Monday, February 22, 2010

A Momentous Day

If you are one of the millions of Americans, like I am, who have a concealed weapons carry permit, today is a banner day for you. It is now legal to carry your concealed weapon into a National Park, as long as you are obeying the laws of the State where you are. This was attached to the credit card reform laws that went into effect today, February 22, 2010. What does a credit card act have to do with concealed carry? Yet another example of the old saying, "the less men know about how laws and sausages are made, the better they sleep at night".

Predictably, the perennially nervous are quaking in their boots. "Ohz, Noz!", "OMG!"

C'mon folks, can we get a grip.? Every time a new law extends concealed carry or firearms rights, some group wets themselves. Every single time, they shout, "they'll be blood in the streets". It never happens. "People want to feel safe in the (park, restaurant, whatever)". I think they should feel more safe. I'll bet anyone that in 6 months, none of the predicted disasters will have happened.

Out of sight, out of mind. What most of these folks don't realize is that (depending on the location) around 3 to 5% of the population has a concealed carry license and is carrying now. That means when you're in a grocery store, chances are someone is carrying. Same for the department store, the church or the restaurant. They're not shooting people now, why do you think they'll suddenly start?

Look, I'm kind of new to the concealed carry world. I've only had my license since last summer (Florida, by the way, issues a Concealed Weapons or Firearms license, a CWFL, instead of just a Concealed Carry Permit). In my year or so of becoming fully integrated into this world, I have been continuously impressed with how conscientiously law abiding the CWFL holders are. They almost have to become part time students of law. Just the laws of our one state require a book for you to understand how to be safely in compliance and legal. One attorney makes a nice little living selling this inch-thick book.

Listen: those who say, "we just need some commonsense gun laws" don't have a clue about how many laws there are. There are national laws, state laws and city laws. These laws vary from essentially forbidding private firearms ownership (Chicago, NYC) to any form of carry being allowed (Vermont, Alaska). Stories abound on the Internet about people going to jail after crossing a state line with something perfectly legal on the other side. How to get from one state to another without being arrested after a random traffic stop is a constant subject of discussion on concealed carry websites.

What's the anti-carry folks' beef? That people who endure criminal background checks, fingerprinting, long waits for their license and pay well over a hundred dollars for their license - not to mention several hundred for a gun - are going to be unable to resist poaching a squirrel??

But how about this couple of paragraphs:

"Even if few park visitors flaunt their firearms, knowing the person next to your family at an evening campfire or on a ranger-led hike might have a gun will have a chilling effect, critics say.

'Visitors come to the parks to try to leave behind their day-to-day worries,' said Scot McElveen, president of the Association of National Park Rangers. 'Some of that escapism is from worrying about crime or guns.' "

We would all really like to not worry about crime or guns. But to assume that someone who has gone through all of what you go through to get a concealed carry permit is somehow dangerous is defective thinking. And to think forbidding carry in a park is going to stop someone who doesn't obey laws at all is even worse thinking.

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