I received my concealed weapons permit yesterday from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

In the United States, concealed weapons permits allow ordinary citizens to carry a handgun in public areas, concealed from view. To many people who don’t live in areas where such a practice is normal – like myself prior to living here – that may sound strange. It may even sound dangerous, unnecessary, outlandish. You may find yourself questioning why a sensible government would ever allow such an activity. You may even feel that it’s what is wrong with society! But, as you’ll find by reading on, the exact opposite is true.

In a post to this blog on Monday, November 14th last year, I showed that allowing law-abiding citizens to own, carry and conceal firearms results in reduced violent crime. The statistics speak for themselves on this point. For example, of incarcerated felons surveyed by the Department of Justice, 34% have been driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens; 40% state that they have decided against committing crimes for fear their would-be victims were armed.

It makes sense. If bad guys are armed (as they are even in Britain where even ownership of a firearm is illegal), and good guys are NOT armed (as they are in Britain where even ownership of a firearm is illegal) – violent crime, involving guns, proliferates. In fact, even if bad guys aren’t armed (which is impossible to guarantee, even in Britain where ownership of a firearm is illegal) and good guys also aren’t armed (as is the case in Britain where even ownership of a firearm is illegal), violent crime, even without the involvement of guns, proliferates! Why? Because the bad guys know that their victims will not be armed. This isn’t just a theory; the statistics demonstrate it without argument.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report (1992) concluded: “Violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defence.” Upon the wide issuance of concealed weapons permits to the citizens of Florida, crimes in general against residents dropped significantly. This had the unintended side-effect of putting tourists driving marked rental cars at risk in Florida, because criminals knew that they would not be carrying a concealed weapon. (The interim solution was to pass law ensuring that rental cars were unmarked, which seemed to work.) The answer to crime was MORE guns in the hands of ordinary citizens, not less! The presence of firearms in the possession of law-abiding citizens is, itself, enough to reduce crime. Police figures in Switzerland show a remarkably low rate of crime. Diplomats from Europe and left-liberal US states who want to know their secret are promptly informed of their law: every male over the age of 21 must have a firearm and be trained in its use.

Not what your leftist politicians want you to know.

But, doesn’t allowing people to carry concealed weapons increase instances of some kind of violent incidents? What about when permit holders go crazy and just start shooting people? The truth is, it hardly ever happens. When people are made to be responsible for their own safety, the net result is: more responsible citizens. There is no central database to prove it, but, of the 14,000 permit holders in Oregon, for example, only 4 have ever been convicted of the criminal (not violent) use or possession of a firearm. That’s 0.03%. North Carolina’s story is the same: 263,102 permit holders, and only 0.2% had their permits revoked (most were for simple driving infractions, and the licencees weren’t even necessarily armed when they occurred).

There are more privately-owned firearms in my single Arizona county than perhaps the whole of the United Kingdom. And yet our crime rate is extremely, shockingly low in comparison. Most local arrests are made for DUI (driving under the influence) and drug use. I can’t remember the last time I heard of a single homicide. Very few reports of violent crime come through on arrest reports. So, you’re asking, if crime in my area is so low, why would I want a concealed weapons permit?

Well if you haven’t got the point by now, you probably won’t. Try to do as many legislatures around America have gradually been doing, and start connecting the dots. There is a good reason for our low crime figures here. The more responsible citizens there are carrying concealed firearms, the less violent crime there is. So I applied for and received my concealed weapons permit primarily out of principal, out of support for the right to bear such arms and out of pragmatism.

Beyond that, there are a few other excellent reasons. The firearms training course that was required in order to apply for the permit was of interest to me. I have learned a lot about the system, about rights, the law, tactical issues and gun safety through the process. Among those taking the course along with me were local business owners, real estate developers, a lawyer and an elected official. I recently bought my first handgun: a Glock 27, subcompact, .40 caliber, semiautomatic pistol. After about a thousand rounds and some training, I feel very proficient with it. My wife is a photographer who travels with her work over long distances by road a lot, often at night, so I encouraged her to take the course and she received her permit along with me. Being able to conceal a handgun in a glove box or purse gives immeasurable peace of mind, particularly for women.

Although ‘open carry’ exists in Arizona – and it isn’t unusual to see private citizens in public carrying a firearm openly without the need for a permit – inadvertently concealing it (perhaps by some stray clothing) is illegal. So having the concealed weapons permit gives further assurance that, no matter how the gun is transported, it will be legal. Many times it is being transported merely to shoot for fun in the desert, or to take it to a shooting range. And finally, I have a job on radio…. and occasionally I say some things that have the potential to piss off some nutcase. Being able to protect myself effectively (since the mere sight of my sub-muscular frame won’t likely be a sufficient deterrent) is potentially priceless.

Local police departments are delighted that citizens take their own protection and self-defence seriously. Permits are issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety – an appropriate name. The tactical training course I attended was conducted by a local police officer. Officers routinely give advice on practical issues, such as which gun would suit you best. And, meanwhile, left-liberals are trying to convince you that guns should be banned entirely, as they were recently in San Francisco.


To alleviate poverty, they raise taxes on business. How incongruous. To protect the environment, they place restrictions on the free market. How paradoxical. And to reduce crime, they want to ban firearms. How ironic. Almost every leftist action is counterproductive to their own goals. They miss the fact that reducing taxes on business has always made society more prosperous; they have ignored the answers to our environmental woes that come from the free market; and they fail to see that the crime rate falls with greater gun ownership and right to carry.

The police do not promise to protect you from crime. If you are attacked at night as you leave your house alone, you cannot sue the police for inadequately defending you. The very nature of violent crime is that it takes place before the police can respond. Your life is YOURS to protect, and you are ultimately responsible for defending yourself.

If you find that your government is getting in the way of that – increasing your risk of crime by disallowing law-abiding citizens like yourself from owning and/or carrying firearms – then, in a democratic society, it is up to you to CHANGE YOUR GOVERNMENT.

See Part II of this article here and an update on the issue here.

john Wright