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Pros and Cons of Concealed Carry Laws: A Sample Argumentative Essay

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This sample argumentative essay from Ultius will debate if concealed carry should be legal or not are issues like the effect on crime, the effect on safety, and the Second Amendment In 2013, Illinois became the last state in the United States to legalize the concealed carry of firearms. While some states require training and a long application process to obtain a license to concealed carry, others require no license at all. This kind of document would likely be found on an opinion blog or as part of a debate or speech writing assignment.

The pros and cons of concealed carry laws: Effects on crime 

The effect concealed carry has on crime is one of the main bullet points for either side of the argument. Those who feel that concealed carry should be legal often cite studies in which it has proven to prevent crime. A survey of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found a significant decrease in crime for states with legalized concealed carry; murder decreased by more than eight percent, aggravated assaults dropped by seven percent, rape decreased by five percent, and there was a three percent decrease in robbery cases (ProCon.org). If concealed carry was legal in every state, those statistics could apply nationwide rather than just in select states. There are endless studies on gun control, including this retrospective study from Ultius. Another study done in 2013 found that between 1980 and 2009, states that restricted citizens’ ability to carry concealed weapons saw higher murder rates than states that allowed it (Gius 265). Many police officers are also in favor of legalized concealed carry in the United States. Data from a survey of more than fifteen thousand police officers, current and retired alike, found that more than ninety percent of them supported civilian concealed carry, citing the positive impact on the prevention of crime (ProCon.org). This data would suggest a positive relationship between legal concealed carry and the reduction of crime.

Crime in States Disallowing Concealed Carry Source: Gun Facts
States prohibiting concealed carry have higher violent crime rates than national averages.
Type of Crime Percentage Higher in Restrictive States
Robbery 105%
Murder 86%
Assault 82%
Violent Crime 81%
Auto Theft 60%
Rape 25%

Despite this information, though, there are other studies, another popular basis of many research papers, that came to the opposite conclusion and support concealed carry being illegal. The National Bureaus of Economic Research found that between 1977 and 2010, states that passed laws in favor of concealed carry had a two percent increase in the murder rate and a nine percent increase in other crimes, such as burglary, assault, and rape (ProCon.org). Several other projects have produced very similar results. A peer-reviewed study conducted in 2009 by Econ Journal Watch found that legalizing concealed carry was directly associated to an increase in the number of aggravated assault cases between the late 1970s and early 200s (ProCon.org). In addition, while some police officers and law enforcement agents feel that concealed carry deters crime, some call for stricter gun control measures. In 2014, Chief Charlie Beck of the Los Angeles Police Department stated,

“I am not a proponent of having more guns on the street. I have seen far too much gun violence in my lifetime to think that more guns is a solution...” (Mantle).

Beck went on to say that it is more likely for a gun to be used against someone than a person is to use it in self-defense. This would suggest that legal concealed carry does not have a positive effect on the reduction of crime. 

Pros and cons of concealed carry laws: Effects on safety 

Another major factor in the legalization of concealed carry is the effect that is has on public safety. Proponents for concealed carry feel that criminals will always have guns whether they are allowed to or not. Instead of law-abiding citizens becoming victims, concealed weapon carriers feel safer knowing that they, too, are armed in case of an emergency. Some colleges now even allow weapons to be concealed on campus. In fact, many people, especially women, with a license to carry a concealed weapon cite the desire for security or protection as their main reason in getting their concealed carry license. One woman stated that she and her husband got their licenses after a scary incident in their home. “We had a man come to our door with a gun and try to force his way in. We could have been victims that night. And now we choose to be able to protect ourselves and our family.” (Doe).

Accidental Firearm Deaths Source: NSSF
Data on the decreasing number of unintentional firearm-related fatalities.
Accidental Firearm-Deaths from 1930 to 2011

While the majority carries their gun almost everywhere and has never had to use it, several reported saving their own lives or the lives of others because they were able to legally carry a concealed weapon.

