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Violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws severely limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense. (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1992) -

The total Violent Crime Rate is 26% higher in the restrictive states (798.3 per 100,000 pop.) than in the less restrictive states (631.6 per 100,000).

The Homicide Rate is 49% higher in the restrictive states (10.1 per 100,000) than in the states with less restrictive CCW laws (6.8 per 100,000).

The Robbery Rate is 58% higher in the restrictive states (289.7 per 100,000) than in the less restrictive states (183.1 per 100,000).

The Aggravated Assault Rate is 15% higher in the restrictive states (455.9 per 100,000) than in the less restrictive states (398.3 per 100,000). Using the most recent FBI data (1992), homicide trends in the 17 states with less restrictive CCW laws compare favorably against national trends, and almost all CCW permittees are law-abiding.

Since adopting CCW (1987), Florida's homicide rate has fallen 21% while the U.S. rate has risen 12%. From start-up 10/1/87 2/28/94 (over 6 yrs.) Florida issued 204,108 permits; only 17 (0.008%) were revoked because permittees later committed crimes (not necessarily violent) in which guns were present (not necessarily used).

Of 14,000 CCW licensees in Oregon, only 4 (0.03%) were convicted of the criminal (not necessarily violent) use or possession of a firearm. Americans use firearms for self-defense more than 2.1 million times annually.

By contrast, there are about 579,000 violent crimes committed annually with firearms of all types. Seventy percent of violent crimes are committed by 7% of criminals, including repeat offenders, many of whom the courts place on probation after conviction, and felons that are paroled before serving their full time behind bars.

Two-thirds of self-protective firearms uses are with handguns.

99.9% of self-defense firearms uses do not result in fatal shootings of criminals, an important factor ignored in certain "studies" that are used to claim that guns are more often misused than used for self-protection. Of incarcerated felons surveyed by the Department of Justice, 34% have been driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens; 40% have decided against committing crimes for fear their would-be victims were armed.


With adoption of CCW by Arizona, Tennessee and Wyoming in early 1994, 19 states have CCW laws requiring the issuance of permits to carry concealed firearms for self-defense to citizens who meet fair and reasonable state standards. Vermont, which ranks near the bottom in violent crime rates year-in and year-out, allows firearms to be carried concealed without a permit.

In recent years NRA successfully fought for the adoption of favorable CCW laws now on the books in Florida (1987), Idaho (1990, amended 1991), Mississippi (1990), Montana (1991), and Oregon (1990). In recent legislative sessions, proposals for similar CCW laws have progressed in Alaska, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

Anti-gun forces oppose CCW with a variety of arguments, ranging from deliberate misrepresentations of commonly available crime data to "studies" pretending to show that private ownership of firearms leads to death and injury rather than providing protection to the owner.

Firearms ownership opponents claim that "violent crime" went up in Florida since that state enacted CCW legislation in 1987, a misleading statement for multiple reasons: Florida's homicide rate has declined 21% since adopting CCW in1987.

No comparison of aggravated assault, robbery, and rape (99.3% of Florida violent crimes) beginning before 1988 is valid,according to the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement. In 1988,Florida changed its method of compiling crime statistics.

In Florida, as in the U.S., more than 70% of violent crimes do not involve guns. Violent crime rates, therefore, don't necessarily reflect violent gun-related crime trends. According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Reports (1992), nationwide firearms were used in the four violent crimes that make up the total "Violent Crime" category, as follows: Aggravated Assault (58% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in 25%; Robbery (35% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in 41%; Rapes (6% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in an estimated 5%-10% (survey data); and Homicides (1% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in 68%.

In Florida: Aggravated Assaults (64% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in 25%; Robberies (30% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in 37%; Rapes (4% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in an estimated 5%-10% (survey data); and Homicides (0.7% of violent crimes) -- firearms used in 61%.

Anti-gunners cite "studies" they claim show that firearms kept at home are "43 times more likely" to be used to kill family members than be used for self-defense. (Other "studies" claim different ratios.) The 43:1 claim, based upon a small-scale study of Kings County (Seattle) and Shelby County (Memphis), is a fraud, because it counts as self-defense gun uses only those cases in which criminals were killed in the defender's home.

Approximately 99.9% of all defensive gun uses are not fatal shootings, however -- criminals are usually frightened off, held at bay, or non-fatally wounded. Also, many defensive firearms uses occur away from home. Further, suicides were counted as "family member killings" in the "study," elevating that number more than 500%. Unfortunately, some of these "studies" are funded with taxpayer dollars, through grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Four Commandments of Firearm Safety
  1. Approach all firearms as though they are always loaded, at all times.
  2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  3. Always keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on a recognized target and you are ready to shoot.
  4. Always know your target, what’s around it, and what’s behind it.

What is the Eddie Eagle Program?

