by Maureen Martin
"There is literally living proof in Florida that its concealed carry and other pro-gun laws save lives.
From 1987, when the concealed carry law was passed, until 2006, murder and non-negligent manslaughter rates in Florida plunged 45 percent, to 6.2 per 100,000 persons from 11.4, according to crime rate statistics compiled annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
More people are alive today in Florida thanks to those laws, which kicked off a nationwide trend toward adoption of conceal-carry provisions. Today almost 40 states have followed Florida's lead.
Florida was light years ahead of the federal government. The U.S. Supreme Court just last month — June 26 — invalidated a federal law banning handgun possession within homes in the District of Columbia, a federal jurisdiction. Importantly, the court held the Second Amendment codified a pre-existing, inherent human right to possession of handguns. "The right to self-defence (sic) is the first law of nature," the court wrote, quoting an early American constitutional scholar, and when individuals are prohibited from keeping and bearing arms, "liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."
"The mere potential for an armed citizenry deters violent crime," The Heartland Institute argued in its friend-of-the-court brief it submitted in the case. Heartland cited a prison study in which "approximately 40 percent of the inmates interviewed reported that they chose not to commit a particular crime because they feared that their victim would be armed."
FBI crime rate statistics for Florida prove that point. Every type of serious crime has dropped significantly in Florida since 1987. Burglaries are down 58 percent, robbery is down 47 percent, forcible rape is down 28 percent, and aggravated assaults are down 20 percent.
The data indicates that even the mere possibility that Florida citizens might be armed and therefore have the capability of protecting themselves are deterrents to criminals.
Police can't be everywhere — and courts across the country have ruled that in fact municipal police forces have no duty to protect their citizenry. In the notorious case of Riss v. City of New York, the highest court in the state of New York ruled in 1968 that a young woman maimed and scarred by her boyfriend's hired "thug" had no right to police protection, even though she had repeatedly reported to police he was threatening to attack her.
The dissenting judge wrote, "What makes the city's position particularly difficult to understand is that, in conformity to the dictates of the law, Linda did not carry any weapon for self-defense. Thus, by a rather bitter irony she was required to rely for protection on the City of New York which now denies all responsibility to her."
And, as David Kopel, noted Second Amendment scholar and director of research at the Independence Institute, argued more than a decade ago, "If a gun permit helps a woman feel safe enough to go jogging, her increased sense of security is an important social benefit."
Crime rates are dropping dramatically in Florida, and people undoubtedly feel safer. Florida's pro-gun laws are working."Martin, an attorney, is senior fellow at The Heartland Institute.
Wow. A lawyer making sense.