If you carry a gun ….. ?

OK, I need someone to help me out here.

There is a kerfuffel going on right now over whether Starbucks should tell people openly carrying guns that they shouldn’t come into the coffee shop because it freaks out the customers, baristas and whoever else is sitting around.

The open carry people say they’re just asserting their rights to defend themselves in a dangerous world. They will say: What if someone in the coffee shop is a nut who wants to kill everyone; I have to be prepared to take him down.

An opinion piece in the LATimes here (click) takes a somewhat negative attitude to the people with the guns, but also says Starbucks shouldn’t be the enforcer since it, like every other business, is just trying to make a buck these days.

My question: What is to keep every non-gun carrying customer in there from assuming anyone with a gun who is not a uniformed police officer is a nut? I mean, really? Why should I assume anyone with a gun, concealed or open, is sane, or rational?

Given the large number of people who’ve shot up the place of late (it’s not just the post office any more) it seems to me that the only rational response to seeing a gun in the open is a discreet call to 911. Either that or pull your own and cover the guy.

What are we supposed to do, wait until the guy actually pulls a gun and starts shooting people? Given the cost of waiting for that to happen, that seems insanely trusting. And, as every fan of westerns knows, letting the other guy get the drop on you is a good way to get dead.

So, call 911? Shoot first and ask questions later? Wait until he pulls his gun and shoots your grandmother? What is the proper behavior here?

Seriously, I know you guy people are out there. Help me out.  You are carrying that gun because you are assuming that I’m not safe. If you walk into the coffee shop with a loaded gun on your hip, and I have no clue who you are, why should I assume you are safe?

And, more important, why should I wait for you to make your intentions clear? If I do, I might be the one dead. Frankly, I’d rather not.

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47 Responses to If you carry a gun ….. ?

  1. Mark says:

    Oh boy, the gun control topic. If someone is going to shoot up a Starbucks, they will walk in and do it. Chances are they won’t come in as a law-abiding citizen, order coffee, sit down, read the paper or whip out the laptop and then get up, pull their weapon from the open-carry holster and light it up. It just never happens that way. I’ve NEVER read a story about an a normal, level headed, open-carry citizen shooting up a public place. If its going to happen to you, you won’t even see it coming.

  2. Mark Shenefelt says:

    There’s the occasional open-carry guy around here. They seem to have a need to make a point. But they just scare people, and get more to ponder, “Should I start packing, too?”

    On the way to maintain a basic sense of civilization, somewhere we took a turn back toward the Wild West. I’m not looking forward to looking over my shoulder at ever person out in public, but I guess that’s where we’re heading.

  3. Charles Trentelman says:

    You want me to assume based on outward appearance? That’s insane, Mark. Saying it hasn’t happened yet is only saying “well, nobody’s tried to blow up an airline with loaded underwear yet.”

    The PhD who shot up a faculty meeting came in, sat down, talked a while, then calmly stood up and started.

    how can I know? I await your answer.

  4. Caril Jennings says:

    Guns spoil my appetite. To any restaurant and coffee shop out there, as soon as I see a gun, I’m outta there. I’m sorry about your loss of business. Take it up with your legislators.

  5. flatlander100 says:

    It does even have to be intentional mayhem, Charlie. Recall the story that ran last week about some nimrod at the SL City Airport who was handing his loaded sidearm over for safe shipping, dropped it, it went off and wounded an airport porter.

    Oh, yeah. I feel much safer having all these John Wayne wannabes packing everywhere I go.

  6. flatlander100 says:

    Damn. Meant “doesn’t even have to be.”

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  8. Sylvia says:

    I am a supporter of gun rights and of concealed carry permit holders, etc., but I don’t get these people advocating open carrying–even where it’s legal. It just seems provocative for no good reason. And, like you say, Charlie, how is one to know a nut from a non-nut (for lack of a better word?).
    I really hate that some people consider anybody who carries a gun a nut, but I also understand the need for prudence and understanding of people’s fear of guns.

