By: Warren Gray
Copyright © 2021
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…Such laws make things worse for the assaulted, and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 1774, Commonplace Book.
Considerable progress has been made within the Right-To-Carry (RTC) movement this year, with five more states, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah, adopting permitless, “Constitutional-Carry” laws, which allow responsible, law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Vermont has always had Constitutional Carry, leading the way for other states to follow, and now there are an unprecedented 21 states that no longer require gun permits!
Alaska passed permitless carry in 2003, then Arizona in 2010, and Wyoming in 2011. Louisiana just passed its own similar legislation (Senate Bill 118) this year, but Governor John Bel Edwards (Democrat) vetoed it on June 24th, with many of the liberal, Louisiana mayors calling it a ‘dangerous’ bill, so there are still stubborn roadblocks to success in these vital endeavors.
In fact, Fabian Blache, Jr. (Democrat), Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police (LACP), stated that, “If anybody can (carry concealed), they’re going to be popping off in a heartbeat. Those kids who’ll be able to put one under their clothing…it’s going to create more shootings.” Meanwhile, his own son, Fabian Blache III (Democrat), Executive Director of the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners, already faces 13 serious allegations of nepotism, and financial and sexual misconduct, and is currently under investigation by the State Inspector General and the Metropolitan Crime Commission, in a 95-page report, for additional corruption, threats, and unprofessional behavior. Sound familiar, almost like a Biden family scandal?
In the September 2021 edition of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) American Rifleman magazine, Jason Ouimet, the Executive Director of their Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), wrote that: “It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans truly began to be recognized in the modern era…Florida kicked off the movement to promote Right-to-Carry (RTC), with the 1987 passage of a ‘shall-issue,’ permit law…The gun-control vitriol was unbelievable. Anti-gun lawmakers claimed passage of the law would lead to blood in the streets…Not only did they fail to stop passage of the law, but their doomsday predictions never came to fruition.
“Anti-gun lawmakers and their supporters in the media said law-abiding gun owners could not be trusted, and tragedy would follow. Time after time, those tactics failed, and the dire predictions failed to materialize…There is also not a single academic study that claims Right-To-Carry laws have increased crime rates…By 2011…the majority of those states had a ‘shall-issue,’ permit system, where a citizen could only be denied a permit because of something specific on her or his record. In 2013, Illinois joined the ranks of ‘shall-issue’ states after being forced to adopt the law by an NRA-supported, legal challenge…Illinois became the 42nd state to enact ‘shall-issue,’ leaving only eight states with ‘may-issue’ systems. That’s an amazing turnaround in roughly 25 years.
“Law-abiding Americans may need to carry a firearm for personal protection without the burden of a permit…(and) shouldn’t have to wait to exercise their rights. After all, a right delayed is a right denied. Permitless, concealed-carry for the law-abiding citizen just makes sense, and states where respect for the Second Amendment remains high have been coming to realize that…Together, we’ve accomplished a tremendous amount, but there’s still much more to do.”
Here’s what happens in states that do not honor Right-to-Carry (RTC) legislation. There are currently eight “may-issue” states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, all of which are ultra-liberal, Democrat-controlled states. Interestingly, half of these same eight states (New York, Massachusetts, California, and Delaware) currently rank among the top 12 “Rudest States in America,” according to a recent survey, with New York in the #1 rudest spot in the entire nation. I was stationed in New York state for two years, some time ago, so I have personal experience regarding those survey results.
Now, I live in the highly-restrictive, “blue” state of Maryland, which currently has a Republican governor, Larry Hogan, but 62 percent of voters here are Democrats, and only 36 percent are Republicans. The Maryland Senate consists of 32 Democrats and 15 Republicans, and the Maryland House of Delegates is comprised of 99 Democrats and 42 Republicans. The official, Legislative Partisan Breakdown record for the state shows very clearly that the legislators have voted 100-percent Democrat on virtually every legislative issue, steamrolling over the state Republicans and the governor every single time.
