December 11, 2009 – the Law Center is pleased to present America Caught in the Crossfire: How Concealed Carry Laws Threaten Public Safety, a brochure examining the public safety risks created by weak laws governing the concealed carrying of firearms in public places. The brochure provides an overview of the wide range of carrying laws across the country, highlights emerging policy issues, examines research on the use of firearms in self-defense, considers the impact of the Second Amendment, and provides common sense policy recommendations to reduce the risks created by permissive carrying laws.

As explained in America Caught in the Crossfire:

  • State concealed carry laws (commonly known as “CCW” laws) vary widely. In some states, individuals must demonstrate a justifiable need to carry a concealed weapon. The vast majority of states, however, do not require “good cause,” and mandate the issuance of a license to anyone who meets minimal requirements.
  • Most existing CCW permitting schemes are full of dangerous gaps, allowing too many people to carry weapons in too many public places.
  • Contrary to the claims of the gun lobby, research shows that permissive CCW laws do not decrease crime. In fact, these laws may increase crime.
  • Federal legislative proposals that would require states to recognize other states’ CCW permits interfere with a state’s ability to set strong permit requirements. Only persons who qualify for and acquire an in-state permit should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon within a state.
  • The Second Amendment presents no barrier to strong regulation of concealed weapons.
  • States that choose to permit the carrying of concealed weapons may adopt common sense policies to reduce the risks created by permissive CCW laws.

Click here to download a PDF of America Caught in the Crossfire

America Caught in the Crossfire is a publication of Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a public interest law center dedicated to preventing gun violence. Some other of our publications include 10 Myths About Gun Violence in America, The 2009 California Report: Recent Developments in Federal, State and Local Gun Laws, Gun Regulation and the Second Amendment, and Regulating Guns in America — An Evaluation and Comparative Analysis of Federal, State and Selected Local Gun Laws.

The Law Center’s Supplemental Materials on Concealed Carrying:

  • Recent legislative developments impacting the carrying of firearms
  • “Carrying Concealed Weapons,” a chapter from the Law Center’s 2008 publication Regulating Guns in America: An Evaluation and Comparative Analysis of Federal, State and Selected Local Gun Laws
  • State firearms law summaries containing concealed carry laws for all fifty states
  • “The Law Center’s Statement on U.S. Senate’s Defeat of Dangerous Concealed Weapons Legislation,” issued on July 22, 2009
  • The Law Center’s Second Amendment materials, including post-Heller litigation analysis
  • Additional statistics and polling data on the carrying of concealed weapons

Additional Resources:

  • The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s resources on Guns in Public Places
  • The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s list of “Mass Shootings by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders in 2009”
  • Concealed Carry Killers,” a Violence Policy Center project documenting killings committed by concealed handgun permit holders identified through news accounts from May 2007 to the present