Under The Gun: Part Three

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There are over 4 million Kentuckians and only 90,000 currently have concealed carry permits. However, some people believe the ability to carry a concealed weapon should be left to a select few.

They argue that carrying weapons such as handguns, switchblades and swords around, puts more people's lives at risk.

Joann Phillips is the State Executive Director of Kentuckians for Crime Victims. She said that although carrying a weapon may seem to give you an edge in protecting yourself, it doesn't

"There is a thought process, if you want to believe there is a process that somone is less likely to attack you if they think you are armed. My thought is they are less likely to attack you if you look able to defend yourself in any way," Phillips said.

Phillips isn't alone. Many Americans believe that carrying a gun only increases the likelihood that an innocent person could be the victim.

"The mere existence of a gun in the home makes the chances of an innocent person being harmed, it increases the likelihood dramatically," Phillips said.

Two-thousand and three statistics from www.bradycampaign.org reveal that there were only 163 justifiable homicides by private citizens using handguns in the U.S.

However, concealed carry advocates feel that the law is just as much about educating citizens on proper gun use as it is about protecting themselves.

"I think the difference is that this is a very stringent, defined course that teaches them to properly use their handguns, to use it at the right time, to use it the right way and also to safely handle that weapon," said Deborah WIlliams, a concealed carry instructor.

Concealed carry license holders have to go through a background check by the state. Next, they go through an eight-hour course on everything from gun cleaning to when and where a gun can be used. Finally, they must complete live shooting exercises. They must hit 11 out of 20 shots on a bullseye thats 21 feet away. Which hopefully makes those who are concealed carry license holders, a safer gun carrier.

"Generally, if you're carrying a weapon and its concealed, its concealed to the other people around you," said Mark Clay, General Manager of The Firing Line, a Bowling Green gun store.

"An untrained user is someone thats more dangerous on the street with a gun and they're carrying it without that whether its properly carried in their car or otherwise," Williams said.

Another issue that has the two sides divided has to do with how much gun laws, like concealed carry, actually affect crime rates.

Williams refers to new FBI studies that find that the national crime rate dropped 38 percent last year, while the number of gun owners increased.

Phillips believes its not having a weapon in self-defense but other factors that affect the crime numbers.

"Where you see crime increase is when you see economically better or worse times. When you see unemployment rise," Phillips said.

The original Kentucky Concealed Carry Law was recently amended to protect anyone who doesn't retreat before using their weapon. Williams said as the years go by, she thinks the bill could see more changes that would offer protection to more people.

For more firearm facts, click here and for a complete look at the concealed carry law, click here.

And for even more information, click the links below:

  • List of Anti-Gun Sites
  • Information on Kentucky State Laws
  • More Information on Concealed Carry Laws