Why Citizens Want to Carry Guns in Public (CCW)

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Carrying a gun? Around with you? Isn't that kind of stupid... and dangerous? Why does society even allow people to do that?

These are questions that are always raised by someone when the topic of carrying a concealed handgun by law-abiding citizens (CCW).

And while everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, it tends to be best when opinions are grounded in facts. Here are some to consider.

Thirty years after Florida passed their CCW law there are now almost four million citizens legally carrying handguns in 40 plus states.

My state of Indiana has allowed CCW for 70 years, and over 350,000 Hoosiers currently have CCW permits. Indiana has many urban areas such as Gary, as well as more rural areas. In some counties about 10 percent of residents own a carry license.

In my town almost 1 out of every 5 adults has a CCW. As a side note, it is exceptionally easy for a woman to obtain her CCW here. My wife has had hers for many years, and since she often works to midnight it is quite a aid to feeling safe at times.

Nationwide, there have been no law enforcement officials shot by any person with a CCW, no school or church shootings by any person with a CCW, no "blood on the streets", no "Dodge City shootouts", no instances of the guns being taken away and used by the badguys, no rise in accident levels, no prisons full of untrained CCW holders who shot otherwise innocent people willy-nilly, and no examples of children shot dead by CCW holders.

The states with concealed carry permits on average have a revocation rate of less than 0.04 percent. That is four out of every ten thousand holders. In the majority of these cases the revocation is due to a minor technical infraction equal to a traffic ticket, rather than the result of a crime.

We go about our business quietly and calmly, while occasionally defending ourselves against social predators.

Back a few years ago two escaped, very hardcore criminals from Mississippi were roaming loose around our county. They had already been in several running gun battles with the police and had vowed to not be taken alive.

Our then 13 year old was on an overnight trip to a church camp when the badguys were spotted fairly close by. A call went out to all the parents to come and pick the kids up just in case.

My wife and I holstered our legally carried handguns and went to pick her up. We stayed inside providing interior security with a few other also armed adults, and several fathers provided exterior security with long guns. We all stayed until all the kids were picked up.

When we got home our daughter hugged the me and the wife and told us that she was comforted (her word) by the knowledge that we both had our guns with us and could protect her if necessary. I cannot tell you how moving that was to my wife and I.

You see, the comfort is never in knowing that one can take a life with a gun, but the sure knowing that one can save a life with a gun. My life, my wife's, or maybe my daughter's. These are the people I am responsible for.

I know in your heart you believe terrible things might happen if citizens carry guns, but I have one question: Why have none of the doom, gloom, and scary stories you believe might happen not come true in any state that has passed a CCW law? Not one.

It is no longer intellectually honest for you as an informed citizen to continue to falsely believe what "tragedies" might happen - instead, it is the duty of all responsible people to understand what actually has happened. I challenge you to do so.

Here are a number of examples of people who have changed their minds on the issue. Perhaps after reading their comments you'll understand why.

Jack Burton

Indiana

P.S. Steve Chapman, a liberal columnist on the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, took up the challenge. The Trib is perhaps the most gun-hating newspaper in the most gun-hating city in the country, but here is what Steve found out when he honestly looked at the issue of CCW several years ago when Michigan was considering passing a CCW law.

"Michigan's Threat From Concealed Weapons"

Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2001

If you plan a trip to Michigan, you may want to check your life insurance policy, update your will and don your body armor. Come Sunday, unless the state supreme court intervenes, it will start letting residents get permits to carry concealed weapons. Gun-control advocates are braced for the worst. "I can guarantee you that I've honked my last horn at an intersection in

Michigan," former prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson told the Tribune's Tim Jones. A disgusted Oakland County official threatened to put up billboards saying "Welcome to Dodge City." Police groups say their members will be in jeopardy from "more guns in more and more locations."

Of course Michigan is already a risky place to honk your horn. Its homicide rate has long been well above the national average. Detroit currently places third in the ongoing competition to be the murder capital of the United States. And things can only get much worse if lots of Michiganders take to packing heat, right?

The assumption is that if we let ordinary folks arm themselves, they'll soon be blasting away over every traffic altercation or Little League umpiring dispute. Take an ordinary confrontation, add gunpowder, and bad things are bound to happen.

