Friday, December 9, 2005
I grew up in Wisconsin. I am a University of Wisconsin alum, and many of my friends and family live in Madison. I am currently a police officer in South Dakota.
As a police officer, I may legally carry a concealed weapon when I visit my family in Madison. This is a right that should not only be afforded to police officers like myself, but all law-abiding citizens who choose to take on the extra responsibility to keep their families and their communities safe.
In my professional experience in South Dakota, a “shall-issue” concealed-carry state where permits are issued to anyone who can pass a background check, I have never had — nor heard of — any problems with a person legally carrying a concealed pistol. However, I do know of several instances where a legally possessed firearm has saved innocent lives during the commission of a violent crime.
Concealed-carry permit holders act as first responders, as do many ordinary citizens who know CPR, first aid or how to use a fire extinguisher. Their actions are often the difference between life and death. The same holds true for concealed-carry permit holders.
As police, we simply cannot be everywhere — nor would the public want us to be. When most violent criminal acts, including shootings, robberies, rampages and rape, are over within minutes — if not seconds — the response time of police is simply not fast enough. The training individuals will receive to obtain a concealed-weapons permit under the PPA will make them qualified first responders. Like those certified in first aid, we won’t expect them to perform major surgery. But it will be adequate for stabilizing a bad situation until professionals arrive.
Those who oppose this law will try to claim that there will be gunfights, people will look for fights and “blood will run in the streets.” In my professional experience, and after significant research I’ve completed on concealed-carry laws in other states, this is simply not true. In fact, I have not been able to find a single state that has legalized concealed carry in the last 50 years and has turned around and re-criminalized it. In fact, I have found concealed-carry permit holders in most states are far less likely to be involved in criminal activity than other citizens.
I do not believe I deserve special rights because I am a law enforcement officer. I am, and will always be, a citizen first. I believe there are many good members of our communities who are willing to take on extra responsibilities to keep their communities safe and to serve as first responders to stabilize dangerous situations. If they want to step up and be prepared to do their part if it is ever needed, as a police officer, I am thankful for their help.
Adrian Alan is a University of Wisconsin alumnus and municipal patrol officer in South Dakota.
Yes, that IS a gun in my pants, and no I'm not happy to see you.
/1*\ -CY6- M.O.S.S.