Monthly Archives: October 2008

Open vs. Concealed, Right vs. Privilege

I have a video collection of presentations that were given as the 2006 (or possibly 2005) Firearms Law and 2nd Amendment Symposium that I grabbed from the NRA ILA web site. In there, Brian Patrick of the University of Toledo makes an allusion to a tidbit of information I hadn’t heard elsewhere (and haven’t heard since). And that is that even before this country reached the sorry state that it is in where so many people get their undies in a bunch at the mere sight of a firearm, that among those that carried guns, concealling a weapon was considered unmanly and it was actually this old gun culture that contributed to legislation prohibiting conceal carry.

Though I haven’t been able to corroborate this claim, I bring that up because I see something coming from the open carry activist as well as something else from the conceal carry activists that both bother me. Not that we can be divided into those neatly segmented groups. Sure, there’s some overlap. But I have heard on more than one occasion, someone from OpenCarry.org make the assertion that “open carry is the right, conceal carry is the privilege”. I would like to know by what authority can someone make the claim that carrying a concealed weapon is not a right. All one has to do is witness this dash cam video of Danladi Moore being harassed by Norfolk Police and listen carefully to what they say to him regarding how harassing they are going to be if even lets the gun get ever-so-slightly covered:

at gunpoint in downtown Norfolk

Of course, the officer ignores the fact that Dan has a conceal carry permit. (Though, to be fair, I couldn’t hear if Dan actually informed the officers of that fact.) That, of course, is the point: without the conceal carry permit, he can’t comfortably risk carrying even openly in the face of this abusive, tyrannical police department.

And then there’s the conceal carry crowd. A certain three letter gun rights group frequently sends out surveys to its members asking their views on some gun related issues. One of those questions has got to be one of the most awkward contortions of the English language I’ve seen. It asks if members support “Right to Carry Permits”. Huh? You don’t need a permit to excercise a right. If you are going to advocate for permits, then at least admit that you aren’t acknowledging it as a right. “Conceal Carry Permit” would be more appropriate for what you’re advocating, I believe.

Of all the fighting that this group does for conceal carry, which it is effectively conceding as a privilege, I don’t think I’ve seen any advocating for what OpenCarry.org has been fighting for. Yes, there are only six states that outright prohibit it, but what about fighting for it in those six as well as working to eliminate the ‘anamolous’ states where it’s not prohibited outright, but because of a lack of pre-emption, it’s essentially prohibited. At least OpenCarry.org is honest about their position, erroneous as I believe it is, that they believe open carrying is the right, but concealing is the privilege.

The problem here is that whether you take the OpenCarry.org position or the NRA position, it forces you, if you are honest, to acknowledge that you are conceding that carrying a weapon, concealed or not, is a privilege. The problem lays in the fact that one official’s open carry is another official’s conceal carry. Just look at the despicable position of the current governer of Arizona.

She’s not willing to admit that it is a problem when someone gets arrested for illegally concealing a weapon simply because an officer approaches him from the non-gun side and can’t see the gun on the guy’s other hip. Her response on several occasions has essentially been “get a permit”. In other words in order to excercise the right to carry a firearm openly, which Arizona doesn’t unconstitutionally prohibit (except possibly by prohibiting in certain ‘sensitive’ areas, I don’t know), you need to get a permit to carry concealed or risk an obnoxious LEO hauling you downtown with a pair of nickel braclets.

Arizona is a year round warm climate, but what about seasonal places like the New England states. Ever try carrying openly on the *outside* of a heavy down winter coat? You effectively loose your ability to exercise your right to carry in New Hampshire (i.e.: without a permit) in the winter. Brilliant.

And as far as the NRA’s advocacy for conceal carry, how about at least attempting to push for Vermont style laws (or lack thereof). I haven’t heard a peep from the NRA about possibly pursuing that. Indiana now has lifetime conceal carry permits. Perfect opportunity for the first target area. Note that here I am acknowledging that the grass roots is where it has to start, but it would help to hear something from the leadership of our “leading” gun rights groups.

Let people who feel confident about their holsters, their retention skills, and their tactical awareness carry openly. And for those who would rather not give away an advantage, and can effectively conceal, let them carry concealed. Keep the criminals guessing. So the police are kept guessing, too. Isn’t that already the case? Criminals will conceal and not inform the police that they are concealing. How is forcing someone who has no ill intent to reveal to an officer — under penalty of law — that he is armed going to help him identify those with ill intent and will never reveal to the officer that he is armed (until he engages in his criminal activity and is, hopefully caught, stopped, and, if necessary, put down by either the cop, or an armed citizen)? Same goes for forcing him to get a ‘permit’ to conceal a weapon. The mere presence of a firearm does not put a police officer in danger. If it does, then why does he carry one? The presence of a criminal, on the other hand, who is likely to ignore all laws requiring him to reveal he is criminal (notwithstanding possible 5A infringements), does endanger an officer (not to mention, everyone else).

