Some states finally moving on letting retired police carry guns

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday initiated a state program to license retired police officers to carry concealed handguns, making Maryland one of the first states to implement new federal laws expanding gun rights for retired and off-duty officers.

"This is good public policy that will make a safer state, which is why I am very proud Maryland has led," said Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican.

Surrounded by officers from various local and state law-enforcement agencies, Mr. Ehrlich made the announcement at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 in Baltimore.

The setting underscored Baltimore's high murder rate despite crime-fighting pledges by Mayor Martin O'Malley, a likely Democratic rival to Mr. Ehrlich in next year's governor's race.

Last week, the FBI reported that violent crime in Baltimore increased 4.2 percent to 11,667 incidents in 2004, while the numbers declined in most other cities. . . .

I confess that I have never understood the opposition to letting retired police carrying guns. Many Democrats find this troubling, and I don't understand why they view this as so dangerous. Right-to-carry laws generally reduce crime, and whatever unfounded fears they have about that seem even more difficult to justify with these people. The only explanation that I have heard is the type of reason given by Democrats in Illinois and that is a "slippery slope" argument. If you let retired police carry guns today, tomorrow it will be everyone. I view it in reverse. If there are no problems with citizens carrying guns, how can there be with retired or off-duty police.