Let's just say it didn't exactly catch anyone at NRA off-guard, when earlier this week Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center (VPC) raised superficial, misleading arguments in an effort to derail the Thune-Vitter Right-to-Carry permit reciprocity amendment.
When Brady was called National Council to Control Handguns, it called for "a ban on the manufacture, sale, and importation of all handguns and handgun ammunition." VPC, an off-shoot of the so-called National Coalition to Ban Handguns, openly advocates banning the private possession of handguns. And, naturally, both groups have always opposed people carrying concealed handguns for self-defense, Brady going so far as to say that self-defense is not a constitutionally-guaranteed right.
In attacking the amendment, both groups listed a small number of instances in which permit holders committed various crimes over the years, implying that such crimes would be the national norm if the amendment became law—basically the same old "the sky will fall" prediction heard every time a state adopts a Right-to-Carry law.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) complemented the allegation, by making the outrageous claim—and we are not making this up—that if the amendment became law, 16-year-old firearm traffickers would get permits in Vermont (an odd claim since Vermont has no licensing system), and then go to other states carrying large numbers of handguns in backpacks, to be illegally sold to criminals.
Brady and VPC hoped their panic-stricken predictions would frighten senators into overwhelmingly rejecting the amendment. But we were able to show that even if you take the group's lists at face value, they show that permit-holders are much more law-abiding than the rest of the public.
Based upon VPC's list, permit holders are 15 times less likely to commit murder, plain and simple. Try as it might, VPC could come up with only a very small number of criminal homicides committed by permit holders, in situations in which a permit was required to possess a concealed handgun. Of course, VPC did not mention instances in which murders did not occur, because people were able to defend themselves.
Brady's claim is a little more difficult to sort out, only because their list included situations in which no crime was committed, including false reports of illegal carrying, and accidents (some not even resulting in an injury); crimes not involving the misuse of a firearm, such as having a gun in a vehicle operated under the influence, or illegally possessing a firearm or having a firearm in a vehicle in a school zone or other restricted area; crimes not involving a handgun; and crimes that took place in locations where a permit was not required to possess a concealed handgun. Sifting down to violent crimes, with concealed handguns, in locations where a permit was required, permit holders again came out far better than the rest of the public.In the end, Brady's and VPC's efforts had virtually no effect on how the Senate voted. But, like the 10-round (or lower) magazine-capacity limit they support within "assault weapon ban" legislation, and their support for handgun ammunition microstamping and encoding, and "smart" gun requirements, they reminded us that Brady and VPC are handgun-ban groups at their core.