I’m not naive, by the way, about the current political situation. But remember what people were telling Marion Hammer in Florida when she was lobbying for shall-issue CCW permits in there. They told her it would never happen. And after it passed against all odds, it spread across the country to ~40 states like a brushfire. We’ve got Vermont and Alaska (sort of). Let’s get to work in IN and cause another brushfire.

1A can mitigate the need to exercise 2A

Well, at least some of the time.

To most free men, the right to speak freely is as important as the right to keep and bear arms. If that describes you, you should be following the case of Ezra Levant closely. Yes, I know, this is up in the land of our nothern neighbor, and we don’t have national or state (ironically named) “Human Rights Commissions” here in the US. But browse Ezra’s archives and you’ll see definite rumblings of it happening here in the good ole USA.

A recent example that sticks out is the case of Joey Vento of Geno’s Steak in Philadelphia. He has a sign posted in his store telling customers “This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING ‘PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.’” Someone, or many someones complained, and his case was referred to the city’s Commission on Human Relations, previously unknown to this author, at least.

And then, of course, there are the Islamic supremacists fighting in the Underworld of the Nazgûl for strategically misnamed defamation laws across the globe which are really nothing more than blasphemy laws. You can find plenty on that in Ezra’s archives, as well.

Start out by checking the archives from the very beginning of his blog around the beginning of this year. Look for the eight or nine part video of his hearing with the Alberta Human Rights Commission “Investigator.”

It’s been a while since I watched that interrogation, but I remember Ezra making an excellent point regarding just how important the right to free speech is. He pointed to some war torn areas of the world that got that way at least in part because citizens believed they had no other recourse. In the USA, we at least have a strong foundation for the redress of grievances. A process by which we can influence government and stop abuses of power and infringements on our rights. When citizens believe that speaking out has no effect, or carries with it the risk of imprisonment or violent suppression, then there is little else left to do but either submit and become enslaved, or resist using force.

So, although the right to keep and bear arms protected by our second amendment is extremely important, were it not for the right of free speech (and the like) protected by our first amendment, then we most certainly would, eventually, be exercising one of the rights implied by the second amendment: to fight against tyranny.

This is why that no matter who occupies the White House for the next four years, one of our most important fights is going to be to get campaign finance reform — or as others have more correctly termed it, the Incumbent Protection Act — repealed. It is a slippery slope that we have already stepped onto.

But getting back to Ezra Levant, I want to refer you to a particular post from August:

…I’m not really interested in trying to “convince” Moon — or anyone else at the CHRC — that censorship is wrong and freedom is right. I don’t need to convince them, because those are my natural rights, and I don’t need their permission. I think it’s a moral mistake to even grant the CHRC and its contractors the legitimacy as arbiters of right and wrong

Some months before reading that, I had an encounter with a foreigner who is here on a green card, and whose country of origin shall remain nameless, at least for the time being. He’s an admitted statist and believes the government should run everything. We were having a conversation about the right to keep and bear arms and he chimed in with “it’s a privilege, not a right.”

I walked away from the argument a little flustered. Not because I couldn’t defend my position of it being a right. I could. But because he stated it in a way I hadn’t heard before. Usually we hear either that it is a) a right, b) a right with some allowed limitations, or c) not at a right at all.

I hadn’t heard anyone say it was a privilege before and wasn’t prepared for how annoyed I was by it. I felt a little righteous indignation about the comment. And I found myself rehearsing in my mind what I might say to him should the topic come up again. It went something like this:

So, you think it’s privilege. Well, you smarmy little *blank*, I don’t care if you think it’s a privilege, I claim it as my natural, God-given right. And you, personally, cannot take that away from me. Not even the Brady Bunch can. Nor can my legislators, nor law enforcement officers, nor judges. Sure, they can oppress me by passing unjust laws, arresting and charging me when I exercise the right, or convicting me when I’m innocent of any wrongdoing, but nothing on God’s Green Earth will ever change the fact that it is my right. My final authority is not the opinions of men; it is the fact of God’s gift.

Roberta X asks “why shoot?”

Here is a question that I was faced with recently. And frankly, I wasn’t happy with my response. Not in the comments on Roberta’s blog, but see below.

