Pete Stephenson, Livermore
In her nearly identical July 15 and June 24 letters to the editor, Madeline Brown-Vega makes several false and unsupported statements regarding Texas' HB 1927, a bill regarding permitless "Constitutional Carry" of firearms, which has since been signed into law.
Constitutional Carry is, with the addition of Texas, the law in 21 states. Vermont has had it since its founding, with the other twenty states enacting such laws since 1986. Decades of data from such states have not seen an increase in unjustified shootings by those legally carrying, excluding crimes by persons prohibited from carrying guns legally, such as felons and the mentally ill. Indeed, criminals were already carrying illegally, and laws restricting carry by law-abiding people serve only to keep honest people defenseless against criminal aggression. In that context, it seems proper to me for Texas to choose to maximize liberty while not reducing public safety, but I recognize that the opinions of Californians carry little weight in the Texas legislature, just as the opinions of Texans are not considered by the California legislature.
She makes, without citing sources, claims regarding deaths caused by concealed carriers, and falsely claims that such statistics are from a single year. After some digging, I discovered the numbers in her claims are from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) a strongly biased gun control organization with a long history of distorting the facts, and refer to crimes committed by alleged concealed carriers over all time anywhere in the United States rather than from a single year in a single state. Combining the VPC statistics with FBI crime data, it turns out that concealed carriers are -- contrary to Ms. Brown-Vega's implication -- considerably more law-abiding than the general public (and police officers) and commit far fewer gun-related crimes per capita. Based on the facts, lawful concealed carry (whether with permits or Constitutional Carry) should be encouraged so as to improve public safety.
Since California's restrictive laws prevent readers from arming themselves with guns for protection from criminal violence while doing little to make our state safer, I urge readers to arm themselves with the facts against false and misleading statements and to encourage the California legislature to allow more common lawful carry.