This thread is all over the place; so I'm going to try to offer some perspective. I am a huge advocate of the 2nd Amendment and have concealed handgun licenses from Florida and Pennsylvania.
The comment about not being able to take a gun across state lines without registering it is false. Absolutely false. Only NJ, NY, MA, IL, HI and CA and maybe one other state require registration.
Over 40 states do not require the registration of handguns.
49 states issue permits to carry handguns; 41 of them issue based on objective criteria.
Handgun permits rarely cover rifles or shotguns, almost always it is you may carry a handgun.
Carrying a gun puts you on another level. You have to be twice as responsible; brandishing handguns is illegal. You pull your gun only when there is a threat to your life. Nothing else.
The Florida State Police released a study that you are more likely to be bit by an alligator than attacked by a person with a concealed handgun license. Texas reported that less than 1% of permit holders committed any type of crime.
I do think it is inappropriate to lump those who would protect their own lives and those of their fellows in with the perpetrators of these crimes. Perhaps in the cities Scharnhorst frequents, criminals respect gun laws and do not present a threat to the disarmed citizens. But I doubt it. If there are people who cannot see the difference between an armed criminal and a hard-working railroader just trying to do his job, that is certainly part of the problem.
"Vigilantes hellbent on self-defense" ? Why, then, do crime rates fall when citizens arm themselves? Because criminals are too cowardly to risk an encounter with someone who will protect themselves. If you are carrying a concealed weapon, you'd better be hellbent on self-defense. Statistics show that when an armed citizen pulls a gun on an assailant, even if he doesn't use it, it costs that person an average of $50,000 in legal fees to defend himself for protecting his own life. Is your life worth $50,000? It is worth much less to the bad guys.
This is spot on. Criminals don't obey gun laws; in fact, in the Supreme Court case of Haynes vs United States (1968) the Supreme Court ruled requiring criminals to register guns (in states that require it) amounts to self incrimination. Yes, criminals are exempt from the very gun laws that are designed to stop them.
Armed Citizens are not what you need to be concerned about; criminals are.
There is a lot of misinformation out there; the media and various anti-2A groups love to spread half truths and distort facts.
I used to be anti-2A until I read this book and really thought about the facts.
This is the book: http://gunfacts.info/
It is not published by the NRA, or the Brady Campaign; it is just facts, academic facts.
I usually CCW when I am rail fanning, so long as the state allows it.