But are they? It's not as though this is a radical experiment that has never been tried before. In fact, some 33 states already have laws making it possible for most citizens to carry a concealed firearm. If allowing this practice leads to anarchy, we would probably have noticed it by now. In fact, serious misconduct by concealed-weapon permit holders is comparatively rare.

In Texas, which has 215,582 licensees, only 178 people have lost their permits due to felony convictions since 1996. Only three have gone to jail for murder or attempted murder. Florida, one of the first states to embark on this experiment, issued more than 72,000 licenses in the past year, while revoking only 241.

Indiana, which has about 350,000 permit holders, canceled 921 last year, or about one-fourth of 1 percent of the total. Maj. Karen Butts, commander of the records division of the state police, says, "I can't think of any that were revoked for a firearms homicide." Among Utah's 40,000 licensees, only five have lost their privileges because of a conviction for murder or attempted murder.

As for Michigan cops who think their jobs will be more dangerous, Yale law school scholar John Lott Jr. offers reassuring news: "There has never been a case where a person with a permitted concealed handgun has killed a police officer."

The Violence Policy Center, an anti-gun group, says Texas effectively furnishes permit holders a "license to kill, and kidnap, and rape, and drive drunk"--noting that hundreds of them have been arrested on various charges. But this proves only that the gun owners in question are endowed with the usual human imperfections. In any group of 215,000 people, you can expect some to run afoul of the law once in a while.

But gun permits don't increase the risk. Notes H. Sterling Burnett, a researcher at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank based in Dallas, "Licensees were 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public."

The experience supports the claim of gun-rights advocates that people who get permits tend to be peaceable sorts. It's not hard to guess why. In the first place, background checks are required, and permits are denied to those with felony convictions (or some types of misdemeanor convictions) and those with a history of serious mental illness. In the second, applicants have to undergo extensive training in safe firearms use.

Rules like those tend to screen out the violent, the lawless and the deranged. Anyone with strong criminal inclinations, after all, doesn't need a permit for a concealed weapon. A lot of crooks make a habit of carrying a piece without asking permission.

Those thugs who live in Michigan aren't any more likely to pack heat if the state issues concealed-weapon licenses. The permits will generally go to upstanding citizens, who aren't likely to resort to deadly force when someone cuts in line at the grocery store. People who obey the law before they are allowed to carry a gun usually obey the law after they are allowed to carry a gun. They aren't out to hurt anyone--merely to prevent anyone from hurting them or their loved ones.

So the new law may pose a threat to those engaged in a life of crime. But other residents of Michigan have no reason to worry. If they're looking for Dodge City, they'll have to go to Kansas.

E-mail: Steve Chapman <schapman@tribune.com>

BTW... Michigan just celebrated it's sixth anniversary of having CCW and, to no one's great surprise, their stats fell right in line with all the other states. The number of people who fell afoul of the law in any way was statistically insignificant

If you've enjoyed this essay I invite you to look around at some of my other hubs about firearms such as Is the damage to society from the misuse of guns worth the freedom to have guns? and Reduce firearm accidents -- The Fundamentals of Gun Safety

More by this Author


Comments 36 comments

Agro Donkey 8 years ago from Ohio

Great hub, strickter gun laws are a joke because most crimanls don't bother to obtain their firearms legally. I hope that you keep writing and great work.


troylaplante profile image

troylaplante 8 years ago from Selma, NC

The problem with CCW is that I had to take a class, get fingerprinted, and pay $90 to exercise my 2nd Amendment RIGHT. Rights do not require permits. Robert A. Heinlein wrote that an armed society is a polite society. http://www.stentorian.com/2ndamend/leaflets/armed....


