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Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027

Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959

November 29, 2003

The "Good" News, The Bad News and The Truth About Concealed Carry Permits
By Aaron Zelman
Executive Director, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.
-- Ayn Rand

You've heard the "good" news about concealed carry permits.

A majority of U.S. states have adopted "shall-issue" permits to carry firearms. All you have to do is take a training course, pay a fee, pose for a photograph, give your fingerprints, and let yourself be entered in a government database. After that, if you don't have a criminal record or a history of mental illness, the government may allow you to carry a tool to defend your life.

And concealed carry of firearms works! Violent crime has been curbed in places where criminals can't guess who's armed.

That's the "good" news.

You've also heard the bad news about concealed carry permits. Consider the following two examples.

A traffic cop stops you for going five miles per hour over the speed limit. To your shock, when he comes to your car window, he not only asks for your drivers license and registration—but orders you to hand over your firearm! He knows you carry, because the data terminal in his squad car told him so. Never mind that your concealed carry permit application was supposed to prove you're a good citizen; your gun is considered a threat to all law-enforcement officers, despite your good character. The policeman keeps your firearm until he's ready to let you go— and maybe even longer.

You're peacefully carrying a picket sign on a public street. You're not raising a ruckus. You're not even "anti-anything." In fact, you're demonstrating in support of American involvement in Iraq. Nevertheless, a police officer singles you out and demands to search your backpack. You protest; there's no justification for the search. But eventually you're intimidated into allowing the officer to paw through your belongings. Later you learn that the only "probable cause" for the search was the fact that you once applied for a concealed carry permit. The information was in a criminal database. You, the law-abiding permit applicant are in a criminal database. You also learn the database has been hacked and information about you and your gun ownership might have been stolen. (

That's the bad news. Now, hear the far more important truth about concealed carry permits.

Ask Your Government Officials Where Their Authority Comes From

JPFO has prepared the following sample letter for your use if you live in a state that issues any sort of concealed carry permit for fireams. The letter asks a question that every legislator or permit-granting official should be able to answer. We encourage you to send this letter to state legislators, your local police chief or sheriff, and other government permitting authorities—then forward their responses to us.

Many people will be afraid to send this letter. They'll fear it will put them into a database of troublemakers. That's understandable. But if you share that fear, once again you should ask yourself why you fear people who supposedly want to protect your innocent life—and whether those people are worthy of your respect or obedience.

Here's the letter. Feel free to adapt it to fit your own writing style and beliefs.

Dear _________:

I am writing to ask you a question about concealed carry permits for firearms. Many people have said it's a victory for gun owners when the government gives people permission to bear arms. There is something I don't understand, though.

Self-defense is the first law of nature. When threatened by a predator, every creature defends itself with the best tools available. (For an animal, that might be teeth or claws, but for humans, it's clearly firearms.) Life comes from G-d, and the drive to preserve life is therefore both paramount and holy.

My question is this: Where did the government get the authority to decide that people are only allowed to defend their lives after paying money and getting the state's permission? G-d never repealed the law of self-preservation, yet by instituting concealed carry permits, it appears to me that the government has said its own law trumps G-d's law and government power trumps the Creator's power.

Can you please write back and tell me where the government got the authority to decide that people who ask permission and pay fees are entitled to a strong defense of life, while everyone else must remain helpless?

If I do not hear from you within two weeks, I will assume that you believe government has greater authority over life and death than G-d has.

Yours truly,

Concealed carry permits, whatever their advantages or drawbacks, are immoral. The ultimate bad news is that when you get a permit to defend your life, you're putting government above the laws of G-d.


Self defense is the first law of nature. Every human—in fact, every living creature—is born with the drive to defend his or her life against predators. Every creature fights with the best tools available to that species—whether that be claws, teeth, or firearms.

Self-defense is G-d's law in action. I certainly never heard that the Almighty repealed it. Have you? Have those of you with concealed carry permits heard otherwise?

Why should you pay the government a fee before you can defend your life? Why should you ask the government's permission before you're allowed to protect your family? Why should we stand for any government telling us, "People who pay a fee and get our permission have lives that are worth defending. Everybody else deserves to be left helpless"?

Yes, yes. We hear all the excuses about how permits are necessary to screen out criminals. But criminals carry guns anyway. They don't care about permits. Permits only constrain people who care about peace, order, and decency.

And remember, courts have judged time and again that you have no right to police protection. You are your first—and often only—line of self defense. The police may arrive after a threat is ended, or even after you are dead. Nothing obligates them to be there when you need them—even if you or your estate can show in court that the police knew you were in danger!

Take away self-defense and every other right becomes irrelevant. If you can't defend your life, or the lives of your family members, then your property rights don't mean much. Nor do your rights to religious observance, free speech, or freedom of the press. Your right to a jury trial or to be free from cruel and unusual punishment are irrelevant if you're dead.

If the state can decide whether or not you can defend yourself, then the state may eventually decide whether or not to let you live. It will also decide what privileges to allow you in the meantime.

All the constitutions, all the amendments, and all the high-flown principles in the world won't change the historic fact that criminal governments are far more dangerous than ordinary street criminals. For further proof of the danger of being disarmed by government, see the film Innocents Betrayed ( or read the book Death by "Gun Control" ( by Aaron Zelman and Richard W. Stevens.

"But," you object. "Concealed carry permits aren't taking away our right to bear arms. They're giving that right back to us! It's ridiculous to make all these dire, dramatic claims when the government is actually encouraging us to defend ourselves!"

Unfortunately, you're wrong if you think that. Dead wrong.

By telling you that you can only defend your life if it gives you permission, the government is conning you into surrendering a right in exchange for a mere privilege. It's a privilege revokable at any time and subject to limits and controls. It's a privilege (as we saw in the examples above) that makes you a second-class citizen and an automatic criminal suspect. In exchange for your trust and your hefty permit fee, you get the privilege of becoming one of society's "undesirables," an automatic criminal suspect—and a person who allows the government to control his firearms.

Remember: By issuing concealed carry permits, the state is telling you that your life isn't valuable enough, isn't sacred enough to protect unless you pay the government money.

Do you agree that your life has so little value? Do you agree that the state has the authority to determine whether you live or die?

The state is trying to overrule G-d, to put itself in the all- powerful position.

Do you agree that the state's wishes trump the Creator's?

No! No sensible person would believe government has more authority than G-d. Yet millions of otherwise sensible, moral people obey an immoral master. In lining up for the photographs, the fingerprints, the databases, the permissions, the permits, they surrender their right to defend life and accept in exchange a fragile, dangerous privilege.

I know many people get concealed carry permits only because they're afraid of what the government would do to them if they had to defend their lives without a permit. But that very fear ought to tell you that something is terribly wrong. Why would anyone ... why would you ... put so much trust in a government that you already know, from your reading of the daily news and of history, will hurt innocent people?

Think. Think and be free. Do not turn your back on G-d in order to bow to man. Ask yourself: Wasn't your "permit" already placed in your hands and heart at birth? Should you settle for less?

The Liberty Crew

* We have spelled G-d this way because in Judaism, it is considered disrespectful to speak or write the Creator's name outside of sacred settings.

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