And why this is good for California
by Jason Cox
Cowboys nervously place their hands on their revolvers. Tumbleweeds blow down the sandy streets. The sound of spurs rattles as the lawmen approach. The shootout at the O.K. Corral is about to begin, or so opponents of concealed-carry would have you believe. I’m happy to announce that rumors of California’s destiny to become a spaghetti western are greatly exaggerated.
Concealed-carry weapon permits grant a person the right to possess a firearm underneath their clothing in public places. California, noted for having the country’s strictest gun laws, allows on paper for citizens to apply for such permits. In practice however, it has made obtaining one almost impossible. To file for a permit, one must declare a “good cause,” of which, one’s own protection and self-defense is deemed not a sufficient reason.
On February 13th, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit ruled in the case Peruta v. San Diego that this practice is unconstitutional. Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, writing for the majority, cited the landmark Supreme Court decision in D.C. v. Heller that declared the 2nd Amendment describes an individual right to possess a firearm for self-defense. He, along with Judge Consuelo M. Callahan, ruled that this individual right extends outside of one’s home, mandating that “good cause” does in fact include self-defense.
In a state with over a million crimes committed every year, this couldn’t be better news. While opponents decry the Wild West scenario they believe this will create, the opposite is in fact the case. Studies by Mark Gius, John Lott, the Cato Institute, and countless others have found that CCW permits reduce crime rates significantly. The rationale behind this is simple; a criminal intent on attacking or robbing an individual must add in the calculation that their would-be victim may be armed. With upwards of millions of crimes being halted every year due to defensive firearm usage, supporting these types of laws is a no-brainer.
Basic economics teaches us an important lesson, if the cost of something increases, the amount demanded decreases. If every criminal is left asking the question, how costly might it be for them to commit a crime with every target possibly possessing a firearm, you’ve disincentivized criminal activity. When law-abiding citizens have the ability to defend themselves, you don’t create a lawless society, you create the opposite; one where citizens need not fear walking the streets at night.