Bill Gray 8 years ago

This fear of what average, law abiding citizens "might" do with a gun is groundless paranoia.  Every day I pass hundreds of cars on the road.  Any one of those drivers "might" veer into my lane on purpose in a kamikaze attack.  But they never do.   I spend zero time worrying about it because I trust ordinary folks to do the right thing.  When someone somewhere does commit a deliberate attack on other drivers or pedestrians, society "cuffs 'em and stuffs 'em."  We do not wrap all cars in thick layers of bumpers and mechanically limit them to five miles per hour to minimize deaths and damage "for the children."  Perhaps the anti-gunners fear that others might do crazy things if they had a gun because they can imagine themselves doing just that.  Maybe they are the ones who should be barred from having deadly implements-including steak knives, ice picks and baseball bats.  Their groundless fears are evidence of some mental disorder.  Should the mentally ill have drivers licenses?  Who knows what they "might" do?  Keep a wary eye on pedestrians.  You never know why they might be on foot.


Uncle Lar 8 years ago

Own a fire extinguisher?

Carry a spare tire?

How can you stand to live in such paranoid fear?

But I'm just being prudent against the small chance that I need to put out a fire or fix that flat tire. Well, that's how most of us who carry feel. We recognise that the chance of needing that firearm are small, especially if we practice prudent planning and avoid risky territory, but much better to have a gun and not need it than to need one and not have it.

I must mention that I do know of one church shooting by a ccw holder. That would be the one in Colorado Springs where a church member with a carry permit volunteered to work security during the service attended by over a thousand members. A crazy person with a grudge against the church shot two young ladies in the parking lot and was headed into the main building with enough firepower to kill or wound dozens if not hundreds more. The female permit holder was able to wound the criminal badly enough that he took his own life rather than be captured. So, a church shooting by a ccw holder that probably saved hundreds of lives.

And yet there are those among us who would deny the rest of us the means to protect ourselves. Apparently being helpless victims is somehow morally superior in their views to being capable armed citizens.


RG in Arizona 8 years ago

""Gun-control advocates are braced for the worst. "I can guarantee you that I've honked my last horn at an intersection in Michigan," former prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson told the Tribune's Tim Jones""

Well good for Chicken Little L. Brooks Patterson, honking is rather rude anyway, isn't it? Now I am not saying the Chicken Little is lying, but I do think he is telling us things that are not true and he does not believe. I have carried concealed in Arizona for five years now, most of my friends do and I know of no carhorn/intersection problems. Paranoia is a disease, not a policy L. Brooks Patterson.

""Apparently being helpless victims is somehow morally superior in their views to being capable armed citizens."" And that is why we have mental health help for the Chicken Littles. Now we need to work to get rid of the need for CCW licence. That is admitting our Right to KABA comes from the State. But one battle at a time. Good work you do Mr. Burton.


Dustin 8 years ago

Excellent article. I agree 100%. All arguments I've heard against allowing law abiding citizens to carry a weapon for their own self defense in any location have all been baseless & founded in groundless hypotheticals.


joyce 8 years ago

The government wants to disarm the populace. They aren't afraid you will shoot your innocent neighbors....they are afraid you will shoot your guilty elected officials because they know they deserve it.


I Am Santee 8 years ago

Law abiding citizens are still law abiding even when they carry a firearm for their personal protection. This should actually come as no suprise, the surprise should be that all the anti-gun propagantists still propagate the same nonsense even with all the statistics to prove it. The thrust of our society should be the reduction of criminal violence and not the persecution of law abiding citizens. But the thrust of the antigun mentality is found in this statement:

"I don't care about crime, I just want to get the guns." - U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH), 1994.

The article is very good, and more like this should be seen in media across our nation.


bettiegurrl profile image

bettiegurrl 8 years ago from Portland, Or

I dont mind guns at all. I feel the person who wants to carry one SHOULD have to go through firearm safety classes so they dont accidentally shoot someone's toe off. If someone is going to complain about having to go through the hoops to get a concealed weapons permit, they probably shouldnt have one. If I didnt have a child, I would have a few myself. But knowing what I know, it's just not safe for me to own a firearm. Safety first people.


dlarson profile image

dlarson 8 years ago from Priest River, ID

Guns are so easy and safe to use that its nearly a pointless waste of money to take a "safety" course.  Spend an hour at a gun range with an instructor and you'll learn as much or more!

Remember what Stalin did first when he got elected?  Passed gun laws and disarmed the country!  The result?  Over 20 million people massacred.