The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program teaches elementary school children four important steps to take if they find a gun. These steps are presented by the program's mascot, Eddie Eagle, in an easy-to-remember format consisting of the following simple rules:

    If you see a gun:
  • STOP!
  • Don't Touch.
  • Leave the Area.
  • Tell an Adult.

This program, specifically designed for young children from pre-kindergarten through six grade, was developed through the combined efforts of such qualified professionals as clinical psychologists, reading specialists, teachers, curriculum specialists, urban housing safety officials, and law enforcement personnel.
The Eddie Eagle Program is used by schools, law enforcement agencies and other groups and organizations concerned with the safety of children. Materials available through this program include student workbooks, 7-minute animated video, CD-ROM, instructor guides, posters, and student reward stickers.
We are committed to helping keep America's young children safe. In efforts to do so, we offer our program at a nominal fee. Schools, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, daycare centers, and libraries are eligible to receive free materials in limited quantities on their first time order. Grant funding is also available in many states that will cover the cost of all program curriculum materials for these same groups.
The purpose of The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program isn't to teach whether guns are good or bad, but rather to promote the protection and safety of children.
Eddie Eagle neither offers nor asks for any value judgment concerning firearms. Like swimming pools, electrical outlets, matchbooks and household poison, they're treated simply as a fact of life. With firearms found in about half of all American households, it's a stance that makes sense.
Eddie Eagle is never shown touching a firearm, nor does he appear where firearms are being used or sold. He does not promote firearm ownership or use. It is not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufactures or with any businesses that deals in guns and ammunition.

 Don't be a Victim!

While only a small fraction of the material covered in the NRA Refuse To Be A Victim Course, the following commonsense tactics provide a good start for your own personal safety strategy:

Home Security
Plant "defensive" shrubbery around your home, especially beneath windows. Bushes with thorns or stiff, spiky leaves are not good hiding places for criminals. When moving into a house or apartment, always change or re-key the locks. Otherwise, the previous resident - and anyone they supplied keys to - has unrestricted access to your home.

Phone Security
Consider keeping a separate line or cellular phone as a security device. Taking one phone off the hook renders other units on that line inoperable. Using a separate line or cellular phone in your bedroom is a good precaution.

Automobile Security
Use a two-piece key ring with your car keys separate from your other important keys. Give parking valets or mechanics your car keys only. Supplying your entire set of keys creates an opportunity for duplicates to be made. Check your surroundings before getting out of your car. If something or someone strikes you as out of place or threatening, drive away.

Personal Safety
Consider taking a self-defense course. A wide variety of courses are offered for self-defense and each should be considered carefully for relevance to your own situation. The NRA Refuse To Be A Victim Course provides many useful personal-safety strategies and discusses the pros and cons of other training options. These are just a few steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of violent crime. For a more in-depth study of these and other safety measures, attend an NRA Refuse To Be A Victim Course in your area.

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You Don't Know Me, and I Have a Gun!


You don't know me, or maybe you just don't know that you do. I am your neighbor, doctor, clergyman, nurse or just another nameless, faceless stranger in the crowd. I have a state authorized, court issued permit to carry a concealed handgun. I do so whenever possible. Though you don't know me, there are a few things, however, you should know about me.

The local police fingerprinted me. The fingerprint cards were submitted to the FBI and a criminal background check was performed. Before that, I had to pass state and local background checks. I had to present evidence to the state of approved training in firearms laws, safety and marksmanship before my application would even be accepted. I am not a felon, junkie, drug dealer, stalker or even a shoplifter since any number of indiscretions including alcohol or other drug abuse or even simple assault or a restraining order would disqualify me from holding a permit.

My classroom training covered when it is appropriate and legal to even indicate that I have a gun, much less display it or actually use deadly force. Doing so in any circumstance, under which I am not in immediate fear for my life or the life of another, would mean more than the loss of my permit. Most likely, I would also be charged with brandishing a weapon, disorderly conduct and/or assault.

If it was determined that my use of deadly force was not to protect a life in immediate danger, I would probably be charged with second-degree murder or first-degree manslaughter. On top of these, I would also face civil liability. I am aware of the responsibility I bear, and I will walk or run away rather than risk confrontation. I will retreat as fast and as far as possible. I always avoid conflict. I know that should a situation escalate, I could be identified as the instigator and face losing my permit or worse.

Like most people who legally carry concealed handguns, I practice regularly at a range. I am well aware of the laws and regulations affecting me. I am better trained than some law enforcement officers. I am not a non-resident alien. I am a good citizen, and I vote.

Should the need arise, however, I will act swiftly, intelligently and decisively to protect my life and the lives of those around me. Are you still afraid of me?

In my home state of Arizona, not one permit holder has been convicted of a violent gun crime despite more than 100,000 issued permits. Throughout the entire United States, a person with a legal handgun and concealed permit has injured no police officer. A number have, however, been assisted and even rescued by armed, law abiding citizens.

You should feel a degree of comfort knowing that there may be someone nearby with means, motive and training to possibly save your life, or that of those around you. Criminals, on the other hand, should feel fear. They never know if their next intended victim may armed, trained, and ready to effectively defend themselves.

There is no need to fear me, I am just another loyal, law abiding American. You should, however, be very afraid of those who endeavor to turn the entire law abiding population of our great country into defenseless victims. If you feel safer patronizing establishments with a NO GUNS ALLOWED policy, please keep in mind that the criminals don't obey the signs or the laws. That is why we call them criminals.

Criminals know that the law-abiding customers of that establishment are easy prey, and will have little to no fear of the consequences of their actions. The hallways and parking lots of these establishments might just as well post a sign saying...

 Airline Transportation of Firearms

To answer questions new airline security procedures have raised for NRA members transporting firearms in their checked baggage, NRA-ILA staff contacted the Office of Security Regulation and Policy at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can transport a firearm in your checked baggage subject to state and local restrictions, but you should first check with your airline or travel agent to see if firearms are permitted in checked baggage on the airline you are flying. Ask about limitations or fees that may apply at this time. NRA-ILA is working toward achieving uniformity and fairness in the rules and regulations that law-abiding gun owners face in their travels. Firearms carried as checked baggage must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container and declared to the airline at check-in. Only the passenger may have the key or combination. Small arms ammunition must be declared to the air carrier and placed in an appropriate container: "securely packed in fiber, wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition." Under TSA regulations, ammunition may be packed in the same locked container as the unloaded firearm, but airline rules may differ.

Some airlines, as private businesses, have imposed additional restrictions or requirements, such as limiting the number of guns that can be transported in a single case, or providing different standards under which gun cases may or may not be exempt from excess baggage limitations. Especially for international flights, many airlines follow industry guidelines that limit ammunition to 11 lbs. per passenger.

Again, NRA-ILA is working to secure fair and uniform rules. Following Congress’s mandate that all checked baggage must be screened for explosives, many travelers have become concerned by announcements that passengers should leave bags unlocked to allow hand inspection. This suggestion, the TSA made clear, does not apply to baggage containing firearms. All gun containers must still be locked after they are declared at the ticket counter. Checked bags—including those containing firearms—will then be screened for explosives by various means. Depending on the airport, methods may include high-tech "sniffers" that analyze chemical vapors, X-ray machines, trained bomb detection dogs or a combination of these systems. Not all of these methods can differentiate explosives from the gunpowder residues on a fired gun or in loaded ammunition.

If the screening detects explosive materials other than those associated with ammunition, or if screeners can't determine the exact nature of the alarm, and if all means available (such as X-rays) cannot rule out the possible presence of explosives, TSA screeners, working with airline representatives, will make every effort to contact the passenger so that the passenger can supply the key or combination to open the case, eliminating the need to break locks. Cases will not be labeled as containing firearms. That practice was outlawed almost 10 years ago. Federal law now states: "No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm." [18 USC Sec. 922(e)] TSA will warn any airline that is marking cases that it is in violation of the law.

As always, since some airline counter clerks may have little training or experience in these procedures, gun owners should contact the airline in advance, obtain a written copy of the airline policy from a reservation clerk or the airline's website, and bring it to the airport in order to answer any questions that arise at check-in. For further information, see:

Click here to download an MS Word file that shows most airline's firearm rules.

18 USC Sec. 922(e)] It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, to persons other than licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, or licensed collectors, any package or other container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is being transported or shipped; except that any passenger who owns or legally possesses a firearm or ammunition being transported aboard any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in interstate or foreign commerce may deliver said firearm or ammunition into the custody of the pilot, captain, conductor or operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of the trip without violating any of the provisions of this chapter. No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm.