  9. Neal Humphrey says:

    Utah’s experience with liberalized “shall issue” concealed carry laws is consistent with other states with similar policies. People with CCLs are law-abiding citizens and have proven that they are perfectly safe to be around even though there is a likelihood they’re armed. Accidents have happened. A toilet was slaughtered in Centerville. A loaded gun was taken to the airport (dumb).

    But there haven’t been any wild gunfights. Super Dell illegally brandished a handgun and paid a heavy price for acting “cowboy.”

    However, the typical person I know with a CCL is a woman who doesn’t want herself or her children to be a helpless victim of a violent ex-husband or boyfriend.

    So, my sympathies are obvious. But this open-carry tomfoolery totally creeps me out. What do I think? Sometimes a gun barrel is not just a gun barrel – it’s exhibitionism.

  10. Michael Trujillo says:

    First, any business has a right, in my opinion, to say who can come into their business. I know there are occasional news stories about a business forbidding weapons on its premises and being sued for infringement of rights, but that’s my personal opinion whatever the courts have said.

    Regarding gun toting citizens in public places: what’s wrong with asking them, point blank, if they have a permit and asking to see it? They won’t show you? Fine, call 911 or take it away from them. I have no problem with someone packing because they’re afraid to go out without being armed. But I have a right to protect myself, too, and since you can’t tell by looking at someone whether they’re “good” or ‘bad”, I’m going to take the bull by the horns, not sit in the corner HOPING the guy’s OK.

  11. ctrentelman says:

    um………mike, you want to challenge some guy with a gun, you go right ahead.

    Me, I’ll sit quietly in the corner, discreetly tapping the 9, the 1 and the 1 on my carefully concealed cell phone. Better a cop discovers a false alarm than have some whacko blow me away because he felt threatened.

  12. John Hardin says:

    > Why should I assume anyone with a gun, concealed or open,
    > is sane, or rational?

    Because the odds are vastly in favor of them being a peaceable, responsible, law-abiding person.

    > it seems to me that the only rational response to seeing a gun
    > in the open is a discreet call to 911.

    Do that. The 911 dispatcher will (if properly trained) ask you “What is he doing?” You’ll say “Buying a coffee.” The dispatcher will ask “Is he behaving in a suspicious manner?” You’ll say “No, but he has a gun!” The dispatcher will say “Open carry is legal, sir. If he is not behaving in a suspicious or threatening manner, then he is breaking no law and we have no reason to investigate. Simply carrying a holstered gun in the open by itself does not qualify as behaving in a suspicious or threatening manner.”

    As for avoiding open carry because it’s unusual and scares people, how will people get over their irrational fears and get used to it if they don’t ever see peaceful, normal people openly carrying as they go about their daily business? If the only exposure people have to guns is in movies, TV dramas and the nightly news they will _never_ get over their misconceptions of how law-abiding armed citizens truly behave.

  13. John Hardin says:

    Michael Trujillo wrote:

    > what’s wrong with asking them, point blank,
    > if they have a permit and asking to see it?

    Not all places require a license. For example, Washington State (where SBUX is based) only requires a license to carry concealed.

    > They won’t show you? Fine, call 911 or take it away from them.

    Call 911 and let the dispatcher talk you down. Attempting to take away someone’s gun when they aren’t committing a crime with it is both foolhardy and a federal felony.

  14. ctrentelman says:

    OK, that’s one vote for “wait until they start shooting.”

    Seriously, the problem here, Mr. Hardin, is that like so many other situations, the few bad apples spoil it for the many. The odds of being killed by a terrorist on an airplane are smaller than getting killed by lightning, but we all have to take our shoes off before every flight.

  15. John Hardin says:

    Mr. Trentelman:

    Taking off our shoes and dumping our water bottles and all the other things the TSA makes us do are security theater implemented by a government that _must_ appear to be “doing something” even if it’s not effective.

    > The PhD who shot up a faculty meeting came in, sat down,
    > talked a while, then calmly stood up and started {shooting}.

    From what I’ve heard, pretty much everybody who knew her for very long thought she was nuts. The DA who declined to prosecute her for obviously murdering her brother (three shots from a pump shotgun is _not_ an accident!) years ago should be sent to prison himself. Please don’t judge lawful carry by her.

