Guns: Not Just for the Home Anymore

The Washington Post has an interesting profile of longtime libertarian activist and fighter for gun possession rights, Tom Palmer. Palmer was one of the original plaintiffs in the Heller case, which vindicated the Second Amendment by overturning D.C.'s ban on handgun ownership. (Palmer was booted from the case for technical standing reasons before it reached the Supreme Court.)

Palmer is now one of the plaintiffs in a new legal challenge to still-existing D.C. laws that prohibit the public carrying ("bearing," as in "the right to keep and bear arms") of your gun in D.C.

The Post story features Palmer's dramatic retelling of the incident that convinced him in his bones, not just from his philosophical predilections, that bearing arms in public can save lives, since his bearing arms saved his from some gay-bashing thugs. (That story is also told in my book on the Heller case, Gun Control on Trial.)

The story also nicely sums up the public policy reasons--as opposed to constitutional reasons--why some people in D.C. are scared to death of a victory for Palmer and his fellow plaintiffs:

Peter Nickles, the District's attorney general, [thinks] allowing handguns to be kept in homes in one of the most dangerous cities in the country was bad enough. Permitting people to pack heat while they walk around -- amid presidential motorcades, foreign dignitaries, public protests -- is downright crazy, he says. And it makes already difficult police work even harder.

"This is a unique jurisdiction, and it requires a unique sensitivity to balance safety and the Second Amendment right to, quote, bear arms," he says. "That's because it's the nation's capital. . . . So the idea that an individual should be able to carry arms on the street -- indeed, concealed on the street -- is very scary."

Jonathan E. Lowy, a lawyer with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, says he thinks the case, pending in U.S. District Court, is open and shut.

"To force the general public to be exposed to the risk of loaded guns when they are out with their family in public areas is outrageous and has absolutely nothing to do with the right to defend the home," he says.

As Tim Lynch, who like Palmer works at the Cato Institute, explains, "Most criminal attacks occur outside the home (around 87%) and the criminals are armed and always have the advantage of choosing when they’ll strike — and that’s usually when there are no cops around."

Thus, if the right to defend yourself against assault should be honored by the U.S. government, there is little reasonable justification for restricting that right to only the home. And there is no civilized right more basic than self-defense; indeed, to make such defense more efficient and wide-ranging is one of the only legitimate reasons for government at all, thus making localities' attempts to bar its citizens from practicing the right effectively particularly pernicious.

Wiki's useful page of national laws regarding concealed public carry of weapons. The L.A. Times on the controversial "open carry" movement where you let your self-defense flag fly by letting everyone see you are strapped. Rep. Cliff Stearns (Re-Fla.) in Human Events defends his state's "shall issue" standard, which is more and more the standard across the nation, for issuing carry permits as a sensible, and constitutional, public safety measure, for Florida and everyone.

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  • ||

    The Post story features Palmer's dramatic retelling of the incident that convinced him in his bones, not just from his philosophical predilections, that bearing arms in public can save lives, since his bearing arms saved his from some gay-bashing thugs.

    As the Pink Pistols say, "Armed gays don't get bashed." Not that there's anything wrong withg being unarmed, just saying. I may not feel comfortable with you doing what you're doing with your partner and that Glock, but I will defend your right to defend yourself doing it.

  • Jerry||

    Just don't forget to put the safety on. You don't want people thinking we're promoting unsafe sex here.

  • wayne||

    Duh.... Glocks don't have a safety, they are unsafe by design. I love 'em!

  • ||

    Glocks have several safeties, just not the conventional kind, though you could have an external safety installed if you really wanted.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Your finger is your first safety. Leave it off the trigger and you are fine.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    spoken by a true Chairborne Ranger, that's for sure. Have any other advice for us, Cletus?

  • ||

    As someone who carries a pistol 24/7 I can attest that Tagliaferro is basically correct, except the safety isn't in your finger, it's between your ears.
    If you think the safety is a mechanical device you qualify as a Chairborne Ranger.

  • Plaxico||

    What's that?

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Unless you are doing a photoshoot with your harpy of a girlfriend.

  • ||

    "This is a unique jurisdiction, and it requires a unique sensitivity to balance safety and the Second Amendment right to, quote, bear arms," he says.

    I could just see that weasel making the 'air quote' with his hands as he did that. And BTW, when you treat the area as a militarized zone, there's no balance to be had.

    ...criminals are armed and always have the advantage of choosing when they’ll strike — and that’s usually when there are no cops around."

