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michigan: gun deaths drop after more people have guns

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  • Art Corvelay
    this is especially timely in light of dc s upcoming supreme court case. so far dc s best argument is that the constitution doesnt limit states...only the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2008
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      this is especially timely in light of dc's upcoming supreme court
      case. so far dc's best argument is that the constitution doesnt limit
      states...only the federal govt (which is really really stupid)...as
      seen in this article people are afraid of law abiding gun bearing
      citizens for no reason.


      http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008801060602

      Michigan sees fewer gun deaths — with more permits

      January 6, 2008

      By DAWSON BELL

      FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

      Six years after new rules made it much easier to get a license to
      carry concealed weapons, the number of Michiganders legally packing
      heat has increased more than six-fold.

      But dire predictions about increased violence and bloodshed have
      largely gone unfulfilled, according to law enforcement officials and,
      to the extent they can be measured, crime statistics.

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      The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the
      law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the
      previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms,
      including suicide and accidents, also has declined.

      More than 155,000 Michiganders -- about one in every 65 -- are now
      authorized to carry loaded guns as they go about their everyday
      affairs, according to Michigan State Police records.

      About 25,000 people had CCW permits in Michigan before the law changed in 2001.

      "I think the general consensus out there from law enforcement is that
      things were not as bad as we expected," said Woodhaven Police Chief
      Michael Martin, cochair of the legislative committee for the Michigan
      Association of Chiefs of Police. "There are problems with gun
      violence. But ... I think we can breathe a sigh of relief that what we
      anticipated didn't happen."

      John Lott, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland who has
      done extensive research on the role of firearms in American society,
      said the results in Michigan since the law changed don't surprise him.

      Academic studies of concealed weapons laws that generally allow
      citizens to obtain permits have shown different results, Lott said.
      About two-thirds of the studies suggest the laws reduce crime; the
      rest show no net effect, he said.

      But no peer-reviewed study has ever shown that crime increases when
      jurisdictions enact changes like those put in place by the Legislature
      and then-Gov. John Engler in 2000, Lott said.

      In Michigan and elsewhere (liberal permitting is the rule in about 40
      states), those who seek CCW permits, get training and pay licensing
      fees tend to be "the kind of people who don't break laws," Lott said.

      Nationally, the rate of CCW permits being revoked is very low, he
      said. State Police reports in Michigan indicate that 2,178 permits
      have been revoked or suspended since 2001, slightly more than 1% of
      those issued.

      Another State Police report found that 175 Michigan permit holders
      were convicted of a crime, most of them nonviolent, requiring
      revocation or suspension of their permits between July 1, 2005, and
      June 30, 2006.

      But even if more armed citizens have not wreaked havoc, some critics
      of Michigan's law chafe at how it was passed: against stiff opposition
      in a lame duck legislative session and attached to an appropriation
      that nullified efforts at repeal by referendum.

      Kenneth Levin, a West Bloomfield physician, was one of those critics.
      In a letter to the Free Press in July 2001, he referred to the
      "inevitable first victim of road or workplace rage as a result of this
      law."

      Last month, Levin said he suspected "it probably hasn't turned out as
      bad as I thought. I don't think I was wrong, but my worst fears
      weren't realized."

      But the manner in which the law was enacted was nevertheless "sneaky"
      and "undemocratic," Levin said.

      Other opponents remain convinced that it has contributed to an ongoing
      epidemic of firearms-related death and destruction.

      Shikha Hamilton of Grosse Pointe, president of the Michigan chapter of
      the anti-gun group Million Moms March, said she believes overall gun
      violence (including suicide and accidental shootings) is up in
      Michigan since 2001. Many incidents involving CCW permit holders have
      not been widely reported, she said.

      The most publicized recent case came early in 2007, when a 40-year-old
      Macomb County woman fired from her vehicle toward the driver of a
      truck she claimed had cut her off on I-94. Bernadette Headd was
      convicted of assault and sentenced to two years in prison.

      Hamilton said that even if gun violence has ebbed, it remains
      pervasive, tragic and unnecessary. At the least, a more liberal
      concealed weapons law means there are more guns in homes and cars and
      on the street, she said, and more potential for disaster.

      Advocates for the law argue that there is nothing equivocal about the
      experience of the CCW permit holders who have warded off threats and,
      in a few instances, saved themselves from harm.

      In September, a 36-year-old Troy man killed an armed 18-year-old
      assailant who, with three other suspects, attempted to steal his car
      outside Detroit Police headquarters.

      Michelle Reurink, 40, a consultant in Lansing, got her CCW permit last
      year, not so much because she felt an imminent threat to her
      well-being, she said, but because she's a strong believer in the
      Constitution's Second Amendment -- the right to bear arms.

      "The primary reason I got it is because I feel like I have the right
      to have it," she said.

      Still, she doesn't often carry her gun during her daily routine,
      though she takes it when she and her husband go on their boat, she
      said.

      Having the license and a handgun makes her feel more secure in her
      home (where no one needs a CCW license to have a gun), she said. She
      also feels more secure because of the required training, including
      self-defense lessons, she took as part of the license application.

      Mark Cortis of Royal Oak, who conducts concealed weapons license
      training and sits on the Oakland County gun board, said he believes
      the benefits of an armed citizenry are evident in small ways almost
      every day, as permit holders deter trouble and live more confidently.

      "The police just can't protect you," Cortis said. "If you have to call
      911, it's probably already too late."
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