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Texans Protect Texans

William Zimmerman
610 Ellen Ct.
Temple, TX 76501
czimmer@wczimmerman.dyndns.org

October 22, 2001

The Honorable Rick Perry
Governor of Texas
1100 San Jacinto St.
Austin, TX 78701

Governor Perry:

An article in Saturday's Star-Telegram concerning concealed firearms in the Capitol has prompted me to write this letter. I appreciate your levelheaded response to what some are calling a "major loophole" in security, and it is my intent to give you the information you need to allay their concerns. I urge you, as Governor of the great State of Texas, to take the leadership role in protecting the rights of your fellow Texans first and foremost, and secondly, to provide the only means to ensure true security in this state.

For your reference, the article can be read here: http://web.startelegram.com/content/fortworth/2001/10/20/state/fw010401-1020-XB005-3.htm

Let me begin by stating that Texas has some of the most thorough concealed carry permit laws in this country. While this does make it difficult to attain the permit, it also shows the caliber of the person's character that obtains it. That individual is screened at the local, county, state and federal levels. If there is so much as a single disorderly conduct on their record, the permit will be denied. This level of scrutiny is found nowhere else but in this process. CHL (Concealed Handgun License for the remainder of this letter) holders are more thoroughly checked than our own police-the same ones that would offer security to the Capitol building. Now, which would you rather protecting you in the Capitol: a handful of lightly screened police officers, or tens/hundreds of model citizens that have been trained in the use of their handguns? Remember, the police, especially in uniform, cannot be everywhere and generally stand out like a sore thumb. But CHL holders are in the crowds, and can be everywhere, and will see an act of crime and act appropriately within seconds. Those seconds, Governor Perry, can be the difference between life and death for the criminal's intended target.

But enough of this, permit me now to list for you known facts concerning CHL holders:

1. The crime rate involving a gun owner with a carry permit have consistently been about 0.02% of carry permit holders since Florida's right-to-carry law started in 1989. (Florida Department of Justice, 1998)

2. The serious crime rate in Texas fell 50% faster than the national average after a concealed carry law was passed in 1995. (Ibid)

3. In Texas, citizens with concealed carry permits are 14 times less likely to commit a crime. They are also five times less likely to commit a violent crime. (Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Census Bureau, reported in San Antonio Express-News, September, 2000)

4. People with concealed carry licenses are:

5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public

13.5 times less likely to be arrested for nonviolent offenses than the general public
(William Strdevant, unpublished study reported in August 2000 edition of Americas 1st Freedom)

5. There are not enough police to protect everyone. Currently, there are about 150,000 police officers on duty at any one time. This is on-duty police. This includes desk clerks, command sergeants, etc. far fewer than 150,000 cops are cruising your neighborhood. There are approximately 271,933,702 people living in the United States. Thus there is only one on-duty cop for every 1,813 citizens! (US Justice Department, 1998)

6. Armed citizens kill more crooks than do the police. Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do every year (1,527 to 606). (Kleck, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, (1991):111-116, 148.)

7. Readers of Newsweek learned that "only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The error rate for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high." (George F. Will, Are We a Nation of Cowards?, Newsweek (15 November 1993):93.)

Governor Perry, this is only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to hard evidence that CHL holders are safe and provide security to those around them. By eliminating the Capitol as a place CHL holders may carry within, you will be creating instead a "criminal-safe" zone. The criminals will know that there will be little to no resistance in that location, and as such, it will become an easy target. I again urge you to uphold your oath of office, and contact Land Commissioner David Dewherst and relay this important information to him. Please feel free to use this information to counter the emotional and irrational arguments brought by some in the legislature to make the Capitol safe for criminals. Instead, we need to look into removing the roadblocks that prevent the citizens of this state from exercising their right to defend themselves regardless of their location. We need to open up more locations where a CHL holder may carry.

Thank you for your time in regarding this important matter. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,


William Zimmerman


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