know several people that have… use… or by some definition are
involved with guns for activities and recreation.
spend time on a range.
along with their pursuits, they are all thorough, careful, law
abiding people that go to tremendous extremes to use these weapons
safely and store them properly.
I’ve been thinking about them alot these past few weeks.
started when I read a few articles about concealed
weapons and bars. My mind works in mysterious ways… so
of course… one of the first thoughts was that if a person is
licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and has it concealed,
and orders a drink even though that part is a violation of the
law… well… exactly how does the bartender know who does and
who doesn’t have a weapon?
while that one kind of struck me lightly and then I moved on…
the theme came around again in recent days when I saw stories
about people showing up near Obama appearances with weapons,
such as an assault rifle. On this one
I took into consideration the thoughts of local police and Secret
Service representatives… where these agencies actually said
they were ok with the guns at the demonstrations as long as
they weren’t concealed and were legally possessed.
I read these tales, I had some other general thoughts on the
content as a whole as well as some of the issues involved. For
you were going in to a bar where you felt you needed a gun for
protection, chances are you have a disconnect in your brain.
Because that urge to carry the gun for protection into the bar
should be a huge clue that you really don’t need to be in that
bar with a gun to begin with. It’s a trouble-waiting-to-happen
as another example, why did some critics get the impression
the guns at the demonstrations were loaded?
still… the stories didn’t really strike me as amazingly troublesome.
I woke up a day later and a different thought struck me.
people that I know… that have guns… use guns… and believe in
every person’s right to own a gun… would never use a weapon
in situations such as these. It’s too extreme… it pushes the
wrong boundaries… it’s reckless and dangerous. They have far
too much respect for the weapons to bring them into a bar or
to a political rally.
take the article about the weapons being present at demonstrations
outside appearances by President Obama.
to the text we find there, people with guns have been present
in New Hampshire and Arizona at events where Obama was nearby.
The Secret Service points out that they understand the presence
of the guns, plan for them, and these individuals would never
get inside the building the president was in with these weapons.
Local police are quoted as saying they understand their roll
in all of this and recognize that it elevates emotions a notch
or three. But both groups seem… well… amazingly calm and unfazed
by the whole situation. The guns are there… the guns are there
legally… all is good.
then we get a quote from Paul Helmke, where he questions the
presence of loaded guns near political events.
whoa… whoa… loaded guns?
the entire article. (Precviously posted at sfgate.com
in August of 2009, no longer an active link). There are zero
mentions of an assault rifle (the centerpiece of the story)
or any other weapon being loaded. Except in Helmke’s quote:
“When you bring a loaded gun, particularly a loaded assault
rifle, to any political event, but particularly to one where
the president is appearing, you’re just making the situation
dangerous for everyone.”
first I wanted to toss Helmke’s quote aside. Why? Well… two
reasons actually. First, when I was reading the article I didn’t
think anyone carrying a gun to such an event could be so stupid
as to have it loaded. Never even considered it possible until
I got to his comments. Carrying it is obviously making a very
serious statement. As noted time and again, it takes what can
be an emotional situation and increases the heat. Secondly,
combine my concept about giving people credit for being smarter
than that with Helmke’s personal interest in the situation.
He happens to be the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent
Gun Violence. Just a thought here, but I think he has an interest
distinctly on one side of the debate.
but hold on. There’s the other article. Concealed
weapons around alcohol. I made the comment about a person
properly having a weapon and a permit to carry it while concealed.
So far… legal. Then that person has a drink. Not legal.
of course, the first response to remove all power from my comment
is simple: with rights come responsibility, and part of that
responsibility is not to drink. So no one possessing a gun would
time again. Senator Paula Aboud from Tuscon: “We don’t let people
drink and drive, why should we let them drink and carry guns?”
want to debate Paula on this one? (Please don’t, because I really
don’t want to link to the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands
of places I’ll find when it comes to drinking and driving. The
fact is, people do drink to excess and drive. And that means
that it isn’t a stretch to believe that one… two… at least a
handful of people will believe they can control their actions
and no one will get hurt and they’ll carry a weapon and drink
anyway. In short, the lit match babysitting the dynamite didn’t
mean for anything bad to happen.)
this brings us back to those people I know. I consider them
responsible. And I don’t see any way they even get involved
in this debate. It would never occur to them to carry a gun
to a political event. They would never head out for a social
evening and bring a gun with them to the bar. The respect for
the weapon and the responsibility they believe is associated
with having and using a weapon is too important to these people.
that’s what suddenly bothered me about some of these stories
when I gave it some additional thought.
I hope I’m wrong for even raising the concept here. I hope the
man with the assault rifle didn’t have it loaded and Helmke
is wrong. If he didn’t have it loaded, then he went to an extreme
with his demonstration, but at least I could see that he had
some awareness of what he was doing and the possible reactions
to his presence with it.
history is filled with examples of people that claimed to know
better… claimed it would never happen to them… and claimed that
critics, in addition to other charges, were extremists, out
of touch, and infringing on their rights.
I can’t help but wonder if even Elmer Fudd, whether venturing
to city hall or getting ready for an evening with friends, would
head out on the town and leave his guns unloaded, properly secured,
and safely at home.