  16. Patriot Henry says:

    “If you walk into the coffee shop with a loaded gun on your hip, and I have no clue who you are, why should I assume you are safe?”

    The gun should be a good clue. As a firm rule gun owners are good, honest, reliable people. Those who aren’t almost always conceal their weapons.

    Many good gun owners also conceal their firearms for a variety of reasons, including not freaking out the paranoid. Almost all of them use a holster. Judging from COPS and other such sources almost all the bad guys don’t have a holster.

    Tattoos, clothes, colors, and language are all a very good way to determine that a person is a potential threat. Interesting that there is a campaign to prohibit people from carrying their lawful means of defense in public while there is no campaign to keep people whose very appearance broadcasts “Criminal! Criminal! Criminal!” and whom are the most likely to ignore all restrictions on firearms and whom are the most likely to commit a crime in public.

    By this credo, for security’s sake, we must ban those responsible law abiding adults who carry weapons for self defense in accordance with all government and business restrictions from all public spaces, but we shouldn’t bother banning those people belonging to organized crime organizations and whom are statistically speaking many thousands of times more likely to cause a problem. That’d be discriminatory. Yep.

    This has been done before. Examine the U.K. How long before our cops let the criminals go and arrest their elderly victims for self defense or for speaking a harsh word to the person subjecting them to a criminal act?

  17. Michael Trujillo says:

    OK, John, I was obviously being a little provocative in my post. I live in San Francisco, and there is no way I’ll run into someone openly carrying a firearm here. If I were visiting back in Utah, or any other place, I’d most likely do a double take if someone walked into a Starbucks with a sidearm on their hip, but, being a guest in the community, I wouldn’t get medieval on the guy. (Plus, the odds of me being in a Starbucks are pretty remote.)

    But I agree with Charles’ point. You can’t tell the character of a person by their looks. How do we KNOW that the man or woman displaying a weapon is “a peaceable, responsible, law-abiding person”? We’re just supposed to have faith? In case you didn’t know it, John, guns don’t kill people – people with guns kill people. Sitting around with family and friends carrying firearms whom you know and trust is one thing, sitting around with a total stranger carrying a firearm is another. How do I know he’s not some yahoo who uses, for his web ID, the name of one of the West’s most notorious gunmen and multiple murderers who’s just itching for an opportunity to show his gun skills off?

    Like I said, I don’t have a problem with people going around heeled because they’re scared of being mugged. I just laugh at the notion that people with a license to carry a gun are somehow above suspicion of EVER doing something crazy or malicious. I’ll just keep a healthy suspicion of anyone I see with one.

  18. MacDaddy says:

    Don’t fret little Chuckee. A person openly carrying or carrying with a permit is no threat to you.

    Back under the bed with you now.

  19. John Hardin says:

    Michael wrote:

    > How do we KNOW that the man or woman displaying a weapon
    > is “a peaceable, responsible, law-abiding person”? We’re just
    > supposed to have faith?

    How are they behaving apart from carrying a firearm? How are they dressed? What are they doing and saying? If the _only_ thing about them that bothers you is the gun, then the _person_ probably isn’t a problem.

    > I just laugh at the notion that people with a license to carry a gun
    > are somehow above suspicion of EVER doing something crazy
    > or malicious.

    Please continue to do so. The only people putting forth that sort of notion are those who oppose carry and who are looking for a strawman that’s easy to knock down.

    The most you will hear firearms rights advocates say is that CCW holders as a population are statistically much less likely to commit a crime – any crime, not just a crime of violence – than is the population taken as a whole. Published statistics from Florida and Texas bear this out. (Unfortunately the state I live in doesn’t collect such statistics.)