Remember what Hitler did when he got elected?  Used existing gun registration lists to disarm the country!  The result?  Over 13 million people massacred.  Why didn't he invade Switzerland?  He ordered it, but his generals refused to enter that armed country!

Turkey (1.5 million Armenians)?

China (20 million exterminated)?

Uganda (300,000 Christians exterminated)?

Cambodia (1 million educated people exterminated)?

Realize what Obama wants to do if/when he gets elected?  Pass gun laws and disarm the country!   The result? ... I guess we'll have to wait and see, but given this worlds history of mass murder wherever the populace is disarmed, you can bet it isn't going to be very nice.

Tyrants LOATH an armed populace.  Our founding fathers knew it - that was how we won independance in the first place!


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

I admire your passion on these subjects Jack!, and like Taxes and deaths, guns will always exist!


Kevin 8 years ago

To most people, the idea of self defence is foreign. Since we were children our parents told us to call the police if we needed help. This mindset is sometimes hard to break. So when someone says that they will take care of the problem theirselves, people who only do as they are told can not understand that conspect. There are two types of people in this world, those who call 911 and hope the police show up. And then there is the group who calls their pistol by name, as if it was a trusted friend. And with that friend in hand, the trouble maker will be put down. There is one scentific proven fact, lethal force stops repeat offenders. Its hard for someone to harm anyone else when they are 6 feet under.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

I could go on for pages on this myself, no sense preaching to the choir here. We did just have a traffic shooting on the news last night though. A guy was driving with his two sons and according to witnesses, his car broke down at a signal and was blocking the lane. He waved some guy around who apparently took the man's gesture and broken down car as a form of "dis" and proceded to shoot the man and his sons to death.

Turns out the shooter was a known gang member and chronic dirtbag. I'm betting he didn't have a CCW.


Jerry G2 profile image

Jerry G2 8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

I lived in Alaska for several years, which is kind of unique because of the harsh winters and tough wilderness, but even so the laws there allow you to carry concealed as long as you are not a felon and as long as you don't go into federal parks or buildings. The end result is that considering the extremes of this state, the crime rate is about the same, with most problems occurring from gangs in Anchorage. If anything, you're less likely to pick a fight with a group when everyone has to assume everyone else is armed.

Good article - and thank you for making a very educated lucid argument and not relying on paranoia or mud slinging.


sergiorebelo 8 years ago from Portugal

For me, people having guns is just plain stupid. All the countries with laws that permit people to have guns, have much more violent crimes and gun shooting sthan others. Why should the average citizen have the need of a gun?

 

What we need is security forces that enforce the law and let us live our lives and our businesses without worrying with protection. 

 

I don't want to live in a violent society. I don't even want to worry about that. 

 


seohowto profile image

seohowto 8 years ago from Bay Area, CA

great hub!:)


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

Thank you for writing this hub with a dsitinct argument. I enjoy reading hubs like this where people of different beliefs and backgrounds gather and give their differing opinions; I am often presented with points I never thought about before. Personally, I think CCW is fine; my dad's in the NRA and I've never considered the idea that he and his friends shouldn't have guns because they own them and use them reasonably. My brother and I took classes and everything and it was fine. Knives and other things can be used just as easily, if not more so, as weapons, but there are just things you just can't disallow or limit.


Garry Nelson profile image

Garry Nelson 8 years ago from Hawaii

If you don’t have the right to protect yourself you don’t have any rights.

We used to have neighbors who were against guns but every time there was trouble in our area human or animal they ran to our house for protection. Then when everything was ok again they would lecture us about guns. They didn’t have any problem eating our venison either.


royalblkrose profile image

royalblkrose 8 years ago from florida

Responsible people take classes, protect others and work hard to keep everyone safe. Our current liberal laeaming media machine blows every gun accident out of proportion.

Irresponsible people cause damage get attention and thus stirs the hornets' nest of pro-gun vs. anti-gun sentiment. I beleive in the Second amendment, and if you're part of a state milita, protecting everyone, carry that heater!

It's one of those sad commentaries on life. Do good and you are ignored. Do bad and you get coverage on every media outlet availiable!


John Juneau profile image

John Juneau 8 years ago from Sierra Nevadas

Strange as it seems, we need more people pointing out what should be obvious. Good job!


