Posted from Las Animas
It is encouraging to find editorials in favor of armed citizens...h/t OpenCarry.org
June 16, 2008
Our View - Monday
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Carrying firearms a chance to educate public
Have you ever watched a Western movie and noticed the cowboy who looked out of place, but you couldn't figure out why? At some point in the movie it is pointed out that ol' Slim doesn't pack iron because he killed/nearly killed an innocent man/woman/child years ago and he swore he'd never touch another gun. How Slim deals with his demons is his own business; the point is that he stand out because he's not wearing a six-shooter.
These days the tables have turned and now most people are not seen with a handgun perched on their hip. When one sees someone carrying a gun, one usually assumes the armed person is either an off-duty police officer or someone up to no good.
Most likely both assumptions are wrong.
There is a growing cadre of law-abiding gun owners who use their everyday interactions with others to educate them about firearms and our rights. According to a Los Angeles Times story, most states allow people who aren't barred from owning or carrying firearms to carry them openly. That is the way things should work in a free society; what isn't specifically forbidden is allowed. And government must have a good reason to forbid something.
Open carry is legal in Colorado, except where specifically banned. Locally, open carry was the subject du jour in 2003 when a man began carrying a shotgun with him as he went about his business. When his business included attending City Council meetings, council members took notice and banned open-carry in city-owned buildings. El Paso County has a similar law. Other than government buildings, including public schools and post offices, carrying firearms openly is legal most places in the Pikes Peak region.
Property owners have the right to forbid customers to carry on their property. We'd urge them to err on the side of freedom.
When people see firearms owners as the friendly guy ahead of them in line at the grocery store or the woman sharing a joke with them at the coffee shop, they're likely to have a good opinion of firearms owners. Too often, the only thing non-owners hear about firearms is in connection to criminal activity. That unfairly casts legitimate owners in a bad light.
It's not just men packing iron these days, either. More women than ever before are attending firearms safety classes and carrying guns, openly or concealed. They know that firearms can be a safety factor for someone who knows how to use them. A 250-pound thug will think twice when he discovers his 130-pound intended victim is not inclined to do his bidding and has the ability to protect herself and her rights.
Firearms dealers and shooting clubs are presenting classes specifically aimed at educating women about firearms. Manufacturers are responding to this new market by rolling out firearms designed for women's smaller hands.
Open carry is not without its problems, though. Many police officers might not be aware of the legality of the practice and are apt to err on the side of caution when they come in contact with an armed citizen. Other people can feel uncomfortable in the presence of a firearm and might complain to management or call the police. Those who carry openly must be ready to explain their rights and let others know they don't present a threat.
It can be a dangerous world, and the recent budget cuts show there won't always be a police officer or sheriff's deputy around to protect everyone. Even if government had enough money to put an officer on every block, he could be at the other end of the block when some bad actor demands your wallet or kicks in your front door. Ultimately, each person is responsible for his or her own safety. And if gun owners can educate the public on positive aspects of firearms, everyone is better off.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Posted by No Apology at 7:55 AM