Why We Should Be OK With the Spike in Gun Permits in Newtown, Conn.

The number of gun permit requests in Newtown, Conn. have increased this year. They have more than doubled over the past two years from 99 in 2011 to 211 in 2013. This is not surprising as gun sales have also increased nationally. People should neither be scared nor overreact to this trend. It does not indicate a continuing problem in America. Rather, it is a display of sensible judgment.

National gun sales have skyrocketed partly out of fear that there will be a ban or further restrictions placed on gun sales. With Connecticut’s new stricter gun laws taking effect, law-abiding gun owners and prospective owners have felt the tide turning against them. Fortunately, there are still states like North Carolina that have adjusted their gun laws instead of just tightening them.

Numerous anecdotes highlight the importance and necessity of lawful civilian gun possession. For example, Suzanna Hupp, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, was unable to protect herself and her family upon being gunned down in a cafe Killen, Texas in 1991. She was prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon, so after instinctively reaching for her gun in her bag, she submitted to fate and hoped she would not be harmed. Had she been allowed to have her weapon, she could have saved the lives of the 23 unarmed people, including her parents, who were killed that day in the cafe. The residents of Newtown see the life-saving possibilities that carrying a weapon around their hometown and country could have.

Have you heard of a mass shooting, or even a single homicide, at a gun shop or gun show? If you ever have, these instances are few and far-between. Criminals and crazed shooters seem to have no motivation to act in these settings, or are deterred because they understand such attempts will be cut short by those who also possess firearms. We should and could not replicate this setting everywhere, but making other settings dangerous for criminals will deter their future crimes.

Gun laws can bring down the number of firearms and perhaps insignificantly affect the number of gun deaths. Enabling people to protect themselves if the need arises is a source of assurance. Suzanna Hupp's example proves that legal gun possession could have saved people's lives. So, while Newtown still feels the sting of tragedy from last year, no one should be upset with these new numbers.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

George Hartmann

Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Class of 2014

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