Five Rules for Concealed Carry

  1. Your concealed handgun is for protection of life only.
    Draw it solely in preparation to protect yourself or an innocent third party from the wrongful and life-threatening criminal actions of another.
  2. Know exactly when you can use your gun.
    A criminal adversary must have, or reasonably appear to have:
    1. the ability to inflict serious bodily injury (he is armed or reasonably appears to be armed with a deadly weapon),
    2. the opportunity to inflict serious bodily harm (he is physically positioned to harm you with his weapon), and
    3. his intent (hostile actions or words) indicates that he means to place you in jeopardy -- to do you serious or fatal physical harm.
      When all three of these "attack potential" elements are in place simultaneously, then you are facing a reasonably perceived deadly threat that can justify an emergency deadly force response.
  3. If you can run away -- RUN!
    Just because you’re armed doesn’t necessarily mean you must confront a bad guy at gunpoint. Develop your "situation awareness" skills so you can be alert to detect and avoid trouble altogether. Keep in mind that if you successfully evade a potential confrontation, the single negative consequence involved might be your bruised ego, which should heal with mature rationalization. But if you force a confrontation you risk the possibility of you or a family member being killed or suffering lifelong crippling/disfiguring physical injury, criminal liability and/or financial ruin from civil lawsuit. Flee if you can, fight only as a last resort.
  4. Display your gun, go to jail.
    If you "brandish" your weapon, you should expect to be arrested by police at gunpoint. You may be charged with a crime anytime your concealed handgun is seen by another citizen in public, regardless of how unintentional or innocent or justified the situation might seem, unless you live in an "open carry" state such as Arizona. Choose a method of carry that reliably keeps your gun hidden from public view at all times, if this is the case. Obviously if you live in an open carry state, your firearm may be visible and no charges will be filed unless it is brandished.
    You have no control over how a stranger will react to seeing (or learning about) your concealed handgun. He or she might become alarmed and report you to police as a "man or woman with a gun." Depending on his or her feelings about firearms, this person might be willing to maliciously embellish his or her story in attempt to have your gun seized by police or to get you arrested. An alarmed citizen who reports a "man with a gun" is going to be more credible to police than you when you're stopped because you match the suspect's description, and you're found to have a concealed handgun in your possession.
    Before you deliberately expose (brandish) your gun in public, ask yourself: "Is this worth going to jail for?" The only time this question should warrant a "yes" response is when an adversary has at least, both ability and intent, and is actively seeking the opportunity to do you great harm.
  5. Don't let your emotions get the best of you.
    If, despite your best efforts to the contrary, you do get into some kind of heated dispute with another person while you’re armed, never mention, imply or exhibit your gun for the purpose of intimidation or one-upmanship. You’ll simply make a bad situation worse -- for yourself (see rule #4).

The Brady Bunch Visits Wonderland Once Again
By Erich Pratt Commentary
January 20, 2004

The Brady Campaign has asked us to believe the impossible ... yet again.

Every January, the gun control group issues a state report card, giving each state a grade on the basis of their gun laws.

But one look at their report card reveals that the grades have nothing to do with how safe people are in the state.

The Brady Bunch would have us believe many impossible things. But here are six for starters.

First, the group gives Vermont a grade of D- because, supposedly, the "state's weak laws make it too easy for criminals, the mentally ill and juveniles to get guns."

But this statement is laughable, for crime in Vermont is virtually non-existent. Just last year (2003), Vermont earned the Safest State in the nation award from the Morgan Quitno Press -- a group of statisticians who rank each state according to its safety record.

The Green Mountain State has consistently had one of the lowest crime rates in the nation, as they have earned this "Safest State" award three times in the last ten years.

The real reason the Brady Bunch doesn't like the state of Vermont is because it has relatively few restrictions on firearms. In fact, anyone can carry a gun in the state without first getting a permit or submitting to a government background check.

Which is why the folks at the Brady Campaign also gave Alaska a low grade. The Land of the Midnight Sun is now following in Vermont's footsteps -- having passed a law last year allowing citizens to freely carry firearms without first obtaining government permission.

The Brady Bunch doesn't like this at all. They awarded a D- to Alaska -- the second unbelievable grade -- and sentenced the entire state to the "time-out chair."

No, that's no joke. Their press release says that Alaska was "put in the Time- Out Chair for passing a new law that allows people to carry concealed handguns without even having a permit. Gun violence in the state could increase ...."

Yeah, right. A look around the nation shows just the opposite: crime dramatically INCREASES in places that give criminals a safer working environment.

Just look at Washington, DC, which has seen its murder rate increase 51 percent after imposing its draconian gun ban in 1976. Meanwhile, the murder rate decreased 36 percent throughout the entire nation during that same 25-year period.

There's a lot of "impossible things to believe" in this Report Card. But very quickly, here's four more.

FBI statistics showed last year that the states which enjoyed the lowest murder rates earned grades of D or D- from the Brady Campaign. New Hampshire, North Dakota and Maine have murder rates that any state or country could only dream about.

But the Brady Bunch suggests that these would not be states where you would want to live, because they are not keeping kids "safe from gun violence."

Again, these states have the lowest murder rates in the country. Doesn't that count for anything?

Finally, the Brady Bunch awarded Maryland one of the highest grades in the nation (an A-), even though they had the second HIGHEST murder rate in the nation.

How can the Brady Campaign give that state an A- with a straight face? The state is not keeping its citizens safe from gun violence -- or any other violence for that matter. But hey, Maryland gets an A-, simply because they have strict gun control laws -- regardless of whether those laws are keeping people safe.

Do you see the irony here? It's a sad thing when people try to push fiction as reality. And that is what the Brady Campaign's Report Card is. It's fiction.

(Erich Pratt is the Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, a national gun lobby with over 350,000 members.)

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