Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Change pistol permit policy

Letter: Change pistol permit policy
By Chris Lane, Jack Taylor, Bob Hoskins, Dave Kaufman, John Sackett
Published: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 10:07 AM EDT


Genesee County rarely issues unrestricted concealed carry pistol permits to its residents, effectively barring the right to carry a firearm for personal protection. This is in stark contrast to the policies of the majority of counties surrounding Genesee.

For example, Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Livingston, and Wyoming counties routinely issue pistol permits for personal protection, with Erie County being the sole exception.Genesee County issues permits that restrict firearm use to sporting activities such as hunting, target shooting, or collecting, unless the applicant can show proper justification, such as employment, or a predisposition to targeted criminal activity.Strikingly, individuals who hold an unrestricted permit issued by another county are not restricted when they visit or immigrate to Genesee County, and retain their right to carry a concealed handgun.

These persons enjoy a level of protection that is denied for typical Genesee County pistol permit holders.The result is a stratification of rights; rewarding one class of citizen, while unfairly discriminating against another, based on either a supposed predisposition to victim-hood, or solely on their county of issue.

The current policy is essentially arbitrary and clearly violates the spirit of equal protection under the law.Although crime rates in Genesee County are relatively low, a compliment to the outstanding performance of our local and state law enforcement agencies, it must be recognized that police officer resources are limited. No organization can provide simultaneous protection to all citizens in all areas within our county, and law enforcement is under no legal obligation to provide protection to any particular citizen.Random crime does not target any particular individual, and as such, all residents of the county share an equal chance of being a victim of opportunistic criminals.

Therefore, our citizens deserve the right to defend their person, their family, and their private property using the most efficient means available, a concealed handgun.Concerns about increased violence among citizens due to concealed carry laws have been unwarranted and rigorous studies show that crime rates actually decrease in counties when right to carry concealed laws are adopted.

These studies also confirm that allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms deters violent crime with no increase in accidental deaths.Finally, citizens who are granted conceal carry permits are so thoroughly vetted that they are five times less likely to commit a crime than the average non-permit holder and their rate of criminality is three-fold lower than that of law enforcement officers themselves.

The citizens of Genesee County are no different than our neighbors living in nearby counties, and we deserve the same civil liberties that they enjoy. It is time that the Genesee County pistol permit application process is amended to recognize protection of life and property as proper cause to carry a registered concealed handgun within the county, and such an amended policy should be retroactively applied to current county pistol permit holders upon their appeal.

For more information, or to support this issue, please see our Web site:
Chris Lane
Jack Taylor
Bob Hoskins
Dave Kaufman
John Sackett

No comments: