Since 2007, nearly 700 people nationwide — including 17 law enforcement officers — have been killed in non-self-defense incidents by people with permits to carry concealed weapons, reports the Violence Policy Center, a gun-control advocacy group.
These statistics do not reflect the vast majority of people who legally, and responsibly, carry concealed weapons. Still, they are a caution to lawmakers who continue to eviscerate already-anemic restrictions on gun ownership and use.
The gun lobby and its lapdogs in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Congress have beaten back nearly every effort to enact reasonable gun safety laws, including comprehensive background checks. For them, the answer to gun violence is more guns and fewer restrictions.
Every law-making session brings more misguided attempts to weaken gun safety laws. In Pennsylvania, Act 192 took effect in January, inviting any gun owner or gun group to challenge any local gun ordinance. The National Rifle Association quickly took advantage and filed lawsuits against ordinances in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Lancaster that went beyond state law.
On Capitol Hill, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has introduced a bill that would mandate a national concealed-carry policy requiring all states to recognize gun carry permits from other states, even if those states have weaker gun safety laws. That not only violates common sense, but also a state’s ability to decide how to protect its citizens. The bill would hold hostage states with stronger gun laws (Pennsylvania, for instance) to those with weaker ones (such as Florida).
Ordinary citizens, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, are sick of gun violence and the misguided policies that help perpetuate it. Their elected representatives must stop chipping away at gun safety laws that protect everyone.