The Right To Feel Safe

From Dan Baum’s Happiness Is A Worn Gun:

…my friends who are appalled at the thought of widespread concealed weapons aren’t impressed by this argument, or by the research demonstrating no ill effects of the shall-issue revolution. “I don’t care,” said one. “I don’t feel safe knowing people are walking around with guns. What about my right to feel safe? Doesn’t that count for anything?”

Robert Bork tried out that argument in 1971, in defense of prosecuting such victimless crimes as drug abuse, writing in the Indiana Law Journal that “knowledge that an activity is taking place is a harm to those who find it profoundly immoral.” It’s as bad an argument now as it was then. We may not like it that other people are doing things we revile—smoking pot, enjoying pornography, making gay love, or carrying a gun—but if we aren’t adversely affected by it, the Constitution and common decency argue for leaving it alone. My friend may feel less safe because people are wearing concealed guns, but the data suggest she isn’t less safe.