Sample Op-Ed: Mark Rundel in the Springfield News-Leader

The Springfield News-Leader
Commentary Section
May 10, 1998

"Carrying weapon a right for law-abiding citizens"

The April 27 News-Leader editorial ("Let voters defeat gun bill") advocated opposition to the proposal to allow qualified, law-abiding citizens the option to secure a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

For the voters of this state to properly cast their ballots, if permitted to do so, it should be the duty of the media to inform the pubic of the facts. The News-Leader position encouraging the negative votes to this proposal is based on emotions, not supported by facts.

In two unimpeachable studies, one from the University of Chicago and the other from a university in Florida, it has been established that legal concealed carry does not cause an increase in crime, in fact the opposite has been proven.

The Chicago study was based on a county-by-county analysis nation-wide comparing crime rates for those counties where the citizenry can legally protect themselves vs. those where the citizens were denied this fundamental right.

The result of this study determined a lower crime rate in those counties where the public had the right of concealed carry.

Furthermore, despite the oft-feared vigilante, blood in the streets argument, in the 43 other states that provide this protection for their citizens, less than 0.1 percent of the permit holders have had their privilege revoked for improper conduct.

In the instances of crime referred to in the editorial, the News-Leader did not cite a situation where the criminal activity was caused by a concealed carry permit holder.

Alluding to the tragedies that have occurred at schools in Kentucky, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, it was the conduct of individuals who illegally gaily secured weapons and used them illegally. The News-leader is attempting to condemn the law-abiding by reference to actions of criminals.

What wasn't mentioned is that in two of these cases. the crimes were stopped when citizens used their weapons to stop and detain these criminals until the police arrived.

While the idea of a referendum on a basic and constitutional right is philosophically reprehensible, Gov. Mel Carnahan has repeatedly stated he would veto any concealed carry bill that did not contain such a provision. The Second Amendment activists of this state, after seven years of trying to secure legislation, have acquiesced to this political reality to move this issue forward and secure the right of self-protection now.

I sincerely doubt that the News-Leader would tolerate a public vote on the continued acceptance of First Amendment rights.

However, every day concealed carry is denied to the the public is another day unprotected lives are placed in jeopardy. Currently, our state guarantees every criminal that his victim will be unarmed.

It is time we revoke this protection for criminals and secure protection for the law-abiding.

While I may not agree with everyone's religion, I support the Constitutional principle that allows them that freedom.

While I may not agree with everyone's political position, I support the Constitutional principle that allows them to voice that view.

Concealed carry is not for everyone, but for those of us willing to take the training, meet the qualifications and assume the responsibilities, the time has come to allow us the fundamental right of self-protection.

Mark Rundel
Galena

(Mark Rundel is a former prosecuting attorney in Stone County.)

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