TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Carrying firearms a chance to educate public
Have you ever watched a Western movie and noticed the cowboy who looked out of place, but you couldn't figure out why? At some point in the movie it is pointed out that ol' Slim doesn't pack iron because he killed/nearly killed an innocent man/woman/child years ago and he swore he'd never touch another gun. How Slim deals with his demons is his own business; the point is that he stand out because he's not wearing a six-shooter.
These days the tables have turned and now most people are not seen with a handgun perched on their hip. When one sees someone carrying a gun, one usually assumes the armed person is either an off-duty police officer or someone up to no good. Most likely both assumptions are wrong.
There is a growing cadre of law-abiding gun owners who use their everyday interactions with others to educate them about firearms and our rights. According to a Los Angeles Times story, most states allow people who aren't barred from owning or carrying firearms to carry them openly. That is the way things should work in a free society; what isn't specifically forbidden is allowed. And government must have a good reason to forbid something.
Open carry is legal in Colorado, except where specifically banned. Locally, open carry was the subject du jour in 2003 when a man began carrying a shotgun with him as he went about his business. When his business included attending City Council meetings, council members took notice and banned open-carry in city-owned buildings. El Paso County has a similar law. Other than government buildings, including public schools and post offices, carrying firearms openly is legal most places in the Pikes Peak region.
Property owners have the right to forbid customers to carry on their property. We'd urge them to err on the side of freedom. When people see firearms owners as the friendly guy ahead of them in line at the grocery store or the woman sharing a joke with them at the coffee shop, they're likely to have a good opinion of firearms owners. Too often, the only thing non-owners hear about firearms is in connection to criminal activity. That unfairly casts legitimate owners in a bad light.
It's not just men packing iron these days, either. More women than ever before are attending firearms safety classes and carrying guns, openly or concealed. They know that firearms can be a safety factor for someone who knows how to use them. A 250-pound thug will think twice when he discovers his 130-pound intended victim is not inclined to do his bidding and has the ability to protect herself and her rights.
Firearms dealers and shooting clubs are presenting classes specifically aimed at educating women about firearms. Manufacturers are responding to this new market by rolling out firearms designed for women's smaller hands.
Open carry is not without its problems, though. Many police officers might not be aware of the legality of the practice and are apt to err on the side of caution when they come in contact with an armed citizen. Other people can feel uncomfortable in the presence of a firearm and might complain to management or call the police. Those who carry openly must be ready to explain their rights and let others know they don't present a threat.
It can be a dangerous world, and the recent budget cuts show there won't always be a police officer or sheriff's deputy around to protect everyone. Even if government had enough money to put an officer on every block, he could be at the other end of the block when some bad actor demands your wallet or kicks in your front door. Ultimately, each person is responsible for his or her own safety. And if gun owners can educate the public on positive aspects of firearms, everyone is better off.
Click here to read this on its original page.
Swiss prove guns not the culprit
|Monday, 16 June 2008|
Niccolo Machiavelli, who was a sort of Karl Rove of his day, though with more integrity, said of the Swiss that they were "the most free and most armed people" of Europe. Get it?
The connection between arms and freedom?
That statement is still true of the Swiss. Many people know that they practice neutrality, but not many know that they practice armed neutrality. If the gun controllers' claim that the mere presence of arms leads to mayhem were true, the Swiss would have wiped themselves out years ago. There are guns and gun ranges all over the place. You would be hard-pressed to find a Swiss home without a firearm and ammunition. Yet, the Swiss have a very low crime rate.
If you were a robber or a rapist, who would you rather have as a victim? Someone who is armed, or someone who is defenseless? Even a stupid criminal knows the answer to that question.
If the police can protect us -- which is another claim the gun-control people make -- then why are so many people murdered, raped and robbed? Even the television fictional stories tell you the answer to that. The cops get there after the crime has been committed. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a crime scene. Nearly all the cop shows open with the police looking at a dead, unarmed body.
Do you really believe that the men who had just fought a long and bloody war against the British and were writing what we call the Bill of Rights had this conversation:
"Well, let's see. We've guaranteed freedom of assembly, of religion, of speech and of the press. Oh, my gosh, we've forgotten the duck hunters. They'll raise heck if we leave them out, so we'd better write an amendment for them."
The Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting. It states: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
The men who wrote these amendments were pretty darn fluent in English. If they had intended the right to keep and bear arms to apply only to the militia, they would have said so. They would have written "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the states to arm their respective militias shall not be infringed."
They didn't say that. The main sentence says "right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." "People" means everybody, not just the members of the militia. The subordinate clause, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state," just gives one, but not the only, reason why all the people have a right to keep and bear arms. The militia, after all, was drawn from the people. It was not the Army. The first meaning of "bear," by the way, is to carry, bring or take. Americans have the right to keep arms and to carry them.
The word "regulate" in those days meant trained, and do you notice again the connection between arms and freedom? The subordinate clause refers to a "free state." Obviously, an unfree state would not allow the people to be armed.
The Founding Fathers were not urban neurotics like so many of today's politicians. They were almost all outdoor people. Guns were to them just tools, like their axes or plows. You couldn't survive in the wilderness without firearms, and at the time of our Revolution, there were only about 3 million people from Maine to Georgia.
Nor were there any police forces. There was no Secret Service, FBI or any of the other alphabet law-enforcement agencies. If you decided to travel, you traveled at your own risk, and you can bet people traveled armed. When I was last at Williamsburg, Va., they had a room in one of the historical houses arranged as if a traveler had just arrived and unpacked. There on top of a dresser was a pistol.
(Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802)