Those with concealed weapons permits are responsible for plenty of accidents, no matter what additional training they have. In Lenexa, Kansas, police say a man with a concealed weapons permit accidentally shot his wife while dining at the Longbranch Steakhouse. He reached into his pocket, accidentally firing his weapon in the process. His wife was hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the leg. (USA Today, 1-9-2013, p. 6A) It could have just as easily been one of the other diners who was shot.
In Florida, a 33-year-old mother wound up dead after being shot by her own toddler with a concealed weapon. The two-and-a-half-year-old somehow accessed the gun and shot his mother. The boy’s father was the one with the permit for the weapon. Though the family of Julia Bennett was suspicious about whether or not this was actually an accident, she was apparently able to place a 911 call explaining what happened before dying. (USA Today, 4-22-2011, p.5A; Maui News, 4-23-2011) It’s either a typical accident or someone trying to cover a murder, but either way, it’s an example of the danger posed by concealed weapons carriers.
In South Carolina, a grandma with a concealed weapons permit was a walking danger to everyone around her. Like many female gun carriers, she kept her weapon in her purse. During a shopping trip to Sam’s Club with her granddaughter, she turned away for a moment, leaving both child and her gun-filled purse in the cart. In that moment of distraction, the 4-year-old found the gun and managed to shoot herself in the chest. (USA Today, 6-10-2008, p. 9A) Yet it could have just as easily been your child who was killed. After all, most kids playing with a gun point it at other children. If your child happens to be standing in the store when another child discovers a concealed weapon, they could just as easily be the one who is shot dead.
Putting the danger posed by gun carry laws in broader perspective
Statistically speaking, gun owners are hundreds of times more dangerous to your child than the registered sex offenders people seem to fear might snatch their child, and this is only taking into account gun accidents. If you factor in all the children slaughtered by “law abiding gun owners” through gun violence, then gun owners are many tens of thousands of times more dangerous.
These stories don’t even get a fraction of the publicity that those once-in-a-blue-moon cases like the abduction and murder of Jessica Lunsford get. But they are happening all the time in neighborhoods all around you. All across the country, guns from concealed weapons carriers are accidentally discharging – in the local Target store, in the doctor’s office, at state fairs. The more people we have carrying weapons around, the more often things like this will happen.
If the path toward safety involves stigmatizing those who might be dangerous and keeping them out of our communities, then gun owners should be subjected to far more scrutiny than sex offenders. If this sounds inflammatory, good! The truth is that more parents and reasonable, everyday citizens need to get mad about this. These are real children, suffering real and tragic deaths, needlessly. They die in service to corporate profit and because of a myth – the myth that having a gun makes you safer. Yet gun advocacy organizations continue to act as if they are the victim. If you’re someone who cares about the safety of children and would be upset at those who kill them, you need to be 10,000 times as upset at gun owners as you are sex offenders. Until citizens start getting more upset about the needless carnage created by guns, we’ll never gain an inch when it comes to creating common sense gun laws.