I have long suspected that M.D. Harmon lives in an imaginary world. This suspicion was recently reinforced when he cited imaginary statistics to bolster his argument for eliminating concealed-carry permits. Referring to the five states that currently allow concealed weapons without permits, he wrote, “When you think of places where people shoot each other on a regular basis, you don’t think of Alaska, Wyoming (for residents only), Arkansas, Arizona and Vermont as being violent places” (“Driving is only a privilege, but gun ownership is a right,” June 5).

Let’s leave aside Harmon’s assumptions about which places readers think of as being violent. Let’s also leave aside the fact that, compared to the rest of the industrialized world, Americans shoot each other “on a regular basis” in every state. Here in the real world we have a thing called “data,” which provide a more reliable indicator of which states have high rates of gun violence than does Harmon’s imagination.

The rank of the states he cites in per capita gun deaths for 2013 were first, fifth, seventh, 14th and 34th, respectively.

In other words, the states that allow concealed carry without a permit are largely the states you should think of as violent places, with three of the five falling into the top 15 percent for gun deaths. Alaska, the leader in per capita gun deaths, had nearly twice the national average. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

So why doesn’t Harmon think of those states as being dangerous? He owes readers an explanation of why he didn’t first research the data; or if he knew the truth, why he chose to mislead.

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