by Max Brantley
The New York Times examines the rolls of concealed carry permit holders in North Carolina — one of the few states where carry records remain fully open — and finds this in a five-year review of records:
More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.
... More than 200 permit holders were also convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors, including roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults.
In addition, nearly 900 permit holders were convicted of drunken driving, a potentially volatile circumstance given the link between drinking and violence.
The review also raises concerns about how well government officials police the permit process. In about half of the felony convictions, the authorities failed to revoke or suspend the holder’s permit, including for cases of murder, rape and kidnapping. The apparent oversights are especially worrisome in North Carolina, one of about 20 states where anyone with a valid concealed handgun permit can buy firearms without the federally mandated criminal background check. (Under federal law, felons lose the right to own guns.)
Permit holders commit crimes? Why sure, some of them do. In Arkansas, think Randeep Mann, the bomb conspiracy mastermind. Think the guy who shot up the Van Buren
County courthouse (Crawford County) in western Arkansas. Fact is, as the story notes, the gun lobby has successfully worked to put more guns in more hands in more public places. Somebody regularly tries to walk through airport security with a weapon packed in a carry-on bag. More guns also mean more available for theft and misuse. Feel safer?