  20. Michael Trujillo says:

    John,

    The point is not that people who’ve gone through the CCW licensing process are statistically less likely to commit a crime. The point is that if I see someone in a Starbucks carrying a gun I have NO WAY of knowing if they are licensed or not. You said it yourself in your first response to me “Not all places require a license. For example, Washington State (where SBUX is based) only requires a license to carry concealed.” Since we’re talking about openly carrying a firearm, the question is – How am I supposed to know whether this person is one of your theoretical responsible gun owners or someone who can’t be trusted? They don’t require a license, so anyone can walk around strapped. Now we’ve reached the point where we don’t have to worry only about the criminals carrying weapons, but idiots who think it’s cool to run errands with their Glock on their hip who have never taken any formal training. THOSE are the ones to worry about.

    So you responsible weapons owners who advocate for carrying your firearms around with you all the time need to come up with an answer to that thorny issue. If, as you say, the CCW process weeds out the irresponsible ones and the thugs, then the answer might be that a license is needed to carry a weapon in ANY fashion. But this notion of allowing just anyone to walk around heeled (as the Open Carry advocates insist) with no accountability is stupid. Yes, I said stupid.

    For myself, I don’t expect guarantees in life. If more people start carrying guns, I’ll adjust accordingly. But please spare me the “statistically LESS LIKELY” platitudes about the noble CCW holders. Less likely does not mean never. You’ll excuse me if, when someone in a room with me says, “I have a license to carry this firearm”, I DON”T say, “Thank God. I’m safe now.”

  21. laytonian says:

    When I turned down an aisle in Costco Ogden and came face to face with a man whose gun was in his holster, I had only one thought: “This guy can’t WAIT to prove he’s a hero!”

    Then I left my cart right where it was, and left the store.

  22. John Hardin says:

    Michael:

    > The point is not that people who’ve gone through the CCW
    > licensing process are statistically less likely to commit a crime.

    Dismissing that fact does not make it not exist.

    > But please spare me the “statistically LESS LIKELY” platitudes
    > about the noble CCW holders. Less likely does not mean never.

    As I said, nobody claims it means “never” unless they’re looking for a strawman.

    Is it fair or reasonable to demand utter perfection? By that measure no police officers should be allowed to carry firearms either, as they have a rich history of negligent discharges and poor marksmanship and many commit crimes confident that they will not be meaningfully punished if caught.

    > But this notion of allowing just anyone to walk around heeled
    > (as the Open Carry advocates insist) with no accountability is stupid.

    Where have you ever seen an insistence on – or even claim of – “no accountability”? People who carry _absolutely_ are accountable for their actions.

    And open carry advocates don’t insist on allowing “just anyone” to carry. I doubt you will find a single one that wants a convicted felon, someone with a history of non-felony violent crimes, or someone with mental problems to be allowed by law to carry.

    > The point is that if I see someone in a Starbucks carrying a gun
    > I have NO WAY of knowing if they are licensed or not.

    Fair enough, depending on which state you’re in.

    > How am I supposed to know whether this person is one of your
    > theoretical responsible gun owners or someone who can’t be
    > trusted?

    Again, look at the whole person, not just their sidearm. What are they _doing_? What are they _wearing_? How are they _behaving_? What are they _saying_? Who are they _with_?

    How often does someone who is openly carrying actually go on a rampage, or actually shoot an innocent bystander by mistake?

    If it was that big a problem I’d expect to see more news coverage of actual incidents rather than news coverage of people loudly complaining that it _might_ happen. Do you think that a news industry that operates by “if it bleeds it leads” and has an institutional hostility to private firearms ownership would fail to loudly cover such incidents if they were at all common?

    > If, as you say, the CCW process weeds out the irresponsible ones
    > and the thugs, then the answer might be that a license is needed to
    > carry a weapon in ANY fashion.

    I might consider that idea if it was done in a way that did not provide a list of names to the government, and it was not implemented in a discriminatory manner (i.e. not requiring fees that a poor person couldn’t afford, and having clear and objective criteria that kept the licensing from being “at the whim” of some government official).

    As far as training goes, I would _love_ to see mandatory firearms safety training in our schools. It would reduce accidental shootings and take away much of the mystique surrounding firearms that leads to both their misuse and the irrational fear they inspire in so many people.

