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Friend or FOE? A look at the sometimes strained relationship between police and CCW.

ON JANUARY I, IOWA WENT FROM A "may issue" to a "shall issue" state, meaning police could no longer deny a concealed-carry weapons application, as long as the applicant met the stated requirements. Second Amendment advocates in that state worked hard for the new law and were understandably glad when it went into effect.

But less than two months later, these same advocates were upset with Marion, Iowa, chief of police Harry Daugherty. Daugherty sent letters to 300 local business owners, urging them to ban concealed carry by displaying signs reading, "Notice, No Weapons Allowed." With each letter, the chief even included two door stickers which read just that.

"Although it is not mandated, I strongly encourage you to ban weapons from your premises as it will make both our jobs easier," Daugherty's letter read in part.

"What we didn't like about it is him proactively distributing those stickers and spreading that fear and those doubts about concealed carry," says Sean McClanahan, president of Iowa Firearms Coalition. "When the truth is, there's nothing to be afraid of from the law abiding who carry."

Police opposition to CCW has played out before. When CCW comes to a state or, in the case of Iowa, the carry restrictions are greatly eased, some police oppose it--claiming that Wild West shoot 'em ups will ensue.

However, the same police are later forced to admit that CCW creates few problems--and certainly not "blood in the streets" scenarios. Which, all in all, is a testament to the millions of responsible citizens who have and use CCW permits.

Police as a whole do not oppose CCW. In fact, a National Association of Chiefs of Police postal survey from 2010 asked its members: "Would general recognition throughout the states of CCW permits issued by a state, in the way drivers' licenses are recognized throughout the country, facilitate the violent crime-fighting potential of the professional law enforcement community?"

Of survey respondents, 77 percent said, "Yes." Apparently, these law enforcement professionals have a high opinion of CCW and feel national recognition of state permits would be a plus.

"We've had support both from individual chiefs and sheriffs and from associations for CCW," says John Frazer, director of the research for the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action. "In some cases, they supported it from the beginning; in other cases, they simply admitted after the fact that the laws had worked well."

More than two decades ago, CCW was on the legislative agenda in Florida, and some in law enforcement predicted dire consequences. Yet, since 1987, the state has issued a whopping 1.935 million CCW permits (not all, of course, are still current), with nary a problem.

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In April 2004, Ohio's current "shall issue" law went into effect--but not before a host of law enforcement officials warned of shootouts in the streets and vigilantism.

The reality? Five years and more than 100,000 new CCW permits later, Lima Police Department's Maj. Kevin Martin told the Lima News, "Experience has proven it has not created any problems."

Currently, Ohio has 246,760 regular CCW licenses valid statewide.

Maybe the situation is best summed up by Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association and a senior corporal with the Dallas Police Department. In 1997, White said:

"I lobbied against the Texas concealed carry law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict ... All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. I think it has worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I'm a convert."

And what about today, over a decade since he made that statement?

"CCW has not been a problem," White says. "It seems to work quite well."

Compiled by J. SCOTT RUPP
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Title Annotation:SPEEDLOADS
Author:McCombie, Brian
Publication:Handguns
Date:Aug 1, 2011
Words:634
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