    When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

  • LarryA||

    I could just see that weasel making the 'air quote' with his hands as he did that.

    Topping that, there’s the Fish & Wildlife Service, concerning the new rules for National Wildlife Refuges. From the press release:

    Persons with so-called firearm "carry" permits will be able to possess firearms on a refuge in accordance with the provisions of the state issued permit.
  • JD||

    Well of course it's a "unique jurisdiction"! You can't have peons carrying arms around their betters! Don't know you that "Well, this one is different" is a perfect answer to any Constitutional issue?

  • JSinAZ||

    Remind me: where does the second amendment say anything about "the right to defend the home"? I don't recall the amendment being limited in this way...

  • ||

    This is a unique jurisdiction, and it requires a unique sensitivity to balance safety and the Second Amendment right to, quote, bear arms

    Of course it is. An armed peasant is an insolent peasant.

  • Me||

    Wisconsin residents recently exercised their right to openly carry. The rally occurred in part as a response to an earlier incident when an officer harassed a resident who was openly carrying.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/84928722.html

  • ||

    DC's a unique jurisdiction, all right. Special. Like short bus special.

  • Mikey||

    Put on your helment and quit licking the fucking window!

  • Warty||

    The Brady cockpuller has an interesting definition of force.

  • ||

    I think the definition of Brady Cockpuller is having an inverse understanding of force to the rest of us.

  • American Delight||

    If you take a firearm into a "public space," the Democrats say that's unsafe. If you take a firearm into a "private place," like a privately owned business, Democrats and a surprising number of Republicans say that's a "violation" of property rights of the business you've brought the firearms onto. With politicians like this, the only thing we're left with is a firearm within our own four walls. What a damn joke.

  • ||

    I'm with you AD, however as libertarians we can't lose sight of private property rights either. If a business doesn't want guns on property, they should not be forced to accept them.

  • Capt. Koons||

    If a business doesn't want blacks on it's property...same answer? I don't think so.

  • Bob #2||

    It's still exactly same answer. Of course, such a business wouldn't remain IN business long...

  • TomG||

    Does anyone else remember a made-for-TV movie back in 1985 or 86 where a town decided to allow open-carry? Can't remember the name but the first scene was the main character's wife getting killed in a restaurant, and he got this ordinance passed. Later in the movie, there was a great scene where some criminals from out of town wanted to rob a store, only they kept noticing all the citizens inside were wearing guns. So they fled.

  • Anonymous TV Viewer||

    Yes. As I recall, it ended when some average mild-mannered guy with a gun got into an argument at a restaurant, and shot some innocent lady by accident, rather than the guy he was arguing with.

    The protagonist realized what a terrible mistake he had made in working for gun rights.

    UPDATE: It was called "The Right of the People"

    www.imdb.com/title/tt0091857/

    It had Malcom's mom Lois and Lando Calrissian in it.

  • tangent||

    Ladies and gentlemen, the Calculando Calrissian 2000

  • ||

    "So the idea that an individual should be able to carry arms on the street -- indeed, concealed on the street -- is very scary."

    Be afraid, since I guarantee individuals are carrying concealed arms on the street right now, and your laws didn't do a thing to stop them.

  • Almanian||

    + BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

  • Comrade Zero||

    For the "literal interpretation" crowd here:

    "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"

  • oncogenesis||

    A Primer on the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms

    For the "sensical interpretation" crowd.

  • ||

    I just don't understand what people are so afraid of. Is it the media feeding people constant messages that murderers and rapists are behind every corner?

  • ||

    The odds of my car catching fire are low, but it's not fear that has me carrying an extinguisher.

  • ||

    Look, if people carry guns, that turns them into murderers when they get into disagreements. Just the other day I was at a high school basketball game. If I had been permitted to carry into the arena, I would have shot several of the opponent's fans. Thank Science I was not allowed to carry, and have some gun make me a murderer. Instead I gave their side a really mean look and went and had pizza.

  • ||

    LOL

    +1

  • John Tagliaferro||

    That story is also told in my book on the Heller case, Gun Control on Trial.*

    Shameless book promotion! Shameless! I can't believe I am seeing that on these intertubez!

    *Seriously, from what I browsed it is very good.