    > You’ll excuse me if, when someone in a room with me says, “I have a
    > license to carry this firearm”, I DON”T say, “Thank God. I’m safe now.”

    There is no such thing as perfect safety. I’d be happy if you’d be willing to consider that “I’m safER now” might possibly be a reasonable response… Are you open to that?

  23. John Hardin says:

    Laytonian:

    > I had only one thought: “This guy can’t WAIT to prove he’s a hero!”

    That’s bigotry, pure and simple.

  24. Jim Hutchins says:

    I think Mr. Trentelman’s original question was germane.

    I can go into Starbucks, stand next to your table, and call you by a racial epithet. I can comment on your clothing or hairstyle or gender. All these things are legal, and are my First Amendment right. If someone calls 911, they will likely be told that I can behave in this manner and there’s nothing anyone can do.

    Is it legal? Yes.

    Is it ethical, moral, responsible? No. It’s rude and inconsiderate of others’ feelings.

    That’s where we are here. I can, as a matter of law, openly carry a weapon. I know that if I do so, there is a certain percentage of the population that will be intimidated and worried as a result. Out of consideration for the feelings of others, I behave responsibly and do the right thing.

    The posters on this thread seem to be confusing what is legal with what is polite.

    Can we just stipulate that openly carrying a firearm is unspeakably rude behavior?

  25. John Hardin says:

    Jim:

    No, we cannot.

    The exercise of fundamental rights are not circumscribed by the tender feelings or irrational fears of others. If you are offended by the mere presence of a firearm, that is _your_ problem.

    Your hypothetical is not a good analogy, because it involves the offender actually going up to and engaging the victim. A closer analogy would be stipulating that a black person, gay person, or muslim openly going into a Starbucks is unspeakably rude behavior, even if they just peacefully go in, buy a cup of coffee, drink it, and leave, without seeking to interact with anyone else.

  26. Al says:

    “This has been done before. Examine the U.K. How long before our cops let the criminals go and arrest their elderly victims for self defense or for speaking a harsh word to the person subjecting them to a criminal act?”

    Yeah, it’s a real hell-hole over there, what with all the work-houses full of senior citizens who stood up to burglars. That and the gruel shortage.

  27. Jim Hutchins says:

    Oh, I get it now, John.

    As long as I simply wear a t-shirt that says, “I hate people named Hardin,” then that’s okay because I didn’t *engage* you.

    Makes sense to me.

  28. Michael Trujillo says:

    John,

    You want things both ways.

    First you say: “And open carry advocates don’t insist on allowing “just anyone” to carry. I doubt you will find a single one that wants a convicted felon, someone with a history of non-felony violent crimes, or someone with mental problems to be allowed by law to carry.”

    Then you say: “I might consider that idea (licensing all gun carriers) if it was done in a way that did not provide a list of names to the government, and it was not implemented in a discriminatory manner…”

    So … you want a large number of people to be allowed to carry weapons anywhere, and maaaybeee you’d be OK with some sort of licensing system as long as the government didn’t know who had the licenses. Hmmm. Sooo … who’s going to make sure that “convicted felons”, “someone with a history of non-felony violent crimes”, and people with “mental problems” don’t get a carrying license? Are the open carry advocates going to police the system? The gun owners, themselves, are going to process the license applications?

    I can see the scenario now. A guy walks into Starbucks packing a Kel-Tec P-32, orders a Frappacino, and sits down to read the paper. A second guy walks in with a Ruger P-90, orders a Grande Latte and a croissant, and notices the guy reading the paper. He approaches and says, “Hey, I recognize you. You’re that convicted wife beater who got turned down for an open carry permit. I’m going to have to ask you to relinquish that firearm.” The Frappacino guy snarls, “I’m not surrendering my gat to anyone. You want this weapon, you’re going to have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.” And the fight will be on.

    You’re living in a fantasy world, John. While you might be an upstanding, responsible, and mostly law-abiding person, and you hang out with a small group of similar gun enthusiasts, when you advocate for allowing nearly all citizens to openly carry firearms, you open the door for allowing all manner of people who can’t be trusted to handle guns; the over medicated, the stressed, the un-diagnosed pathologicals, etc.

    You’re right, there is no such thing as perfect safety. I don’t expect to be safe all the time. I’m merely saying that, given the fact that I don’t know you from Adam, I have to assume you’re one of the dangerous people until you prove to me that you’re to be trusted. And don’t give me that BS about how you’re acting or how you look. I don’t believe in profiling. Whether you look like Billy Milquetoast or Charles Mansion or Osama Bin Laden, I’m going to be suspicious of your motives for walking into a G.D. Starbucks with a loaded weapon.

    You ask me to be open to feeling a little safer if there’s a CCW holder in the room? Sorry, amigo. I don’t trust my safety to anyone else – armed or unarmed. I trust my safety to myself. For the third time, let me say, that I have no problem with you feeling a need to carry a gun to help yourself feel safer. Just don’t expect me to trust you. I don’t know you.

  29. Al says:

    I have a number of friends with concealed carry permits. I’m not convinced that having a gun will ever do them any good, but I know they’re trained in gun safety and I think they’re smart about good and bad times to use a firearm because I know the requirements for them to obtain their permits. Open carry on the other hand is just exhibitionism, a projection of authority and strength by individuals whom I have no reason to trust any more than any other stranger. It’s no different than outlandish piercings, garish tattoos, and offensive t-shirts in that they’re all outward assertions of identity. Difference is, I never have to wonder how much training the guy next to me at the coffee counter had to take before he could buy his dumb Ed Hardy shirt.

  30. Michael Trujillo says:

    John,

    In regards to your reply to Jim:

    YOUR analogy is the weak one. A person of any description sitting in a chair, not interacting with anyone, is NOT a danger to others no matter what the situation.

    But..

    If I walk into Starbucks with a lion on a leash, the other patrons have a right to be concerned even if I just sit at a table and drink my java. If I walk into a Starbucks with a bag of rotting garbage, the other patrons have a right to be concerned even if I’m not interacting with them. If I ride my motorcycle into Starbucks and order a Mocha while I rev the engine at the counter, the other patrons have a right to be concerned.

    You act as if carrying a pistol is like wearing a large piece of jewelry or a stylish hat. It’s not. You’re bringing a tool into Starbucks that has only one function. Why does it surprise you that in 21st century America, people would think it a little odd?

    How about I put it this way … If we were up in the mountains at a hunting lodge, and you came in fresh from deer hunting with your rifle slung across your shoulder and ordered a coffee to take up to your room, I wouldn’t be very concerned because having a hunting weapon in a hunting lodge in an area where people expect hunters is not that unusual. But walking into a Starbucks in the middle of a a 21st Century city with a pistol holstered on your hip is not only unusual, it’s downright questionable.

  31. John Hardin says:

    Michael wrote:

    > He approaches and says, “Hey, I recognize you. You’re that convicted wife beater
    > who got turned down for an open carry permit. I’m going to have to ask you to
    > relinquish that firearm.”

    Why would he do that? Why wouldn’t he just call 911 like anybody else?

    The vast majority of those who carry are _not_ “out looking for trouble”, and would never _seek_ confrontation in this manner. Do you assume that they are?

    > I trust my safety to myself.

    Bravo! I wholeheartedly agree.

    > For the third time, let me say, that I have no problem with you feeling
    > a need to carry a gun to help yourself feel safer. Just don’t expect me
    > to trust you. I don’t know you.

    Fair enough.

    pax.

  32. John Hardin says:

    Mike:

    By the way, let me thank you for illustrating the primary weakness in your own licensing idea: it won’t stop the bad actors from carrying.

  33. Carl Kove says:

    The people who use open carry laws and expose their weapons face a tough problem. Not everyone saw them drive up in their middle aged over reaction sports car or pickup truck and exposing your penis to show your manhood is against the law.

  34. LarryB says:

    Best quote from a gun nut: ““The gun should be a good clue. As a firm rule gun owners are good, honest, reliable people. Those who aren’t almost always conceal their weapons.”

    My argument for doing away with conceal carry permits.

