Showing posts with label concealed carry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label concealed carry. Show all posts

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Guns are more dangerous than they used to be: Don't carry a pistol

Back in 1987, Mr. Bob and Miss Smitty, beloved family elders, traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to see an exhibition of ancient Egyptian artifacts on display at a local museum. Smitty often carried a small, lady-like handgun when she traveled as protection against the hazards of the road. Mr. Bob was also known to occasionally pack heat when he traveled.

On the day the couple visited the Egyptian exhibition, Smitty was carrying a pistol in her purse, a fact she suddenly remembered as she saw her handbag moving down a rolling belt into the museum's metal detector.

Fortunately, Smitty had so much other metal junk in her purse that the attendant didn't notice her pistol, and she and Bob had an enjoyable day looking at Egyptian artifacts.

Why did Smitty travel to Memphis with a handgun back in 1987? Was she afraid that she and Mr. Bob might have to shoot their way out of the Memphis museum, like in a scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Had she seen the movie Deliverance and feared she and Mr. Bob might be waylaid by a gang of genetically-deranged hillbillies on their drive home through Arkansas?

I don't know. But I do know this. Carrying a firearm is a lot more dangerous than it was thirty years ago.

It is fashionable now in some regions of the country for people to obtain concealed-carry permits that allow them to keep small pistols tucked into their clothing. And in my corner of the world, a lot of men keep handguns in their pickup trucks, which is legal in Louisiana.

But it is risky to carry a loaded handgun, and it is getting riskier.

A few days ago, just a half-mile from my home, Jayce Boyd, a 24-year-old young man, was arrested on a murder charge after he reportedly shot and killed a panhandler in the parking lot of Trader Joe's.

Was the shooting justified? According to some reports, the panhandler was aggressively harassing two young women, and Mr. Boyd had come to their defense.

A few days before that, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old kid from Illinois, was charged with murdering two people during the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I saw a video that apparently depicts this young man shooting at some people who were chasing him.  At least one of his pursuers appeared to be armed.

Was young Mr. Rittenhouse acting in self-defense? Ultimately a jury will decide.

Here's my point. I can hardly imagine any threat to my personal safety that would justify me killing someone in a public place.  In fact, I might be better off getting injured or even murdered by an attacker than dealing with the consequences of killing another human being--even in self-defense.

So I don't carry a handgun, and I never will even though the state of Louisiana allows me to openly carry a pistol without a license.

Who knows what will happen to Mr. Boyd and Mr. Rittenhouse? Will they be acquitted on their murder charges?

Maybe. But if you were to ask Mr. Boyd or Mr. Rittenhouse today whether he wishes he had not been carrying a weapon on the night he pulled the trigger, I feel quite he would say yes.

You'll never take us alive!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

"Don't bring your guns to town, son": Johnny Cash's mama gave good advice

Gun sales are skyrocketing in the United States. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (as reported by Forbes), Americans bought 2.5 million firearms in the first half of this year.

Even before this recent spike, Americans owned a lot of guns.  Today, Americans own 400 million firearms--that's a gun for every U.S. citizen, including toddlers and kindergarten kids.  And more Americans are packing heat when they travel.  As of 2019, 18.6 million citizens had concealed carry permits.

We've known for years that gun sales pick up in response to scary news events. Right now, people are worried about the coronavirus and urban violence in the wake of George Floyd's death. Many gun buyers don't actually want a firearm, but they are afraid they might need a gun one day and won't be able to get one.

This summer, however, we see a new development. Not only are people buying more guns, but they are also hoarding ammunition. As I write, it is virtually impossible to purchase handgun ammo in my city. A sales associate at my nearby Cabella's sporting goods store told me that ammo flies off the shelves as soon as it is stocked. "We sell out in about five minutes," he said. reported that Texas saw a 1,000 percent increase in the purchase of 9 mm pistol ammunition this spring and a 2,400 percent increase in the sale of assault-rifle (223) bullets.

In my view, this is a worrisome trend. It is telling us that many Americans don't believe the police can protect them from crime and violence--that they are on their own when it comes to protecting their property and their families.

I'm not going to weigh in on the gun debate--the Second Amendment, yadda yadda yadda.  But I will say this. It is one thing for people who are trained to use firearms to keep securely-stored guns in their homes to protect their loved ones in the unlikely event that someone breaks into their dwelling, and the police don't arrive fast enough to deal with the threat.

It's quite another thing to carry a concealed weapon on a trip to the grocery store or to brandish a gun in public. Mark and Patricia McCloskey are famous now because they displayed firearms in their front yard when protesters came into their gated community in St. Louis. They say they were threatened and that the police didn't respond to their call for help. I believe them.

But wouldn't it have been better for Mr. and Mr.s McCloskey to have stayed in their home with the doors locked and call 911 repeatedly to ask for assistance? If someone broke into their house before the police showed up, the McCloskeys would then be well within their rights to protect themselves with guns.

But I don't see any sense in standing in one's front yard and waving a gun at people. I hope the McCloskeys aren't prosecuted for their misjudgment, but I also hope their personal drama is a lesson to the rest of us that we should heed Mama Cash's advice: "Don't take your guns to town, son. Leave your guns [inside your] home."