An Armed Citizen Might Have Made a Difference in Aurora
Around the State
What happened in Aurora, Colo., could happen in Florida. Fortunately, more than 1 million Florida residents are prepared.
Since 1987, residents of the state have been issued permits to carry sidearms. As of June 30, 1,132,116 people had concealed carry permits in the Sunshine State.
Nationwide, 39 states now issue concealed carry permits, and have seen crime rates decrease.
There are hundreds of examples of ordinary citizens who have saved lives or property. In Jacksonville several years ago, for example, a shotgun-wielding bandit threatening a restaurant waitress was brought down when not one but two patrons drew weapons, and one fired.
As of this writing, all that was known about the incident in Colorado is that some nut began firing into a movie theater, killing at least a dozen people.
What we also know is that the incident will be followed by cries to ban handguns. In fact, the liberal mayor of New York was at it hours after the carnage in Colorado.
Anyone who has read the fine work of John Lott Jr., knows that taking guns away from law-abiding people will mean a better life for criminals.
In his seminal work, "More Guns, Less Crime," Lott documented how an armed population benefits society. This is true even when they don’t act, because the very threat of an armed population is a deterrent to criminals.
Without knowing the details of the Colorado shooting, we can surmise that an armed citizen might have made a difference.
Certainly that would have been the case in a Luby’s restaurant in Texas two decades ago, when a woman saw her mother and father gunned down by a madman – along with 21 others. She had a weapon but, because of Texas law at the time, had been forced to leave it outside in her car that day.
Florida residents can carry their weapons in restaurants and movie theaters, but many places are off limits. These include bars, schools, most public buildings such as courthouses, and polling places.
Even in courthouses, criminals aren’t safe. More than 500 judges carry handguns. One might have come in handy in Jacksonville 40 years ago when a husband chased his wife through the crowded courthouse hallways, blasting away with a gun.
Many retired police officers, private detectives, private security and “repo” men carry weapons as well. Another 944,582 are ordinary citizens willing to protect themselves and others, if possible.
More than 50,000 permits have been issued to residents of crime-ridden Dade County. Perhaps the safest place for a busy criminal is in Lafayette County, where only six permits have been issued, all to security personnel.
In the liberal Utopia that is yet to come, presumably no one will need guns because Mother Government will provide everyone with all they need or want and there will be no need to steal. Meanwhile, rational inhabitants of Planet Earth recognize that crime and evil exist and they resist it when they must because the authorities cannot always be there to help them.
Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.