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Letter: Fear of firearms in parks irrational

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I was disturbed to read Chris Fitzsimon’s Dec. 4 cynical advice about not confronting park-goers who may be legally armed now that H.B. 650 is in effect.

First-off, Fitzsimon seems to suggest that we should be uninhibited entering confrontations. Maybe one benefit of an armed society really is a more polite society if it reduces willingness by those like Fitzsimon to become confrontational.

Second, he seems particularly concerned about carrying firearms around children. I have regularly carried firearms around children for more than a decade and have never once had this proximity result in an unsafe discharge.

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Are More Guns the Answer or More Police Patrols?

If ever more lenient concealed carry laws and gun permits really lowered crime, then explain the dramatic rise in Greenville's violent crime rate between 1995 and 2010? Areas that experienced a rapid decrease in crime during that same time period, such as New York City, did so by hiring more police and putting more cops on the beat. If crime in public parks is really a major problem, the answer is more police patrols, not more citizens carrying firearms. It's East Carolina, not the Wild West.

not more citizens carrying firearms???

When Seconds Count, The Police are Just Minutes Away

You have bad crime rate data...

I get mine here: http://www.ncdoj.gov/Crime/View-Crime-Statistics.aspx The total number of violent crimes reported for Greenville in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010 were 517, 526, 509 and 534 respectively. Clearly there has been no increase in violent crime in our city since "shall issue" laws were passed. When considering the substantial increase in Greenville's population over the same time period (see http://www.clrsearch.com/Greenville_Demographics/NC/Population-Growth-and-Population-Statistics), the rate of violent crime has plummeted - except for within "gun-free" areas like our parks - as indicated in Ginger Livingston's Reflector piece. You need to be more careful to either check your statements, or to quit parrotting lies promoted by those who want the Second Amendment removed from the Bill of Rights. I know that Giuliani was successful in turning-around NYC. It seems as though this was primarily accomplished by pushing-out the lower to middle class. The economic conditions that made this possible aren't available many other places, and so I suggest that NYC is a special case. What about Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC that all have de facto handgun bans? What has happened to violent crime in Miami since "shall issue" passed in FL? The logical conclusion of "adding more police" is to have one assigned to every citizen, which is the only way to ensure that citizens will be adequately defended and at the same time disarmed. This is also absurd, and clarifies the necessity of an armed citizenry for the "security of a free state". Clearly you are among those who wish to have less of a free state and more of a police state. Where have police states increased the ability of citizens to pursue happiness? The "Wild West" comment has be rehashed so many times... This was the excuse given against concealed carry laws to begin with - "blood in the streets", "shoot-outs after every fender-bender", "lead flying through the air". Clearly this was nothing more than "Chicken Little" fear. Using irrational fear as an excuse to deprive free Americans of Constitutional rights has done our nation immeasurable harm. It's time for reason to prevail once again.

It's Not a Second Amendment Issue, It's a Public Safety Issue

I have nothing against the Second Amendment. The Constitution clearly states, and the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed, that private citizens have "the right to bear arms." The issue is whether or not more guns, whether open or concealed, in more places, including parks, really lowers crime. If personal firearm ownership truly increased personal safety, the United States should be the safest place on earth. Instead, the country has one of the highest violent crime rates in the industrialized world. Now, clearly, I am not arguing that the government needs to take guns away from private citizens. I am arguing that as with other rights, such as free speech, there are limits to those rights. If we as a people acknowledge that somebody "can't yell fire in a crowded theater," then gun owners need to realize that the "right to bear arms" comes with reasonable limitations. No guns in parks or schools are two of those reasonable requests. Taxpayers hire police to provide public safety. How about we let them do their job, and keep the guns at home? By the way, according to the FBI's Crime Statistics available at http://www.ucrdatatool.gov, Greenville's population doubled between 1985 and 2009. During that same time period, violent crime tripled.

You miss the point...

if you're not "against the Second Amendment", you clearly are against it being of any use. Why else would you suggest that citizens should "keep the guns at home"? The entire reason the Second Amendment exists is that it is clear to reasonable people (like the Founders) that a free society depends on an armed citizenry. The police are helpful, but can never provide the safety that armed citizens can - and are RESPONSIBLE for providing. Do you know any in law enforcement that are critical of concealed carry? I know many who support it and exactly none that oppose it. The police don't like being the "thin blue line" any more than free Americans should like being disarmed. Why do you insist that this responsibility should be ignored? The "can't yell fire in a crowded theater" argument for limiting First Amendment rights is another old, tired and repeatedly debunked argument. Of course free Americans can yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and it is their right to do so - what if there really is a fire? What you don't have a right to do is lie. Somehow this type of moral responsibility has been lost - even on Presidents. How a complete douche like Clinton has managed to become a "respected elder statesman" is a testament to the crumbling fabric of our society. It's time to repair it - our country depends upon it, and accepting responsibility for our own defense is a step in the right direction. And regarding the apparent conflict between NC SBI and FBI data, let's assume both are correct. The only way for this to be true is that the vast increase in Greenville crime rates that you allude to must have occurred between 1985 and 1995. This was prior to "shall issue" and perhaps increased willingness to pass such legislation.


Why do you perseverate on the fantasy that allowing permittees to carry in parks makes parks less safe? Where is your evidence that any permittee has been unsafe anywhere in NC since "shall issue" passed 16 years ago? All evidence indicates that the EXACT OPPOSITE is true: parks are safer when law-abiding citizens are armed - see the data below regarding criminal behavior being altered by the possibility of encountering armed citizens. Our country can no longer afford indulging the type of irrational emotional responses that anti-freedom advocates have to the thought of armed citizens. It's time to stop trying to justify your "feelings" and deal with the rest of us in the real world.

police can't be everywhere

More police patrols are a good idea, but they can't be everywhere all the time. At some point we have to take responsibility for our own self-defense. The old saying is still true -- "when seconds count, the police are only minutes away."


Criminals fear armed citizens more than they do the police. Research conducted by Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi for a landmark study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice points to the armed citizen or the threat of the armed citizen as possibly the most effective deterrent to crime in the nation. Wright and Rossi questioned over 1,800 felons serving time in prisons across the nation and found that 85% agreed that the "smart criminal" will attempt to find out if a potential victim is armed, 75% felt that burglars avoided occupied dwellings for fear of being shot, 53% did not commit a specific crime for fear that the victim was armed, 57% of "handgun predators" were scared off or shot at by armed citizens, and 60% felt that the typical criminal feared being shot by citizens more than he feared being shot by the police.

I can't remember any of

I can't remember any of Fitzsimon's drivel with which I have agreed. The best article I recall was when the paper got wet and I could not read his whining.

fitzsimon is a leftie

He is a leftie who loves Barbara Striesand and hates guns. Lefties always use the fear of children being hurt to mask their anti-gun agenda. The truth is that they can't tell the truth because nobody would fall for it. They want the citizens unarmed so that it will be easier to take over this country. Keep your hope and change. I'll keep my gun.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart