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Violence Policy Center’s License To Kill IV:
In their own words . . . "just more rhetoric"

VPC misinforms public with improper use of statistics, unsupported statements, and outright fabrication to attack the successful CHL law in Texas.

July 2, 2002
From James Dark, Executive Director
Texas State Rifle Association

RICHARDSON, TEXAS and COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Texans often have unusual and colorful ways of dismissing the views of their adversaries in debate. Famed Texas hero Sam Houston once attributed a political opponent’s differing views as being the result of the man’s use of "water as a beverage."

I must confess to having similar thoughts when I recently saw the information released by the Violence Policy Center in its dramatically titled "License to Kill IV." This study uses skewed statistics and misinformation about the Texas Concealed Handgun Law to make the case to the citizens of Ohio and their elected representatives that these laws are a recipe for disaster.

The truth of the matter is that the exact opposite is true. Since the passage of the law, Texas is a safer place. Violent crime is down.

The Violence Policy Center used statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which show the raw number of arrests of Concealed Handgun License Holders since the law went into effect on January 1, 1996. There are a number of significant problems with these statistics:

The statistics used by the VPC are for arrests, not convictions. These arrest statistics were recently compelled by state law to be removed from the DPS website and replaced with CONVICTION rates. To this day, the website simply contains a notice that the mandated information is "coming soon." The VPC is not interested in these new statistics because they will show that only 26% of CHL holders have ever been convicted of the crime of which they are accused, thus making VPC’s small problem even smaller.

By using the number of arrests (as opposed to convictions), 5,314, with no comparison to anything else, they attempt to bring about a knee-jerk reaction because that SOUNDS like a big number. But in fact, when compared to the large number of CHL holders in Texas (about a quarter million), it creates a minute percentage. Further, when compared to the general population, CHL holders are 7.5 times LESS likely to commit a crime than someone without a permit. There is a good reason that this comparison wasn’t made. It doesn’t fit their spin.

The VPC cites figures that CHL holders are arrested at a rate higher than the general population for firearms related offenses. In most cases, if a CHL holder uses a firearm to defend himself, they will be placed under arrest. Even in the most justifiable of situations where deadly force is applied, it falls upon the proper authorities and grand juries to decide if charges will be pursued against a CHL holder. That CHL holders are arrested for weapons related offenses at a higher rate than the general population should surprise nobody. They have a much higher percentage of firearms than the general population. What the VPC will not share with you is how many of these CHL holders have ever been CONVICTED of a firearms-related offense. Again, it just doesn’t fit their spin.

When Texas elected to pass a Concealed Handgun License Bill, it took a great step forward in allowing its citizens to exercise their inherent right to self-defense. The Texas law is one of the strictest in the nation, in regards to the qualifications needed to obtain the license. CHL holders in Texas are among the most scrutinized segment of our state’s population. Licensees have passed state and federal background checks, fingerprint checks, complied with all tax and child support requirements, attend classes and pass a written test on all pertinent state laws, and pass a qualification test to ensure their competence with their weapon. Texas also has the highest licensing fee in the nation, at $140. The required classes focus on safety, responsibility, conflict resolution and use of a weapon as an absolute LAST RESORT.

The VPC also attempts to paint Texas CHL holders as criminals. Karen Brock of the VPC actually states that, "license holders are committing crimes, not preventing them." This statement is utter hogwash. There was never any expectation that every CHL holder would attain an infallible level of perfection and live a life free of sin. The fact that our CHL holders are statistically far safer than the general population speaks volumes about the efficacy of our program.

Brock also has no data to back up her statement that crimes are not being prevented. Normally people calling themselves "analysts" require something called "data." There simply are no statistics kept by anyone on crimes prevented by CHL holders. So how did Ms. Brock come up with this allegation? The answer is simple. In true VPC style, she made it up.

I called Ms. Brock and asked what data she used to support this statement. In the end, she admitted that there was none, and that it was "just more rhetoric." This statement did not surprise me, but I think that it might have shocked those who rely on the Violence Policy Center for their information.

The vast majority of incidents in Texas are resolved without gunplay. Almost without exception, incidents involving CHL holders de-escalate the instant that a handgun is produced. Far from the "rivers of blood" that critics said would flow down our streets, we have in fact had nothing of the sort.

Hopefully, the people of Ohio will see the shenanigans of the Violence Policy Center for what they are and see the true success story of the Texas Concealed Handgun License law. Texas is a safer place today than it was in 1995. Ohio can be a safer place next year if their legislators come up with a reasonable way to allow their law-abiding citizens to exercise their inherent right to defend themselves from criminals.

Contact: James Dark is the Executive Director of the Richardson, Texas based Texas State Rifle Association. For more information on the TSRA, see their website at For more information or to verify the author of this document, call (972)889-8772, or e-mail

Violence Policy Center's history of distorting the truth and outright lying has been well-documented. For more information on these gun-banning phonies, feel free to visit's VPC Archives by going here:


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If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government. — Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist (#28)

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