The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 13, 2013

Spear: Do more guns equal more safety or more fear?


It’s also the site of a December 2011 courthouse shooting where a man convicted of sexual assault opened fired on the county attorney, wounding him and two others. Conceal permits went up by 10 percent from 2010 to 2011 in that county and another 6 percent in 2012.

The county where people feel very little need to have a conceal-and-carry permit is Rock County, about as far away from Cook County as you can get, in far southwestern Minnesota. About 1 in 97 people there over age 21 feel the need to be able to carry a gun under their coat. That’s about 1 percent.

For the nine counties of the Mankato region, we seem to feel little need to pack heat.

Sibley County ranks highest in the fear factor among area counties with 1 in every 33 people over 21 having a carry permit. That’s 43 highest of 87 counties. Other area counties rank in the bottom half of all Minnesota counties for conceal-gun ratios per person over 21. Of regional counties, Brown County is ranked lowest at 85th out of 87.

Of course, many area residents have guns in their homes and may thinks this is the main kind of protection they need, though even the anecdotal evidence of home accidents is troubling.

Still, it’s comforting, in an odd sort of way, to know there are not 10 people in a crowded bar in Mankato who could open fire if they felt the need, but only two.

And let’s hope they are both the so-called “good guys with guns” who could stop the “bad guys with guns.” Let’s also hope they feel that way about each other.

Joe Spear is editor of The Free Press. Contact him at or 344-6382.

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