I'll leave aside the argument that politics is irrational, as it therefore becomes idiotic to argue about it. It is an awfully convenient way to avoid having to support your argument with any empirical data. It seems to me that if you are going to argue for restricting a basic constitutional right, you need to have some pretty hard data to support that. Clearly the data does not exist. When you can't support your argument with facts, I guess we are left with battling with perceptions. And of course perceptions differ, and they are immune to being disproved with facts.
Here is my perception, FWIW. I got a permit. When people find out I have a permit, they don't think it is as weird to have a permit because I am only a little weird. My wife has a permit. She would not have gotten the permit if there was a bunch of training required. She rarely carries. I worked hard to get her a gun that is simple to use, because clearly she was not going to spend a lot of time training. Now my wife is not weird at all. It totally changes people's attitude towards concealed carry when they find out she has a permit. They think it is for normal people, not freaks like you guys.
And, most importantly, when my wife travels alone she can carry a gun. I don't know for sure how effective she would be fighting off an attacker, but I'm sure she would not be any less effective. That is pretty important to me, more important than the public's perception or politics.
I really don't get the 'people are too stupid to make the right decisions' school of political thought, where perception is more important than facts. It seems to have a pretty strong following in conservative circles. I suppose doom, gloom, skepticism and futility comes naturally to the conservative mind, as well as the belief that the people can't be fully trusted. That is not all bad. But as gun owners, I think we generally want to trust people to do the right things with guns. The evidence shows that they can be trusted, even with pro forma training like Utah requires. I'm tempted to make the same arguments again on this, but I'll wait for some hard data which shows that more training leads to a statistically significant decrease in firearms misuse. I expect I'll be waiting for a while.
And I am again tempted to go over the argument again that appeasing gun haters does not do any good, but I will wait for examples of when this has ever worked.
I think it is very telling that when I say that my state keeps liberalizing our gun laws, fiddletown says:
Where and how. In a few state, perhaps. But there sure hasn't been any recent great rush to liberalize gun laws in the majority of states.
Perhaps fiddletown has never seen the map showing the astounding expansion of shall issue CCW. Perhaps he has not read about the great gun rights victories we have made in those states. Two-thirds of the state's attorney generals support the incorporation of the second amendment. That is the first time a majority of states have supported a restriction of their own power. Just look at the legislative actions from states where there is shall issue CCW; the direction is almost always in favor of gun rights. We have even had major victories at the federal level: the gun industry was protected from frivolous lawsuits and we will be able to carry in National Parks for the first time since the Roosevelt administration.
Gun ownership was headed for extinction before liberal shall issue concealed carry came along. Polls show that there have been major shifts in public opinion in favor of the right to bear arms, and that shift happened as liberal shall issue concealed carry spread. Support for gun rights has increased most rapidly in those areas with liberal permit process. Check out Pew's polling data. It used to be that twice as many people who thought controlling guns was more important than gun rights; now the numbers are about the even. And we of course have more power because we have more dedicated fanatics than they do. We have had a real turnaround on the public's attitude towards guns in the last 20-30 years, and I think there is a pretty clear relationship with the timing of that and liberal concealed carry.
To the extent there is a perception about liberal CCW in states that have it, the perception seems to be it works great.
Even fiddletown agrees about the efficacy of liberal CCW laws in protecting gun rights when he says that:
How have the gun laws been liberalized in Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts or New York recently?
Of course they have not been liberalized in those states fiddletown. What do those states have in common? Concealed permits are hard (or impossible) to get. Those states that issue permits all require lots of training. How is support for gun rights going in those states? You prove my case. The harder we make it to carry, the less support there will be for gun rights. Your "perception"/appeasement argument is not supported by the facts.