Maryland residents must provide a “good and substantial reason” to be granted a concealed-carry permit, and “self-defense” is absolutely NOT a “good and substantial reason.” Even though I’m a military-officer retiree with extensive, firearms training and a distinguished, blemish-free record, I was informed in writing that, “You failed to meet a requirement and/or are prohibited by law...You do not have a good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun.” Since my only stated reason for the application was “self-defense,” the State Police was essentially telling me that self-defense with a firearm is illegal in the state of Maryland. In fact, the Constitution of Maryland contains no provision for protecting the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms.
The issuing of concealed-carry permits is entirely discretionary for state (Democrat) officials, and of an overall population of 6.06 million people, only 14,298 Marylanders have been issued permits, which is less than one-fourth of one percent. It’s exceptionally noteworthy to point out that Maryland’s extremely-restrictive, gun laws have been twice ruled unconstitutional by federal, district courts, in March 2012, and again in October 2013, but in both cases, the state of Maryland subsequently found liberal judges to overturn the two separate rulings on appeal. A similar, 2019 lawsuit challenge (Whalen vs. Handgun Permit Review Board, which I wrote about for Gunpowder Magazine) was dismissed on appeal. That’s their standard tactic, endless appeals, which works every time, and they certainly know that. At least four more lawsuits by the pro-gun, Maryland Shall Issue lobbying group remain active.
So, what have all of these extraordinary restrictions actually done to reduce crime? Nothing whatsoever. In fact, crime continues to increase by leaps and bounds. In 2021, Maryland ranks #12 for violent crime among the 50 states, and is listed as the 31st safest state in the nation, hardly a comforting thought. Nowhere is this problem more evident than in the crime-ridden, Democrat-controlled city of Baltimore, where Democrats (including Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison) outnumber Republicans by 10 to one, and where racial tensions and rampant corruption run especially high. And by the way, Maryland’s “rudest city,” by a substantial margin, from the same, previously-mentioned survey, is (you guessed it!) Baltimore.
Mayor Scott reportedly has a 33-page, “Baltimore City Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan,” a five-year strategy for the future, but the plan does not even remotely attempt to estimate the cost of these alleged reforms, which would amount to “tens of millions of dollars,” according to Scott, or how they will be financed. Furthermore, Baltimore has repeatedly failed to carry out past plans, such as Operation Ceasefire, usually blaming financial restrictions, or lately, COVID-19, for their inaction. The mayor also says that he’ll appoint a task force to find ways to reduce the BPD budget over the next five years, essentially to gradually “defund the police.”
Baltimore has very serious problems, to be certain. It’s one of 15 U.S. cities (including Philadelphia, with a 38-percent increase in homicides within the past year alone) targeted by President Biden in June 2021 for “gun-violence reduction,” to provide additional funding through the American Rescue Plan. But, at the same time, there are very vocal, outspoken calls, even from the mayor himself, to “defund the police,” the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) has 392 police-officer vacancies (is it any wonder why?) and 14 detective vacancies, and the police commissioner has begged for help in the form of 100 federal agents to assist the city police with their work.
The City Council recently voted unanimously against a $22-million, supplemental payment to cover police overtime expenditures, but this was partly because several members of the department’s elite, Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) were indicted in March 2017 on federal charges of robbery, theft, and extortion. The officers were charged with stealing thousands of dollars in fraudulent, overtime money.
Former, Baltimore police officer Larry Smith noted in 2018 that, “The ease with which overtime fraud was committed and the fact that neither the city nor BPD took any substantive measures to prevent it always amazed me…mainly because of the lack of oversight and safeguards…So, overtime fraud was as easy as grabbing a pen, and filling out a slip, and finding a supervisor willing to approve it. If your supervisor was a part of the scheme, as was the case in the GTTF, then that made overtime fraud easier. I have also driven patrol cars that had bumpers held together with duct tape, or broken seats where someone shoved a milkcrate behind to keep it upright. Burned-out headlights and tail lights were also commonplace.
“Little of the BPD’s huge budget appeared to go toward keeping BPD’s technology current…the Baltimore police union…blames the current, overtime expenditures on ‘mismanagement’ by commanders and the ‘ineptitude’ of previous, city leaders…(They have) an abysmal, public-safety record at a cost of over a billion dollars, a budget that continues to rise with no discernible momentum in crime reduction…every so often peppered with the latest installment of outrage-inspiring insanity…as it is overrun with corruption scandals and cannot even account for its patrol numbers.” Ouch!!
