The Dubuque Times-Herald ran a story today about the process behind issuing concealed carry permits in Iowa. You can read it here if you want, but basically it says that Iowa’s 99 counties have 99 ways of handing out gun permits to residents who want one, and the decision rests solely on the sheriff of that county. That creates disparities, and I know some people here in Linn County who believe that discriminatory. And, really, they’re right. Even Sheriff Don Zeller has said many times that he would support uniform guidelines statewide — the problem is, the legislature has to deal with it, and they didn’t last year given the opportunity.
I used our archives to find out how many people in the surrounding five-county area have gun permits. Linn County has issued the most in the area – roughly 470 – but that’s only about .23 percent of the population. That’s actually higher than a lot of other counties in Iowa. Johnson, for instance, has issued about 200 to .16 percent of the population. Benton County has about .75 percent of people with permits, and Buchanan County with .88 percent. The highest rate is in Jones County, with 1.67 percent. That’s hardly enough people to cause alarm.
After much research, I do have a beef with people who tie lower crime rates to the number of private citizens who are allowed to carry guns. I looked up violent crime rates for all states and compared right to carry states with the remaining 10 states that aren’t. And an in-state example for you: Black Hawk County is among the least restrictive in granting the permits (there were 17 permits per 1,000 adults there, with only about 2.5 here), but Waterloo has more violent crime than we do. But Dubuque also has more crime than we do, and issues very few permits. So, really, the free issuance of gun permits as a crime predictor is questionable.
Has anyone been in a situation where they feel the outcome would have been different if they were allowed to carry a gun? I really do want to know. Even though some people feel I am anti-gun, I merely don’t want one. I don’t feel they are necessary for protection. My basic stance: We need to make sure guns stay out of the hands of criminals, that background checks are done before guns are sold, and that if we’re going to have a “right to carry” state, we need to make sure the people who can carry guns actually know how to use them responsibly through self-defense classes. And that’s all, folks.
Below is the the 2007 violent crime comparison:
|Right to carry states||Population||Violent crime rate per 100,000 residents|
|Low/No permit states|
|District of Columbia||588292||1414.3|