Democratic double standard on guns hurts the poor

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When it comes to voting, Democrats see free ID cards as too burdensome on the poor.

But there’s no hesitation to impose fees, expensive training requirements, ID requirements, and onerous background checks on prospective gun owners.

Recently, the Texas legislature passed a bill reducing the fee for a five-year concealed handgun permit to $40.

The current fee of $140 is one of the highest in the country. The bill has come up twice in the state House, and only 32 percent of Democrats voted both times to lower the fee.

{mosads}No Republican opposed the fee cut. If the legislation was up to just Democrats, the bill wouldn’t have come close to passing. The Connecticut state government already charges $70 in initial fees for concealed handgun permits. Now Governor Dannel Malloy is fighting to raise that to $300.


With local fees, fingerprinting, and training costs, the total cost of getting a permit will be over $500. PIus, a $300 renewal fee will be required every five years.

In 2013, all but two Democrats in the Colorado House of Representatives voted against a Republican amendment to exempt impoverished individuals from a new tax on private transfers of guns.

Since Democrats are normally eager to support exemptions for lower-income people, this appears to be a case of not trusting poor people with guns.

After the Supreme Court struck down Washington, DC’s handgun ban in 2008, the city quickly imposed the onerous licensing and registration fees in the country.

The total costs come to an incredible $834.

In DC, it costs $175 for a background check to privately transfer a gun. The result is that only the affluent can defend themselves. Democrats must surely realize this.

But the problem isn’t just high fees. Eight heavily Democratic states and DC only offer concealed handgun permits on a “May-Issue” basis, requiring demonstration of need to a local public official.

But only a small number of wealthy, politically well-connected people tend to get these permits. Compared to the 42 states that let people carry once certain objective criteria are met, not only are fewer permits are issued, but those getting them are much less diverse.

New York City permit holders have included Arthur O. Sulzberger (chairman of the New York Times), union heads, Donald Trump, Laurence Rockefeller, Howard Stern, and Robert De Niro.

The poor, even if they are willing to pay the fees, need not apply.

But there is no question that higher fees dramatically reduce demand for concealed handgun permits. Texas has more than twice the population of Pennsylvania, but has 1.15 million permit holders to Pennsylvania’s 1.28 million.

It’s not that Texans don’t like guns — it’s simply that they have a more difficult time getting permits. The fee for a 5-year permit is $140 in Texas, but only $20 in Pennsylvania. Texas also has more stringent mandatory training requirements.

I have looked at 25 years of data on income, permit fees, training requirements, and other regulations. My research examined how these factors affect the number of people with permits. Just an increase of $100, from $40 to $140, would reduce the number of permits by an estimated 50 percent.

The cops can’t be everywhere at once. The police know themselves that they almost never respond to live crime scenes. As officers know, the only solution is to let people protect themselves.

Over two-thirds of published, peer-reviewed studies by criminologists and economists have found that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime in the US. Not a single such study has found that right-to-carry causes an increase in murder, rape or robbery.

If a criminal attacks, having a gun provides the safest course of action. This is backed up by sources such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey.

But gun control advocates seem to think that the poor should be satisfied with dialing 911 and hoping for the best.

Democrats have also been behind nationwide efforts to ban the production of inexpensive handguns. These guns tend to be smaller and lighter, making them convenient for concealed carry.

Though the preferred weapons of some criminals, they are also favored by many permit holders — especially ones on tight budgets.

With the debate in Congress heating up over concealed handgun permit reciprocity, so permits will be recognized in other states just as car driver’s licenses are, the question of who Democrats want to stop carrying guns is central.

Democrats want votes from poor, urban minorities, but they aren’t really looking out for them. These are the most likely victims of violent crime — so why not let them defend themselves and their families?

The result of the hefty fees is that only well-off people will have that protection.

John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author more recently of “The War on Guns” (Regnery, 2016).

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Black voters Democrats Donald Trump GOP Gun Gun control Gun rights John Lott Latino voters Poor Poverty

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