  35. Charles Trentelman says:

    ….I’m still waiting for a good answer to my question — one I can apply. “Trust us,” just doesn’t cut it.

    And yet, if i read all this correctly — gun people want to carry guns because (a) it is their right and (b) they feel a need to defend themselves.

    They wouldn’t really want to exercise that right all the time, but they feel a need to defend themselves because they do not trust anyone else not to be crazy killers.

    The rest of us are supposed to trust them, however, to not be crazy killers. We can do that, they say, because they don’t know any gun carriers who are crazy killers, and we can take their word for that.

    Did I miss anything?

    That IS rather circular reasoning, I must observe.

    I’m with Jim Hutchins — it is legal, but it’s incredibly rude. Society enforces mores of this sort by its general disapproval made clear in subtle but unmistakable ways — pulling children away, looking askance, taking business elsewhere, and so on.

    It is your right. Go for it. But quit demanding people to approve. That’s rather bossy of someone carrying a gun, don’t you think?

  36. Mike Trujillo says:

    That’s why you’re the professional, Charley. You put it much more succinctly than I could.

  37. John Hardin says:

    Carl wrote:

    “Not everyone saw them drive up in their middle aged over reaction sports car or pickup truck and exposing your penis to show your manhood is against the law.”

    How is that not bigotry?

  38. John Hardin says:

    Charles:

    “they feel a need to defend themselves because they do not trust anyone else not to be crazy killers.”

    You are overstating the case and you know it. The vast majority of people – including those who carry firearms openly or concealed – are law-abiding citizens. Violent criminals _do_ exist, however, and those who arm themselves believe it is better to be prepared for encountering one rather than hoping you never do or hoping the police will be able to save you if you do. As Michael wrote, I trust my safety to myself.

    Charles, the best answer I can give you is that the statistics prove again and again that the problem is not a bad as you fear.

  39. ctrentelman says:

    Problem isn’t as bad as I fear?

    Mr. Hardin, I submit that I am not the one here who is afraid. The person who feels a need to carry a gun, despite large societal mores that that is not acceptable behavior even if, technically speaking, it is a right, is the one who is afraid.

    My question is, how do I know he’s not a nut? How do I know he’s not so afraid he’ll use that thing?

    So far, I have not heard any answer to that question.

    If I were afraid, rather than a gun I’d consider going to the police and/or government, and working on a solution to the situation creating that fear, since I know that merely making myself feel better by carrying a gun isn’t really solving any problem.

    Which is, really, what I’m doing here, which brings us back to the original question. You say they’re not dangerous. Fine, convince me. I’ve gone through all these posts, including many of yours, and so far I am not convinced because, ultimately, what it comes down to is trusting a total stranger who feels a need to carry a gun, and if the guy with the gun isn’t willing to do that, why should I?

  40. Shelley Worthen says:

    Why is Starbuck not allowed the same PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS you folks are always in such a snit about. It’s private. They should be allowed to dismiss whomever they please!

  41. Ben Schelb says:

    So the question is, “How can I trust that the open carry person is safe?”

    Let us start with the fact that this person must pass a background check to even own the gun. So from the perspective of those who worry about them being licensed, here is your proof that at the time of purchase these people were law-abiding individuals.

    Next, consider that this person feels safe enough to carry the weapon in the open. Most gun owners are regulars at gun range’s. So they have practice with the weapon they own. Now, I will admit that this is a most and not all point. Some gun owner’s are idiots, it does happen. But vehicle owner’s are just as often idiots, and they require even less check to own and drive.

    And as a last point, consider this. Someone exercising the constitutional rights worries you? Perhaps you should then consider the fact that you are not those exercising rights bothers them. That they are worried because most people act like sheep, expecting someone else to save them if something happens. You say you only trust your safety to yourself, but then say that you would rather call the cops if something happens. That call is putting someone else in danger, to save you. Because you couldn’t do it yourself, someone else is at risk. These open carry individuals are merely saying, “I have taken my safety into my own hands.”