Kiter profile image

Kiter 8 years ago from Adelaide Hills, Australia

Of course there hasn't been a school shooting committed by somebody CCW, they are school children. THey would just take the weapons off other people.

"no instances of the guns being taken away and used by the badguys, no rise in accident levels, no prisons full of untrained CCW holders who shot otherwise innocent people willy-nilly, and no examples of children shot dead by CCW holders."

How can we verify this? :)

Nice article, although I think you need to back up your opinions with facts.


Jack Burton profile image

Jack Burton 8 years ago from The Midwest Author

Florida, the first state to pass the new wave of CCW laws about 30 years ago keeps a very close view on those same people. Their experience over the past years: Crime rates involving CCW holders has held steady at about 0.02 percent.

Now, that's any kind of crime including cheating on income taxes, which has nothing to do with a gun.

And 0.02 percent translates out to 2 people out of ten thousand.

Actually, out of the half million or so that Florida has issued they have cancelled 109. Virgina has issued about 50,000 and have cancelled none. Arizona has issued about 63,000 and has cancelled none. Of course, since those reports came out they may have cancelled a few, but everyone gets the picture.

In Oregon only 4 people out of 14,000 (0.03 percent) have been convicted of a crime with a gun. In Texas out of a quarter million CCW holders only 100 have been found guilty of a felony (not even necessarily with a gun). Again, that is only 1 people out of every 2500 CCW holders.

And in a column by Stephen Chapman of the Chicago Tribune he wrote:

Indiana, which has about 350,000 permit holders, canceled 921 last year, or about one-fourth of 1 percent of the total. Maj. Karen Butts, commander of the records division of the state police, says, "I can't think of any that were revoked for a firearms homicide." Among Utah's 40,000 licensees, only five have lost their privileges because of a conviction for murder or attempted murder.

BTW... all this can be found in the free download Gun Facts at http://www.gunfacts.info.

If you're truly interested in getting the facts this is the place to go.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Harris and Klebold used a TEC-9- which is considered a CCW- to kill 13 peers at Columbine. I live in Colorado and the thought of that day still nauseates me. Those with high school students who survived that day will never forget- worse for me than 9-11. Terrorists from within... from a peer group... now that's scary.

What are we doing about it? Training kids to carry CCWs just in case? I'm not too wild about that idea.


Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

Was it licensed to the killer? Or obtained by the killer from a person with license?


Jack Burton profile image

Jack Burton 8 years ago from The Midwest Author

Story sez:

Harris and Klebold used a TEC-9- which is considered a CCW- to kill 13 peers at Columbine.

Jack replies:

1) That's like saying, "The bank robbers escaped in a Chevrolet, which is considered a driver's license." A "CCW" is a slang term for a LICENSE that people have to legally carry weapons. Not the "type" of weapon. A TEC-9 is merely a type of handgun, no different from any other except that it is a cheap piece of junk and it's "scary" looking.

2) They also planted homemade bombs across the school which would have killed significantly more students if their plans had worked. I am not sure that anyone here would call for a banning of any of the ingrediants in their bombs, eh.

Story sez:

I live in Colorado and the thought of that day still nauseates me. Those with high school students who survived that day will never forget- worse for me than 9-11. Terrorists from within... from a peer group... now that's scary.

Jack replies:

Expressed evil that is acted upon is nauseating to all normal folk. But the evil lurks in the hearts of man -- not the tools they use to accomplish it. The worst mass murder (other than the 9/11) was accomplished by using ferterlizer. The second worst by a gallon can of gasoline.

Story sez:

What are we doing about it? Training kids to carry CCWs just in case? I'm not too wild about that idea.

Jack replies:

Let’s take a simple test based upon the reality of the situation…

You are in class with twenty students.. For whatever reason going on in his head a person with a gun walks in and opens fire, randomly shooting at students.

Making the assumption that your primary concern is about surviving the next 30 seconds whom would you would rather have teaching the class….

