Loudoun Easterner editor Martin Casey is a well-meaning fellow but he does not always get it right.
Regarding this week’s front page story (and dig that crazy graphic) on Gov. Tim Kaine’s veto of the bill which would have allowed concealed carry of firearms in establishments that serve alcohol, the editorial “Back to the Wild West?” asks
In today’s society, why does anyone other than a law enforcement officer need to take a gun, concealed or otherwise, into a restaurant or bar?
Having weapons, concealed or not, in public places — restaurants, bars or otherwise — is a scary thought that conjures up movie scenes from “Shane” and “Gunfight at the OK Coral.”
We want our law enforcement officers to carry weapons for our defense if necessary. Permits to carry concealed weapons should be issued rarely through a process rigorous enough to assure that permit holders have sound reasons for carrying a hidden weapon and also are responsible and sane persons.
Mr. Casey’s editorial displays two of the key assumptions that separate gun control proponents from 2nd Amendment supporters: Outright fear of guns, and a thoroughgoing faith that law enforcement personnel will always be there to protect us.
From the perspective of those who are not subconsciously afraid of firearms, this attitude is like flinching at the sight of a hammer or baseball bat. But cultural conditioning being what it is, many otherwise reasonable people fall into the fallacy of seeing the tool, rather than the carrier, as the problem.
The real issue is whether it is sensible for law-abiding citizens to leave their safety and security completely in the hands of law enforcement officials.
Even the gun-fearers don’t really believe this. They lock their doors at night because they know the police can’t be everywhere at a moment’s notice. Most of them probably do not have a problem with people who take self-defense courses. Kung fu kick to break a jaw – ok. Learn to stick a key in the attacker’s eye – ok. But when it comes to having a gun to defend yourself – well, that is a step too far. As though any situation in which a law abiding citizen might feel the need to protect herself with a gun is magically transformed into a situation where the cops are right nearby, every time.
It’s totally illogical, a position that simply has not been fully thought through by the gun control advocates.
I think the root of the disagreement comes down to an irrational fear of firearms and fervent hope of never having to come close to a firearm. If you read it, you will see that Mr. Casey’s editorial definitely seems to reveal such a personal aversion.
Rather than a carefully considered public policy position, gun control advocacy is more akin to fear of spiders.
A further note: The bill in question was aimed at allowing concealed carry permit holders to bring their guns into restaurants without having to display them openly, as long as they are not consuming alcohol. That’s right: Under current Virginia law it’s perfectly fine to go into Applebees wearing a firearm on your hip as long as everyone can see it.
For those who are less ostentatious and confrontational, which means nearly all concealed carry holders, they have to leave their guns in the car when they go out to eat. Leaving your gun in the car is generally not considered a good thing, the key reason being the possibility of theft. The bill simply would have allowed people who have been certified to carry a firearm all day long to keep it with them when they go out to eat.
Below the fold is visitor Loudoun Conservative’s response to the editorial.
To the Editor:
I agree with one thing you said: concealed weapons permits should only be issued to sane, responsible, law-abiding people who know how to use them. But there are a lot of human
beings in that category and it isn’t the government’s job to determine whether my reason for wanting to carry a weapon fits their definition of legitimate, as long as I obey the law.
Parenthetically, for those who don’t know, Governor Kaine has already vetoed the bill concerned. He obviously shares your bias towards an unarmed and under-informed citizenry.
But, an article this generally wrongheaded bespeaks a bias against law-abiding firearm owners. Can someone explain precisely what is is about today’s vaunted society that makes the Second Amendment null and void in your opinion? Are we smarter than people of the last generation? Less prone to crime? Find me the statistics to back that up, will you? Maybe we are dumber or more prone to crime and shouldn’t be trusted with weapons? Try backing that one up based on some real data?
Before using your keyboard to cast concealed carry permit holders as a bunch of irresponsible shoot-’um-up teenagers from some highly dramatic black-and-white, you could have looked at the facts. There are some 155,000 concealed carry permit holders in Virginia. They must be over the age of twenty-one and pass a safety and usage test before receiving their permit. Studies show that concealed carry permit holders are seven times LESS likely than the average citizen to commit a crime.
You ask why this bill is necessary and suggest a few reasons it might have advanced this year. Clearly, the bill is not about arming more people – it does nothing toward that end. The bottom line reason for this bill is that it makes sense. Just like it makes sense to prohibit the drinking of alcohol while carrying a gun or driving, it makes sense that someone who is not drinking alcohol and is obeying the law should be allowed to carry their firearm into a family restaurant and pretty much anywhere else, for that matter. It is frankly ridiculous that someone who is open carrying (for which there is no permitting process or safety test) can carry in such a location legally, but not a trained permit holder.
Your inflammatory opinion piece seems designed to incite fear among citizens who don’t own or understand owning a weapon. But consider this, if we were going to see a repeat of “OK Coral,” why hasn’t it happened already? This bill doesn’t loosen the restrictions on obtaining a concealed weapons permit, it simply applies some common sense to where you can legally carry it. Murder and mayhem are not the product of law abiding gun ownership, but of criminals who have no problem breaking the law anyway.
The only person who should be allowed to ban a weapon in a privately owned public facility is the owner of that facility. And the government should rarely prohibit the carrying of weapons by law-abiding gun owners in publicly owned places. There are good reasons why law enforcement should be the only people with guns in jails, police stations, courts and other secure facilities. But parks, libraries, government offices and the like are all places where law-abiding folk should be free to protect themselves.
And yes, criminals are attracted to “gun-free” zones. They are considered “crime-safe” zones. Cho may have still tried shooting up Virginia Tech even if guns had been allowed on campus but one armed professor could have stopped the carnage. That’s what happened at Appalachian State when a disgruntled student turned shooter — he did kill three people — but three students, one of whom retrieved a gun from his car, subdued and handcuffed the killer, holding him until police could arrive; thus preventing a far more massive tragedy.
Let’s have some freedom of choice on this issue. You don’t think law-abiding citizens in “today’s society” should carry guns for self-defense? Well, you have the right not to do so, but don’t infringe on my constitutional right to protect myself, those I love, and maybe, just maybe, even you.