Donna Grethen, Tribune Media Services

Know the truth about the carrying of weapons

  • Article by: DAVID ANDERSON
  • January 5, 2013 - 8:39 AM


In "Gun lobby commands less influence than article implied" (Jan. 3), Heather Martens of the advocacy group Protect Minnesota continues to misinform.

Martens claims that "the 2003 conceal-and-carry law turned what was a privilege -- carrying a loaded gun in public -- into an automatic gimme."

The assertion that protecting yourself and your family should be seen as a privilege is laughable. Under the prior law, permitting was discretionary, which meant that one sheriff could just not issue because he felt like it. No reason was needed to deny you a permit. That was no common-sense, fair approach for those looking to protect themselves and their families from harm and death.

The Minnesota Personal Protection Act strengthened training requirements, increased the minimum age for a permit to 21 and required background checks. The act also is a permit-to-carry law, not a conceal-and-carry law. The handgun does not need to be concealed, but can be concealed.

Martens then identifies a few isolated incidents involving permitholders, trying to correlate them with violence. The statistics prove just the opposite; that permitholders are less likely to be involved in crimes.

In 2002, there were only 11,381 citizens with a legal carry permit; by 2007, that number had climbed to 50,777. In 2009, headlines were informing Minnesotans that the state's crime rate had fallen to the lowest level since the late 1960s. A review of the Minnesota Crime reports show that the trend continues.

The 2011 Permit to Carry Report shows that there are now 91,221 valid permits to carry in Minnesota. Of that total, only 134 permits were suspended or revoked. That is 0.15 percent of all permits.

With 231 reported crimes among permit holders in 2011 (23 of which were labeled as having a firearm present or used in the crime) and only 1,159 since reporting started in 2003 (only 114 of which labeled as firearm used or present), it is easy to see that permitholders are more law-abiding than the general population in Minnesota.

The sky is not falling in Minnesota; the streets are not turning into the Wild West, and gun owners are not somehow making the state less safe. Let's have a real discussion about violence and its causes, and not just blame guns and law-abiding citizens.

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David Anderson lives in Lonsdale, Minn.

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