First let me say that Plaxico screwed up royally, and will pay the price for it. Even in Texas and Florida, it is illegal to carry a gun into a bar or nightclub, even if you have a permit to carry concealed. Yes, gun laws are far tougher in New York and New Jersey (so tough in fact that few if any people own guns; it's too difficult to get Statepermission to buy and own one), but I bet you anything that if the same situation had happened to Terrell Owens here in Texas, the DPD would have matched the response time of NYC's finest.
I however wish to comment on some blatantly uneducated statements you made in this column. First of all, Plaxico would have had to have been an absolute genius to be able to successfully "work the safety on his pistol". A Glock, after all, does not have a safety switch; its safety mechanisms are totally internal and cannot be actively engaged. The number-one safety system of any firearm is the shooter, specifically his or her adherence to the four rules of gun handling, the two applicable ones here being "treat every gun as if it were always loaded" and "keep your finger off the trigger until you wish to fire at a target". As far as how all this could have happened if Plax had a Florida concealed weapon permit, I can only assume Plax's blood alcohol level was highly contributory to the situation. It is a universal truth that guns and alcohol, just like guns and cars, do not mix.
Second, you seem to think that the police exist to protect you. That is not the case and has not been for a long time. The Supreme Court has ruled many times that the police do not have any sworn duty to protect any one person. Their job is to keep the peace, and enforce the law. If you are shot by a burglar in your own home, you can't hold the police responsible for "failing to protect you". And at some level, you recognize this; you bought a .22 and kept it around for your wife's use, "just in case". You realize that the police cannot be everywhere all the time. Next time you're walking around downtown or in a shopping mall, keep your eyes peeled for police officers, and more specifically, keep track of the time in which an officer is NOT within sight. As long as you cannot actually see a police officer, the police will not be able to intervene quickly enough on your behalf to save you, or even catch the bad guy, should you be mugged, assaulted or shot. It's a sobering realization, and the reason that "gun lovers" carry however and wherever it is legal to do so.
Third, the idea that Plaxico should have hired a couple of bodyguards if he felt he needed protection may be plausible, but your implication is that nobody needs a gun; we can all rely on a security guard (the overwhelming majority of which do not carry weapons) or a personal bodyguard. This appears to be a common thread among wealthy gun control advocates; stars like Oprah and Rosie have the gall to say that guns should be banned while being flanked by armed men.
Fourth, your statistic of the Florida concealed weapon permittees' crime rate. You say that in the past 12 months, there were three unlawful killings for which permittees were convicted. The worst case scenario for my argument is that those three killings are the only homicides committed in Florida. If that were the case, the Attorney General would be getting a medal. Obviously it is not. I do not have accurate Florida crime data handy, but since you're equating the two states in terms of their lax gun laws, I do have data for Texas permittees. In 2006, the most recent year with complete data, CHL holders, who represent just over 1% of the population, were convicted of only two-tenths of a percent of all crimes committed in Texas. If CHLs were as crime prone as you infer, those numbers should at least match; one percent of Texas residents committing one percent of the crimes. In reality, the gun-carrying community as currently exists is four times LESS likely to commit ANY crime. The crime most CHLs were arrested for? I'm ashamed to say it, but it'sDUI. Even then, theoverall residentpopulation of Texas is arrested4 timesmore often for that same crime.
You would argue that a CHL holder knows what he's doing; he's been through a class and a qualification. I agree, but that by no means infers that those who do not have a CHL do not know the same things. In fact,I would consider it a grave personalinsult. I am a responsible gun owner. I am well-versed in Texas gun law, basic tactics, conflict resolution, and practical ability. I could, right this moment, pass the written test and practical qualification (frankly, it's not difficult).I simply do not feel like paying the government around $250 (the highest overall cost of any state which issues concealed carry permits non-discretionally; so-called "shall-issue" policy) to get government permission to protect myself. So, I protect myself where I am allowed, and lobby to protect myself in more places without needing special permission.
Lastly, if you'd rather be blissfully ignorant of the fact that any given person around you is a CHL holder, does that also mean you'd rather be blissfully ignorant of the man behind you in line who is concealing a weapon WITHOUT a permit because he's about to rob the store? Ignorance is not bliss; you have definitely demonstrated your ignorance of many things in this article, yet you do not seem to be blissful about it. Criminals conceal their weapons just as lawful CHL holder do. Why? Becauseaconvicted felon isnot supposed to have them, and because they're banking on the element of surprise to startle people into doing what they want. However, criminals also do not like a fair fight. If there is the possibility of resistance,someone intent on committing a crime will more often than not choose a different victim or locale.An openly carried weapondoesn't just present the possibility of resistance, it guarantees it. Such is the deterrent effect of an openly carried weapon, and whenever you see one you should feel very safe; at that moment, you are the least likely to be the victim of a crime that you will be in your life.