"In the case of another woman, when a man on the highway felt she merged to closely in front of him, he began chasing her and ramming into the back of her car. In an attempt to get away, she tried to put another car between them but the man veered around another car, causing it to slam into the shoulder. The woman’s car sustained damage and she was forced to pull over. The man got out of his car, screaming, and began running towards her. She pulled out her weapon and pointed it at his chest. The man quickly ran back to his car and left the scene. When officers arrived, they told her that by drawing her weapon, she likely saved her own life and possibly the life of the woman driving the other car involved in the accident." (Simmons)

Because of cases like these, many people feel safer when they are armed. A study listed on Procon.org in 2001 found that almost sixty percent of those with a license to carry a weapon feel safer when they carry a firearm than without. As mentioned previously, many of the people who feel this way are women. In the decade preceding 2014, the number of women with licenses to carry a concealed handgun rose by almost ten percent (ProCon.org). Legalized concealed carry provides regular citizens with an opportunity to protect themselves from whatever may threaten their own safety or the safety of other innocent bystanders. Criminologist Gary Kleck led a study that found that victims of assault or robbery who used a firearm to protect themselves were less likely to be attacked or injured than those who used alternative methods of defending themselves (Kleck and Gertz 152). Other research has supported this conclusion, as well. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology discovered that when a victim draws a concealed weapon in an attempt to defend themselves, the criminal will retreat more than half the time (ProCon.org). 

While those who oppose concealed carry feel that more guns equals more gun violence, proponents of it maintain that the vast majority of adults who legally carry concealed weapons have never misused their guns. In 2000, a report concluded that citizens who carry concealed weapons are more than five times less likely to be charged with committing a violent crime and fourteen times less likely to be arrested for other offenses than those who do not carry (ProCon.org). In addition, many people feel that legalized concealed carry can prevent a shooting spree. It was concluded by the CATO Institute that when Colorado legalized concealed carry in 2003, it helped prevent a shooting spree at a church in late 2007 when an attacker was shot by a churchgoer carrying a concealed weapon (Kopel). Another study that reviewed states with concealed carry laws between 1977 and 1995 found that when a state passed laws legalizing concealed carry, the number of public shootings with more than one victim decreased by almost eighty five percent; the number of deaths resulting from these shootings dropped by ninety percent and the number of injuries sustained by survivors decreased by more than eighty percent (ProCon.org). 

Despite such reasoning, opponents to concealed carry laws feel that they have a negative effect on public safety. The American Journal of Public Health published a study in 2009 stating that a victim carrying a gun is almost five times more likely to be shot during an altercation with a criminal than a victim who is not armed. It is also believed by some that an increase in firearms in public gives everyday arguments the opportunity to escalate into a dangerous confrontation.

Stories in the media involving persons carrying concealed weapons For defense

  • An owner of an internet cafe and his attacker shot and killed each other when the attacker shot the owner in a robbery attempt, and the owner returned fire from his own legally concealed weapon. 
  • A man legally carrying his gun in a purse and a purse snatcher shot each other in the abdomen when the thief thought the purse carrying man would be an easy target. 
  • A man shot and killed his girlfriend's attacker with his concealed weapon after the attacker stabbed her (Crimeresearch.org).

One of the problems is that while there are requirements that one must follow before getting their license to carry concealed, they cannot always prevent dangerous people from obtaining weapons. Between 2007 and 2014, more than six hundred people, including fourteen police officers, were killed in the United States by people who were legally carrying concealed weapons. In addition, a list of those with licenses to carry concealed weapons in Florida from 2007 revealed that fourteen hundred had pleaded no contest or guilty to committing a felony, almost one hundred thirty had received court orders for domestic violence, and more than two hundred had outstanding warrants (ProCon.org). It is clear that while the application process is important, it is not free of error. Furthermore, while there may have been some cases in which crimes were prevented because of legally armed citizens, many feel it is best to leave public safety to those who are qualified to do so. It's also to remember gun laws, including concealed carry can vary by state.

Stories in the Media Involving Persons Committing Murder While Carrying Concealed Weapons 

  • A man with a legally concealed weapon shot and killed his 3 Muslim neighbors over a parking dispute.
  • A man used two guns with legally obtained conceal carry permits to shoot and kill 13 Chinese immigrants in New York in 2009 (Ingraham). 
  • In one case in early 2014, a man was shot and killed over an argument about texting at the movies by another man who was legally carrying a concealed weapon (ProCon.org).

Several states do not even require any training before receiving a permit to carry a concealed weapon; additionally, some states who not even require a permit to carry a concealed handgun (ProCon.org). In 2011, the police chief of Baraboo, Wisconsin stated to Baraboo News Republic that while he thinks people should be able to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon, he feels that there should be a certain amount of training involved. He said "...as police officers, we’re required to have training before we get our weapons and a certain number of training hours throughout the year. If we have to be trained, it would only make sense that a person in public would want to be trained, as well." Someone’s legal ability to carry a concealed weapon has no effect as all on their skill with or knowledge of firearms.

Pros and Cons of Concealed Carry Laws in Accordance with the Second Amendment

Another main factor in the issue of legal concealed carry is the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that citizens should maintain the right to keep and bear firearms. Many point to the National Rifle Association's (NRA) reluctance to alter the second amendment in any way. In 2012, the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Second Amendments should be assumed to include concealed firearms in public in case they need it for self-defense (ProCon.org). Several other relatively recent cases have yielded similar response from various federal court systems. However, those who oppose the legalization to carry a concealed weapon do not feel that the Second Amendment applies to concealed carry. At the time the Constitution was written, weapons were too large to carry concealed so assuming the Second Amendment includes the right to carry a concealed firearm can seem a bit illogical. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated in 2008 that, as is with many rights, the Second Amendment has limitations and should not be considered to cover any form of gun rights (ProCon.org). 

Conclusion to Pros and Cons of Concealed Carry Laws

With concealed carry currently allowed under specific circumstances in every state, the issue of whether or not American citizens should have that right is alive and well. Both sides cite the effect such laws will have on public safety, crime, and whether or not it is protected under the Second Amendment. Today, gun control is a popular hot button topic that many people feel very passionate about, regardless of which side they are on.

Writing a paper about gun control? You can turn to Ultius for help with your essay!

Works Cited

ProCon.org “Should Adults Have the Right to Carry a Concealed Handgun?” ProCon.org. 24 Aug. 2016, Web. www.concealedguns.procon.org/

Branas, Charles C., Therese S. Richmond, Dennis P. Culhane, Thomas R. Ten Have, and Douglas J. Wiebe. “Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault”. American Journal of Public Health, vol, 99, no. 1, 2009. Web. 10 Aug. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759797/

Damos, Tim. “Concealed carry training requirement suspended”. Baraboo News Republic. Baraboo News Republic, 08 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 Aug. 2016. http://www.wiscnews.com/baraboonewsrepublic/news/article_dabe639c-09c0-11e1-bd87-001cc4c002e0.html

Doe, Ashley (alias). Personal Interview. 6 Aug. 2015. 

Gius, Mark. “An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates.” Applied Economics Letters, vol. 21, no. 4, 2014, pp. 265-267.

Kleck, Gary and Marc Gertz. “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun.” The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, vol. 86, no. 1, 1995, pp. 150-187. 

Kopel, David B. “Colorado Consensus on Gun Laws”. CATO Institute. CATO Institute, 26 Jul. 2012. Web. 10 Aug. 2016. https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/colorado-consensus-gun-laws

Mantle, Larry. Interview with Charlie Beck. LAPD Chief Beck on officer-involved shootings, California’s concealed carry gun laws and marijuana enforcement. Radio broadcast, KPCC, 19 Feb. 2014. 

Simmons, Jessica. Personal Interview. 7 Aug. 2015. 

Crimeresearch.org. "Thirteen Defensive Guns Uses with Legally Carried Concealed Handguns Over The Last Month." Crime Prevention Research Center. Web.  26 Jun. 2016. https://crimeresearch.org/2016/06/thirteen-defensive-guns-uses-with-legally-carried-concealed-handguns-over-the-last-month/

Ingraham, Christopher. "People with concealed carry permits have committed at least 29 mass shootings since 2007" The Washington Post.  Web. 26 Oct. 2015 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/26/people-with-concealed-carry-permits-have-committed-at-least-29-mass-shootings-since-2007span>



Ultius, Inc. "Pros and Cons of Concealed Carry Laws: A Sample Argumentative Essay." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. Ultius Blog, 02 Sep. 2016. https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/pros-and-cons-of-concealed-carry-laws-a-sample-argumentative-essay.html

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Ultius, Inc. "Pros and Cons of Concealed Carry Laws: A Sample Argumentative Essay." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. September 02, 2016 https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/pros-and-cons-of-concealed-carry-laws-a-sample-argumentative-essay.html.

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Ultius, Inc. "Pros and Cons of Concealed Carry Laws: A Sample Argumentative Essay." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. September 02, 2016 https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/pros-and-cons-of-concealed-carry-laws-a-sample-argumentative-essay.html.

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