces or the secret service, probably not much. Because in a stressful situation most people can't shoot straight, and with a pistol very few people can hit anything at all. Policemen, who are trained to use their pistols and have more experience of violent situations than most people, only hit their targets 10 to 20 percent of the time. So even an experienced cop who opened fire in that mad scene in Tuscon would have been much more likely to hit a bystander than the shooter.