As I’ve said, I live in a relatively free state where there at least is no requirement for a permit to own any shotguns, rifles, or handguns. But this state is what OpenCarry calls an “anomalous” open carry state. It’s allowed at the state level, but there’s no preemption preventing localities from restricting it. And some certainly do. So we have a patchwork of ordinances that make it legally risky to carry openly. There is at least preemption for concealed carry.

But none of that really matters while in one’s own home. So I carry openly regularly in my home. But a few days ago I had someone come by and ring my doorbell. Doesn’t happen very often for the simple reason that I’m relatively new to the area and don’t know enough people who come by without calling first.

Before opening the door, I panicked and chickened out. I immediately disarmed (except I forgot about the two spare mags in mag holsters on my left hip) and went to answer the door. It was a cub scout with his father selling all that funky flavored popcorn to raise money for his pack. I was more than willing (even though I’m not wild about popcorn) to support the scouts. (Some day maybe I’ll blog about my rather short lived experience with the scouts, but that’s for another time.)

So I let the cub scout and his father in and proceeded to pick something from the catalog. The father then saw the large amount of ammo that I had recently purchased (a clearance sale at a price I couldn’t refuse) sitting on my kitchen counter and asked if I was a firearms instructor. My response was, “No, not an instructor, just a fan.”

*sigh*

First, I chicken out and disarm, just at a time when being armed makes more sense than ever…after dark when someone I don’t know rings the doorbell. And second, I revert to the “fun” aspect of shooting instead of the “freedom” aspect. I had a perfect opportunity to talk to someone about the Arms = Freedom equation and I blew it.

As an aside, it turns out that the father was a retired LEO who had most recently worked in the metropolitan area closest to my home. He only recently retired and got a job paying about twice as much at a jewler’s shop, only to be laid off four months ago and is now looking for work. I don’t know why it surprised me, but it did bother me that the first thing this retired LEO assumed was that I was a firearms instructor.

I do hope he gets a job soon. Preferable at a local range teaching civilians how to shoot. If he’s any good, that is. (smirk)

I’ve read quite a bit over the past few years indicating that the majority of in-the-trenches officers are in favor of an armed citizenry, but it is the Chiefs of Police and other bureaucrats who are against it. But I also hear quite a bit about training — many non-LEOs spend a lot more time practicing than most LEOs. And regarding accuracy, the hit rate (hitting the intended target) and wrong person not getting shot (intended target was the correct target) also tend to favor the non-LEOs. I have no numbers at the moment, but I’m sure I can dig them up if anyone asks.

I’m on a mission, now, to find as many friends and relatives who are LEOs or former LEOs (my brother-in-law is at least one) and ask them what they think and why. If my sole reader (heh) can do the same, we might have something to report back.

Freedom is Nonnegotiable

Does the world really need another gun blog? Maybe. Maybe not. But I can think of no better topic to write about given the fast approaching election and the lack of a real choice for freedom loving people. I may never gain the popularity of other gun bloggers out there, but that matters not to me. I think its important that more freedom loving people speak out against the increasing threats to those freedoms.

I grew up in a state in the northeast corner of the country that does not trust its citizens to run their own lives. Really, I often wonder if the entire country hasn’t gone down that same path. But some places are definitely much further down the path to socialism than others. That aside, I live in a much freer state as of a few years ago. At least in regards to firearms. And I’ve been making up for lost time, so to speak.

There are many reasons I love my freedom to keep and bear arms. But the most important among them is not the “ooh, shiny” fun of it. But that plays a small part, to be sure.

It’s not the target practice or shooting sports that so many find enjoyment in. Though I do enjoy that.

It’s not the hunting opportunities it provides. Though I’ve never hunted in my life, I have a great interest in starting, even at this (semi-)late stage in my life.

Believe it or not, it’s not even so much the self-defense — against both four legged and two legged creatures — aspect that captures my interest the most. Even though I see that as supremely important.

I’ve heard a lot about the gun culture (in a postive sense) in this country from many gun rights groups and the firearms tradition as well. And while all that is important, I don’t think I can put it any better than Suzanna Gratia-Hupp did in her testimony before Congress many years ago:

“…the second amendment is not about duck hunting. … but it’s about our right, all of our right to be able to protect ourselves from all of you guys up there”

I don’t know about you, but I could think of only one word when I heard that: Wow. And right in the face of one of the worst anti-rights congress-critter ever, as he smugly looked on.

So I hope that sets the theme. I guess it makes me an SNBI gun rights advocate. But I stand with David Codrea of The War on Guns when he references Yuri Orlov in the silliness of that moniker. Be that as it may, I wear the label proudly. Consider me a member of Merry Band of Three Percenters.