Why is this a good idea?

In the past few days I’ve read much about open carry laws in various states. As a Canadian, the whole concept of being able to wander around with a weapon either over my shoulder or on my hip is foreign to me. Obviously I have some questions and (if you’ve read my postings before, you know this) some observations on this practice.

Who came up with the idea that allowing citizens to carry firearms openly was a good thing, other than the NRA of course? Was this the scheme of some politician up for re-election, trying to curry favour with gun owners and the NRA?

The NRA keeps repeating, like a mantra “a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.” Sorry, that sounds good but the concept doesn’t hold water because of its simplicity. Purchasing a weapon, either a handgun or a long gun does not automatically confer the ability to handle this weapon properly or proficiently. (And why do you need an assault rifle anyway – have the deer started shooting back?) You can waste hours and boxes of ammunition on firing ranges honing your aiming skills, but that isn’t going to prepare you for “real life experiences”. In the case of the recent San Bernardino shootings, a “good guy with a gun”, despite all bravado (“if I’d been there it would have been different”), would have made no difference at all. Without training, a “good guy with a gun” would freeze. There’s a great sea of difference between firing at a paper target on a range and having your intended target shooting back at you. The body of your “good guy with a gun” would probably be found by the police with his weapon still holstered.

There have been cases from the past year where a “good guy with a gun” has shot and killed the victim of a crime – in one case a car-jacking – while the “bad guys with guns” got away unscathed. So much for untrained people with deadly weapons doing the right thing.

From Oregon comes a report of a man, openly carrying a pistol, being robbed at gunpoint for said weapon. Oregon has open carry laws. From Michigan comes a story of two men, taking advantage of that state’s concealed carry laws, shooting and killing each other in a case of road rage.

Despite the claims of the NRA and various lawmakers, the right to carry weapons, either concealed or openly does not make us safer. In fact just the opposite is true. Disputes that may have been settled with an apology or, in extreme cases, a lawsuit could now be settled with a weapon (see the road rage incident above). Carrying a weapon has been shown to make the person carrying it more aggressive, therefore they may feel the only way to resolve a dispute is lethal force.

So, can anyone tell me what is the logic behind all these open carry laws?

I understand regulations regarding purchasing and owning a weapon vary by state and may not be sufficiently strict. But then again, the US Constitution affects just about everything (from what I’ve seen) so sellers may not be able to screen the purchaser as well as they’d like. That leaves training.

From what I’ve seen on various documentaries, it can be a simple matter to pick up your weapon after a specified waiting period, receive some brief instruction on how to load it and you’re on your own. As I wrote, you can spend time on a range learning your weapon and perfecting your aim, but that’s all it does. You need either law enforcement or military training – and lots of it – before your body will know how to react in a real life or death situation. And it will have to be an automatic reaction because when someone starts shooting at you, there is no time to analyse the situation. But how many gun owners actually have, or get, such training? I received such training during my time in the Canadian Army, but it was so long ago I wouldn’t trust myself to react properly now.

Personally I think a psychological assessment should also be done because, let’s be honest here, not every gun owner is mentally stable.

From everything I’ve seen and read, open or concealed carry is really nothing more than a recipe for disaster.

Can someone please justify the need for such laws for me?

Since this is my first posting of 2016, I wish everyone a healthy and prosperous year. I also remind you to hug an artist, no matter what their field of endeavour, because we need love too.


What’s it going to take?

Another school shooting today.  This time a student was shot in a high school in Taft, California.  Police have a suspect in custody.  Not a month ago, we were told of the horror in Newtown, Conn.

What is it going to take before Americans have finally had enough of hearing of children – the future of the country – being gunned down in what are supposed to be safe places?  When will the majority finally say “No more, no more will we put up with the slaughter of the innocents”?

I can hear the arguments now that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms.  Well, for those who either haven’t read it, or have forgotten it, here’s the exact wording of that amendment:

Amendment II

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.

This is taken from the website of Cornell University Law School.  Just a little different from the blanket “right to bear arms” most people quote.

I’m Canadian and we have much stricter gun laws than our neighbour to the south, so perhaps I don’t really understand how the Second Amendment can be used to justify packing a Glock when grocery shopping.  Yes, we also suffer from violence in schools, but the last shooting I can recall was about five years ago. Yes, there have been other incidents, mainly in Montreal: Ecole Polytechnique, where 14 female engineering students were shot, and Dawson College, where Anastasia Desouza was killed by some nut with a gun.  Yes, I also remember the names of the shooters, but refuse to use them.

Students here in Toronto are more likely to use knives on each other.  In fact, a student at Riverdale Collegiate in Toronto was stabbed just yesterday.

The pronouncement by the NRA shortly after Newtown, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” (I may not have that quote exactly right), doesn’t really hold water.  To my mind putting more guns on the street would be the armament equivalent of throwing gasoline on a raging fire.  It’s already a problem. More guns, especially in the hands of people not properly trained in the use of firearms – including when that use is appropriate – are not going to solve the problem.  I also recall Mayor Bloomberg of New York, in a press conference recently, turning the NRA’s words back on them when he announced the shootings of five police officers with the words “sometimes the good guys get shot”.

As I wrote above, the gun laws in Canada are much stricter.  Of course we have a problem with illegal firearms.  According to reports, many of these weapons on the street are stolen in the US and smuggled across the border.  More guns on American streets just gives these thieves more places to steal weapons because you know not everyone will store that weapon properly.

How many more children and innocent adults are going to have to die by gunfire before “gun control” becomes more than a course in handling a weapon and becomes a serious topic for not only discussion, but action?