Michael Williams, a California blogger who I read regularly, has applied for and been denied a concealed carry weapon permit. He apparently wasn’t applying on a whim, but because of a specific reason that he wisely will not disclose publicly.
Although I don’t know Mr. Williams or anything about his situation, I believe him when he says he feels he needs to be able to carry. He wrote a letter to the Police Chief of his community. Excerpts include
I am 26 years old, and have no criminal record of any sort. I have never been a party in a lawsuit, I have never been arrested, and I have not been in a fight since age 10. I have never been in a courtroom or appeared in front of a judge. I do not drink, I do not use drugs, and I have no psychological or mental problems that could cause me to act dangerously or irrationally. I am gainfully employed as an engineering consultant at Boeing Satellite Systems, and I own my own home. I am a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA, and serve actively in my local church.
Sounds like a dangerous guy, doesn’t he?
As you are aware, there are a great many people in the city of Hawthorne and the surrounding communities who carry concealed handguns and have never bothered to go to their police chief to ask permission. I have no doubt that you and your officers encounter such people on a daily basis, and that you can attest to the fact that withholding permits from law-abiding citizens does nothing to prevent criminals from carrying weapons themselves. As you are aware, men and women intent on committing felonies are not concerned with obeying state laws on concealed carry.
He then details what he did to obtain the records necessary to apply for concealed carry and the large amount of personal information that he provided to the government.
And yet, after all that, you denied my application for a CCW without giving any reason or justification — nothing but a verbal notification. None of the criminals who carry weapons illegally and have the power to directly threaten my life and the lives of my friends and family have followed any of these procedures, and nothing substantial prevents them from carrying.
Nothing you or your officers can do will protect me if I am faced with an armed assailant, because no assailant will assault me in your presence. It is little comfort to me that you may possibly catch him after the fact, because I’ll already be kidnapped, injured, or dead. By your direct and individual action you have withheld from me the power to defend my own life, and have forced me to become a victim-in-waiting for anyone with criminal intentions. You have condemned me to be the prey of every miscreant, thug, gangster, drug dealer, robber, kidnapper, and outlaw our society produces. By the very fact that I respect the law, you have enslaved me to the worst of humanity.
I’ve always wondered why so many of the people who claim the War on Drugs is a joke because we’ll never be able to win think stricter gun control is important. Isn’t a big pro-drug argument that by legalizing some drugs the demand and use will go down? I don’t believe that for a second, but I don’t understand why so many of the same folks turn around and say we need stricter gun control. What’s more dangerous to society? A desperate heroin addict or a law-abiding citizen like Mr. Williams. I realize that those are two opposite ends of the spectrum, but it’s a valid question.
How many people go through the trouble that Mr. Williams went through? And, if denied, how many would abide by the decision and not carry? Especially if they believed that their safety was in question?
I don’t know the details of either Mr. Williams’ situation or the police department’s decision. But it certainly doesn’t sound like Mr. Williams got a fair shake on this one, and this type of thing is going to dissuade some folks who are considering applying for permits. That’s not to say it’s going to dissuade many folks from carrying, mind you, just applying for permit.
And the ones that it does dissuade from both applying and carrying? The most responsible, safest, trustworthy folks out there. Those aren’t the ones to take guns away from, are they?
UPDATE: Checking the trackbacks on the post, I’ve noticed a couple of good links.
absque cum injuria notes:
Courtesy of Hawthorne Police Chief Stephen Port, I can now rest assured that Michael Williams will not shoot me on public streets.
The Interocitor writes:
I wonder how many permits have been issued in Hawthorne, out of how many applications, and if this data is available through the Freedom of Information Act. I also wonder if an independant appeals procedure is in place. Looking over these opinions, though, I think Michael might want to talk to a lawyer, which I am not.
And some of the comments are enlightening. Like the guy who wrote
If I were to take a live, armed weapon and carry it on my person, in public, it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation. To know that I carried an instrument of sure and certain death on my person, available and ready to be pulled out and used at a moment’s notice to possibly kill…a child. A homeless person. An innocent.
He then goes on to explain that he’s never felt a need to protect himself, so why should anyone else have a right to. Another (who may be in law enforcement) writes that carrying a gun doesn’t really protect you at all, and that you and those around you would be safer with a tazer or knife. He then writes
I have carried a legally concealed weapon for years, throughout California, including L.A.
I’m not pro-gun. I’m pro-choice.