1) Someone with extensive training in firearms and small weapons tactics, and legally carrying a concealed handgun

or

2) Or storyt, who at best, is going to attempt to use YOU as cover.


waypasthadenough 8 years ago

Gee, Storytellersrus, you seem like another, from your bio, another mal-educated idiot who never really took the time to deal in reality, despite all your mis-guided, useless, pointless, sorry just can't think of the word, soul-searching. So I'll try to be 'nice.'

If you really want to understand start here:

http://willowtown.com/promo/quotes.htm

Then go here:

http://willowtown.com/reality/blacksburg.htm

And to see what happens when we don't pay attention to reality and allow those who hate Liberty and reality to run a country go here:

http://willowtown.com/reality/britsinsane.htm

There's lots more on my site, if you can handle it.


allshookup profile image

allshookup 8 years ago from The South, United States

Great hub! I carry a Kimber 45 and love it!


SirDent 8 years ago

I don't carry a weapon at all personally except the Word of God that is within me. After reading the hub and the comments, it is amazing to me how some just don't seem to "get it." Gun control that had taken place in other nations, then the government comes in and ordained the slaughter of millions of innocent people.

Everyone may believe that it can't happen in the US, but I assure that it can and probably will happen here. It is all about power and control. Satan wants control and he will do anything that he can to get it.

One final thought before sending this comment. You can give Satan a nuclear weapon, but he can't use it. He has to find someone willing to use this weapon for him. I assure you that there are many who would use it just for a few minutes of fame if given the chance. Law abiding citizens are law abiding and do not break the law and go on shooting rampages.


cegainesjr profile image

cegainesjr 8 years ago from No Mans Land

A sane voice for the responsible gun owner! I have had my CCP for five years and carry a Para 1911, and appreciate you sharing this important issue & hopefully minimizing hoplophobia* in the U.S.A.

* Unreasonable fear of weapons, as defined by Jeff Cooper.


allshookup profile image

allshookup 8 years ago from The South, United States

I agree. Can't beat a 1911. My daddy is trying to talk me out of mine. He has quite a few guns, but none are 1911s. Since I got mine, he's decided that's the way to go. I'm thankful to live in a country where it's still legal to own and carry them. We have to keep it that way!


Doug Householder profile image

Doug Householder 8 years ago

Great page! I believe every law abiding citizen should carry at all times! I do!

http://hubpages.com/misc/GUNS-N-STUFF


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 7 years ago from Tennessee

Hey I just found your hub. Good write up on CC. I hold a permit and my pistol is like my watch and wallet...never leave home without it.


haha 7 years ago

i think ppl having guns r good...but they need to have a permit and to have gone through training. cause what if u r in ur home and someone breaks in and jst starts shooting if u dont have a gun what can u do? if we pass thiss gun control law... bad guys ARE GOING TO GET THEIR HANDS ON GUNS NO MATTER WHAT!!! like sirdent said saten can't use a gun but he CAN FIND SOMEONE TO USE IT FOR HIM!!!


Coowallsky 6 years ago

haha sez: "i think ppl having guns r good...but they need to have a permit and to have gone through training. "

What other rights and/or liberties would you mandate permits & training for before exercising?


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

A great opinion article here and I'm pleased to agree.

Thanks for a great researched statistics support as well as good common sense!


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 6 years ago from Rural Arizona

Great hub, thanks for doing the research and presenting facts rather than "the sky is falling" stories we often hear.

I have a CCW permit, and I do carry most of the time. When the West was being settled, most men carried a gun. There was little if any law enforcement to protect the citizens. Thus, individuals had to be able to protect themselves and their families. When law enforcement was put in place, the citizens gradually put their guns away and turned the protecting job over to them. Now, because of budget cuts, ridiculous laws, and other factors, we have tied the hands of our police to where they can hardly do their job anymore. They are not allowed to act until a crime has actually been committed. Due to the reduced numbers of law enforcement personnell, the response time by police is gettting longer and longer. Now we have come full circle, and the citizens now have to play an active role in their own protection from the bad guys. I am a member of a local gun club, where many of the members are active law enforcement. In frequent discussion on the subject of CCW, not all, but most law officers are in favor of citizens with permits carrying weapons. This subject will probably be argued until the end of time. But at least for now it is a matter of personal choice, and I choose to carry. Thanks for writing a great hub.

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