    As a gun owner, who doesn’t carry openly, I fell no more threatened when someone comes in carrying openly than I do when a lawyer walks in the door with an attitude of superiority. It is just another function of our diverse culture and those who choose to deny that fact are but questioning why our culture can be diverse but not be just what they believe it must be.

    I believe that our culture has room for both the gun owner and those who do not choose to own one. So perhaps the answer to the question is, get to know a gun owner and see what they are like, before you lump them all together with those who carry a gun illegally.

  42. John Hardin says:

    Charles:

    > rather than a gun I’d consider going to the police and/or
    > government, and working on a solution to the situation
    > creating that fear

    Why are those options mutually exclusive? Do you deny that violent criminals still exist even though society is, and has been, working on many solutions to violent crime, and has been for many years? Do you believe that those who carry think they are better than the police, or think they don’t need the police, rather than are simply recognizing that the police cannot be everywhere, all the time, and that the police are not intended to be, and do not act as, public bodyguards?

    > … how do I know he’s not a nut? How do I know he’s not
    > so afraid he’ll use that thing?

    As I said before, look beyond the gun. If all you can see is the gun, if all you are basing your judgement on is the gun, then you are behaving with irrational fear. Make a rational judgement of the _entire_ person. Are they behaving in a suspicious manner? Are they belligerent? Are they acting in a manner that seems unjustifiably fearful?

    I did not make a blanket statement that “they are not dangerous”. I said that those who carry lawfully are very unlikely to be a danger, given actual historical statistical data. How perfect must the history of behavior of those who lawfully carry be before you can believe that the odds are vastly against any particular random one you encounter causing a problem?

    I will answer your question again. The odds are strongly against a person who lawfully carries “being a nut” or being so irrationally afraid of the people around him (or her!) that he will violently overreact. I am sorry I cannot provide an ironclad guarantee of safety or infallibility for you, but you can’t get that for _any_ activity in which humans are involved. If that is the standard you are seeking and you will accept nothing less then it is fruitless to debate you, because it cannot be achieved.

  43. Lisa says:

    Personally, I do not like to mess with guns because I do not feel comfortable handling one. My husband does have a concealed weapons permit and does on occasion carry a gun but it is always concealed. He does this so that other people around do not feel intimidated or concerned. To solve this problem, gun owners should be respectful of those in society who do not feel comfortable and they should keep them concealed when in public places if at all possible. To blatantly display a gun while walking in a public place, if you are not an officer, is almost like a cry for attention, not an intention to protect oneself.
    Also, why are we not making a big deal out of people who have been convicted of DUI’s repeatedly getting back into a vehicle under the influence and only getting a slap on the hand each time the are caught? Is this not a deadly combination? We should all be upset about that, as we are all at risk! This is a much bigger issue than a law abiding citizen carrying a gun!

  44. John Hardin says:

    Lisa:

    > Also, why are we not making a big deal out of people who have been
    > convicted of DUI’s repeatedly getting back into a vehicle under the
    > influence and only getting a slap on the hand each time the are caught?
    > … This is a much bigger issue than a law abiding citizen carrying a gun!

    I agree most emphatically.

    > To blatantly display a gun while walking in a public place, if you are not
    > an officer, is almost like a cry for attention, not an intention to protect
    > oneself.

    In some cases that may be true, but it is unfair and unrealistic (verging on bigoted) to characterize most or all open carry that way. There are practical reasons to carry openly. It is easier and faster to draw an openly carried sidearm than it is to draw from concealment, and in most self defense situations speed counts. It’s also a great deal more comfortable than most forms of concealed carry, and _much_ safer than off-body concealed carry (as in a purse). And finally, though it’s purely subjective, open carry may have a deterrent effect on criminals.

  45. John Hardin says:

    Sorry; by “purely subjective” I meant there’s no objective data to support it; there are, however, anecdotes, such as:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-5619-Atlanta-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2010m2d18-Open-carry-deters-armed-robbery-in-Kennesaw

  46. I can see the new restaurant sections now. Smoking or non smoking? Gun or non gun?

  47. Pingback: OK, NOW will you admit guns in public are bad? | Blogging the Rambler

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