Meanwhile, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (Democrat) no longer prosecutes certain, low-level offenses, and lacks a plan for how the city should deal with drug offenders and sex workers on the streets, which badly affects business owners in many parts of the city. She and the mayor have both said that they want to “re-imagine” policing in Baltimore. Mosby and her husband are currently the subjects of an active, federal investigation for three years of unpaid, federal taxes and various violations of state law related to her political campaigns. Investigators have sought a wide range of business and campaign records. Hmm, more outrageous, Democrat scandals and corruption. Is anyone really surprised?
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (Republican) has duly noted that, “We can’t defund the police, which is the mayor’s plan. We have to invest more in our police, and…we have to have a prosecutor that’s willing to prosecute crimes.”
In 2019, Kay Coles James, president of the highly-respected Heritage Foundation, wrote that, “About the crime, poverty, and despair in Baltimore...Liberal policies have failed the people of Baltimore and inner cities everywhere...For decades...(they) have delivered policies that actually increase crime, degrade educational standards, and make it harder to get work.
“Crime is allowed to fester. When police and prosecutors don’t pursue and punish smaller crimes, criminals remain on the streets and graduate to more serious crimes until things spiral out of control...Baltimore’s homicide rate outpaced all major cities in 2017. In 2018, it had the highest overall crime rate out of the 30 largest cities in America...The left has tried decades of its experiments with miserable results.”
As of 2021, Baltimore had the second-highest, per-capita (57 murders per 100k residents), homicide rate in the entire nation, with the highest actual number of murders (348 last year), recently outpaced only by St. Louis, Missouri, with 60.9 murders per 100k residents. And Missouri currently ranks as the 42nd safest state in the nation. Baltimore’s 2021 Crime Index rating is “2,” meaning safer than just two percent of U.S. cities, or conversely, 98-percent unsafe. These are definitely NOT reassuring statistics.
What is extremely telling is that the three safest states in the country this year, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, all have permitless, “Constitutional Carry” in effect, meaning that ordinary citizens may carry concealed firearms without a permit. I just vacationed in central New Hampshire, a wonderful, peaceful state, this past June, and personally observed no crime in effect, not even jaywalking. Their bold, state motto, since 1945, is, appropriately, “Live Free or Die,” for the #1 safest state in the nation.
At least 21 states have now adopted Constitutional Carry, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota (for ND residents only), Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming, and for the most part, their crime rates are lower than in other states, since criminals know that virtually anyone may be armed at any time.
It’s incredibly ironic that in states where Constitutional Carry exists, the crime rate is normally so low that you don’t really need to carry a firearm, but in high-crime, “may-issue” states like Maryland, where you do need a firearm for protection, its prohibited by law. I possess a Utah, non-resident, concealed-carry permit (for the past nine years), which is valid and honored in 37 states, including every state bordering Maryland, but not in my own state. How crazy is that?!
It’s now abundantly clear that RTC legislation works, and truly reduces crime, whereas exceptionally-strict, Democrat gun laws actually encourage criminals, who know that their potential victims are legally unarmed. But the Democratic, gun-control agenda has nothing whatsoever to do with actually reducing crime, and everything to do with piecemeal attempts at gun registration and confiscation.
Looking all the way back to the Revolutionary War and the founding of the United States, the genuine, root cause of the very first shots fired at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, had nothing whatsoever to do with “taxation without representation,” or most other excesses by King George III. What really happened was that the British forces arrived to confiscate guns from the rebel militia in Massachusetts.
British Lieutenant Colonel (later a major general, in 1779) Francis Smith of the 10th Regiment of Foot (Infantry) shouted, “Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!” and immediately fired his pistol. So, the famous, fateful, “shot heard ’round the world” that led to the founding of our great nation was actually the direct result of a blatant, gun-confiscation attempt. As Sir Winston Churchill duly reminded the British House of Commons in 1948, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Warren Gray is a retired, U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism, and is an NRA member. He served in Europe and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, and four college degrees, including a Master of Aeronautical Science degree, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author and historian. You may visit his web site at: warrengray54.vistaprintdigital.com.