Saturday, May 24, 2014

It's getting harder everyday.

As many of my friends know, I support the Second Amendment, but I am not a radicalized shill for it.  I don't advocate for more guns, I do not believe the concept that we should have armed teachers roaming schools, or that the majority of people should have fully automatic rifles with hundred round drums attached.  I consider all firearms to be assault rifles when used against people, even if it is self defense, and if you think about my flawed logic, it does make some sense.  But I also feel that guns are a side effect of some other problems, something I claimed well before the NRA (who are insane) did.

But it gets harder almost everyday for someone who considers himself as gun moderate to defend the Second Amendment.  Another shooting in a college town, people who also support the Second Amendment acting out of line.  First, just because open carry (carrying a firearm in plain view is legal) does not mean that I will do so.  Yes, I have the right to carry, but I must respect your right not to see it.  It makes me uncomfortable to see some random stranger with a pistol on his or her waste.  I cannot imagine what its like to see someone walking around with an AR15 or AK47/74 plastered to their back.  I suppose it would make me even more uncomfortable, as it does many others.

Without doing the research, I would say that open carry applies to handguns, not long guns.  But even so, its not overly complicated or expensive to get a CCW permit as I did.  I am not going to pine about it being cheap or easy, the god I had ensured that it took several months to do, its not like I had the hundred and fifty dollars just sitting around, or the ability to take time from work as the classes are generally held over the weekend, when I worked.  Sure the class was a bit of a joke, we watched some videos, we played with a revolver, talked about gun safety, went to a range shot said revolver or our own handgun if we had it handy to prove we could hit a target.  From there we would go to our local sheriffs department, filled out the paperwork, some of us were fingerprinted, and we went home to wait.  After a wait of a few weeks (in my case a few days), we got a call, and returned for our permit.  I said in my case a few days, mine was fast tracked because I worked security, and I had someone show up at my home brandishing a pistol, making threats.  They never caught that man, but in the sheriffs mind, I was in dire need of a CCW permit.

Here is my thing, and its why I am finding it more and more difficult to support the Second Amendment in many cases.  I find it difficult to reconcile the difference between people who respect the privilege of carrying (as I do), and people who refuse to accept to respect the rights of others to not carry.  Specifically the desire to open carry whatever you have sitting in your safe at home.  Yes, I have the right to carry, but I also have to respect the rights of those around me.  Its why you are likely to find my conceal holster empty when I enter some stores.  Sure it isn't posted "No Firearms Allowed", but the owner or staff through simple conversations have made it clear it makes them uncomfortable that someone who is openly armed is in their establishment.

It is a give and take deal, but many of the people I hear about today are more into taking than giving, and that is my problem.  I use my right to carry, everyday, almost everywhere I go, but I also respect the rights of others.  There are some instances where it is not appropriate to carry.  They had a problem where open carry supporters, and Second Amendment supporters who are rabid walked into our local Social Security office openly armed.  It didn't make headlines, it was quietly dealt with by the armed security officer.  Yet, here we are in a federal government office, being asked if we had a firearm on us, and that we should come back if we were, by a twenty something security officer who was visibly nervous.  And I don't blame him for being nervous. 

I have personally been in that situation many times, both in instances where I was armed, and where I was not.  It is not a fun place to be.  Again, it comes to respecting other people.  He does not know that I am a peace loving fellow.  He doesn't know that what it takes to get me to draw down on someone else is a strong threat against the safety of myself or someone in my group.  By strong threat, I mean pointing a firearm at one of us, or shooting at one of us.  That is something that most of my peers on the Second Amendment side of this refuse to acknowledge, our intent is not known to others.  We might be peace loving people, who only want the added security of carrying, just in case something goes wrong.  Or we might just be Johnny Rambo looking for a reason to reenact the movie Shoot'em Up for no reason at all.

Its give and take, people have to respect our right to choose to carry, but we have to respect the rights of others not to openly subject them to our choice.  For the most part, businesses I do business with do not mind that I carry concealed (unless it is posted not to), but I earned that, by not being a douche.  I showed them respect, and in return I was granted respect.  It was often given after they observed me (via security camera or direct contact) that I do carry, and was told by staff not to worry about removing my firearm before entering.  They got to know me, I got to know them.  In the end they realized that my intentions were first to be respectful of those around me, and that I was not going to do something to put others in harms way if possible.

They also realized that I am mostly responsible.  I am not going to carry something that isn't drop safe, I am not going to openly show said firearm to anyone and everyone.  99% of the time, most people don't know.  Those who do know are pertinent parties.  If you are traveling with me, I will tell you I am carrying (again showing respect for those around me).  If we go somewhere where firearms are openly banned, or somewhere I haven't been, I remove it.  My supervisor knew I carried, my boss knew I carried.  And the only time I open carry is where I live, where I have expressed written and verbal permission to do so (I currently rent).  Again, showing respect for those around me.

But there is one other thing, it is called responsibility.  As someone who does carry, I have a responsibility to not make honest hardworking people feel nervous.  I have to be responsible when carrying a firearm, to keep something that is mostly safe for those around me.  To not draw attention to myself, basically to not set someone else up to want to start something.  I am not from Texas, I do not know how people there react to someone who is carrying open.  Where I am, you have a lot of very ignorant people, and open carry often results in baiting.  People who will go out of their way to get you to react.  I guess they think its the in thing to reenact the OK Corral.  But I do not, it is a lack of respect, and it is certainly not responsible to do so.