As Mark notes, permit-holding (concealed or open-carry) gun owners hardly ever shoot anyone. This is one reason the issue is fairly far down my list of insomnia bait. Almost everyone is armed with a deadly weapon a lot of the time anyway, and almost no-one up and runs down people with his car. Violent gun crimes seem to be almost entirely committed by unlicensed gun possessors, which means the folks who can legally pack heat don’t do anything with it.
What I don’t understand (echoing a commenter on Mark’s post) is why more than a tiny number of eccentric people would want to carry more than a pound and a half of metal they will never actually use even to brandish, much less to shoot someone (and if all you intend to do is threaten, a plastic fake is cheaper and less burdensome to carry around). Hardware that might be useful, I understand: a laptop, a flashlight, a Swiss Army knife with everything, a bottle of Marie Sharp’s chili sauce, even a crescent wrench and a couple of screwdrivers – but a firearm?
Take one to the range or the field where you’ll actually fire it, spend an evening cleaning it and reading catalogs thinking about how just one size larger would be heaven, these I can understand. But carry around, to Starbucks and the laundromat? It’s like putting a paper yellow pages in your briefcase, or a timing light just in case you come across a car that needs tuning. A handgun is really a considerable piece of freight, granted that I resent my cellphone and my fairly small laptop, and constantly prune my key ring of doodads I can do without.
Are there people out there who had to submit to an armed mugger once and expect to get the drop on the next one? I don’t see how that’s a reasonable expectation unless one walks around with the gun drawn, or has made daily life an exercise in constant alertness appropriate to a stroll into an Afghan village, punctuated with constant quick-draw practice that cuts into stuff that actually makes life worth living, like coaching little league or grilling ribs in the back yard for your friends. Is it good for picking up girls? Better than an iPod full of really cool music (or a guitar and being able to play it)? My experience is that women generally don’t like guns, but perhaps there are a lot like Bonnie Parker and I don’t move in the right circles. (I know there are women who like to carry guns, but they are very few and I don’t think there’s a meme of getting hotter guys because you have a Glock in your purse. )
I don’t care enough about this to do actual research, though I hope for enlightening comments, but wanting to schlep something as useless as a handgun everywhere and then actually doing it is one of life’s little mysteries for me. Go figure.