American Inst. of Crim. L.
2 (1911): 92.
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HOMICIDE AND CONCEALED WEAPONS
Homicide and the Carrying of Concealed Weapons¾ The responsibility of the pistol for murder has been much discussed by the press and police officials recently in many parts of the country. The coroner of New York recently reported that the number of homicides in that city during 1910 amounted to 185 or nearly twice as many as were reported in the previous year, and only 77 of the offenders were arrested. One hundred and eight of the killings were done by shooting. The coroner concludes that the trouble is due largely to the ease with which pistols may be purchased and concealed. He recommends that a system of licenses safeguarded by rigid regulations not only in the issuing office, but by stricter regulations of dealers in firearms, be provided, under which the applicant for license would be subjected to the closest scrutiny, and the sale to unlicensed persons practically prohibited. Commenting upon the present evil, the New York Tribune says: The laxity of the present system is sometimes defended by the argument that, pistols being put so freely into the hands of criminals, respectable and law-abiding citizens must be permitted to arm themselves in self-defense. But that logic is topsy-turvy, and if carried to its ultimate conclusion would re-establish in a great civilized city the conditions of a frontier mining camp. The aggressors should be, first of all, disarmed, and those who carry weapons for self-defense would then have no reason for burdening themselves with a too dangerous responsibility.
Commenting on the same subject the New York World remarks that any crank in that city may carry a revolver subject only to the contingent penalty of being found out after the murder has been committed:
"Every man with a loaded revolver on his person," it says, "is a potential criminal, and if he could be sent to' jail for an adequate term some progress might be made in checking the evil and in reducing the number of homicides. But it can never be really ended while it is possible for a boy or man to buy at any pawn-broker's or at a hundred retail shops the weapon with which in a moment of passion for fancied grievance he can take the life of some other human being."
The large number of homicides in Chicago is also attributed, by Chief of Police Steward, to the carrying of concealed weapons. The Chief recently recommended that the practice be made a penitentiary offense and a bill for this purpose was recently introduced into the Illinois Legislature, but it was unfavorably reported by the committee to which it was referred. In many other states, legislation of this sort is now being advocated and everywhere sentiment is spreading in favor of greater restrictions upon what has come to be an intolerable evil.
J. W. G.