  • JJ Daddy-O||

    If carry permits are granted in DC, this means that security measures will be ramped up considerably, resulting in even more distance between people and their government. Get ready for metal detectors at ALL Federal and City buildings. Fewer outdoor public events with politicians or any controversial speaker, etc., etc.
    When I lived in DC about 15 years ago,you used to be able to walk up the Capitol steps, look out over the city, hang around, etc., now the Capitol is turning into an armed camp.
    I am waiting for 12' hurricane fences topped by razor wire and machine gun toting guards asking you what your business is with your Senator if you want to approach closer than 5 blocks.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    The rain is thawing out the zombies that were buried by the snow storm as we type. Don't worry, the feds will be out of ammo by dawn and we will be free to walk the National Mall.

    Just walk fast in case they run out of ammo before they run out of zombies.

  • adam||

    I can't think of a federal building in DC that doesn't have a metal detector for visitors. Maybe a few of the museums? Certainly not any of the office buildings.

  • Joe||

    All the museums that I've been to in the last few years have metal detectors.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Same here. I make sure to tell anybody I am taking to one not to bring any weapons.

  • Evil Libertarian||

    All the city offices, including the DMV, have metal detectors too.

    It should be noted that DC's gun control law were in effect before this little incident, which is probably why they all have metal detectors.

  • ||

    Too bad the government buildings don't have "mental" detectors to keep out the moron progressives who feel we need to be protected from ourselves eh?

  • josey||

    Napolitano is worried about conspiracy groups, but it sounds like there is some projection going on here. They might be able to rig up a pretty good tinfoil hat if they use the Washington monument creatively.

  • Reynolds||

    YES! By the shiny metal gods YES! Call the lobbyists, we'll be in the black in no time!

  • adam||

    "To force the general public to be exposed to the risk of loaded guns when they are out with their family in public areas is outrageous and has absolutely nothing to do with the right to defend the home," he says."

    So true, that's why all the DC cops, FBI agents, Capitol Police, Secret Service, Diplomatic Protection, ATF agents, and the dozens of other law enforcement agencies in DC shouldn't be able to carry guns either. I mean, it's outrageous that I'm subjected all those loaded guns all over the place.

  • ||

    This is the hyprocracy of the gun control crowd. They claims how bad guns are, but they really do want guns to come to their aid when they call 911.

  • ||

    It's not hypocrisy. It's actually a toxic combination of projection bias and cognitive dissonance.

    Projection Bias: Talk to any gun grabber for any length of time, and you will find a person who believes that he, personally, not morally or emotionally equipped to comport himself appropriately while carrying a firearm. "I wouldn't trust myself with a gun," you will almost certainly hear him say. And because every gun controller is invariably the most reasonable, sensible, and well-adjusted person he knows, he has convinced himself that everybody else in the world is also a morally and emotionally retarded jackass with poor impulse control.

    Cognitive Dissonance: However, because his experience with arms-bearing LEOs has been that they are by-and-large not morally and emotionally retarded jackasses with poor impulse control, to square the circle he's forced to conclude that there is some component of "law enforcement training" that mystically alters ordinary humans to remove the jackassery and convert them into professionals, if not saints.

  • ||

    to square the circle he's forced to conclude that there is some component of "law enforcement training" that mystically alters ordinary humans to remove the jackassery and convert them into professionals, if not saints.

    That's an expression of the wider premise underlying all regulationists and interventionists: that the same human beings that are too stupid to take care of themselves suddenly become paragons of virtue and rationality when endowed with government power.

  • ||

    >I mean, it's outrageous that I'm subjected all those loaded guns all over the place.

    The only way I'd consider giving up the RKBA is if the government first proved to me that it had disarmed all of its minions.

    -jcr

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Peter Nickles, the District's attorney general, [thinks] allowing handguns to be kept in homes in one of the most dangerous cities in the country was bad enough.

    Well, there goes my plan to arm the D.C. homeless.

  • Mad Max||

    'one of the most dangerous cities in the country'

    Come now, it can't be *that* dangerous if people aren't carrying guns. Guns being illegal, DC residents resolve their disputes with good-old fashioned fisticuffs, or a civilized game of bridge. Yet even so, the crime rate is high. Obviously, it will increase even more if people are permitted to carry guns. ؟

  • Peter Nickles's Mother||

    "This is a unique jurisdiction"

    That's right, Honey.

    And you are a unique individual.

    Just like all the rest ....

  • G Mc||

    So fearmongering is bad when it's about terrorists, but good when it's about scary criminals who want to assault innocent gunless civilians.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    So fearmongering is bad when it's about terrorists, but good when it's about scary criminals who want to assault innocent gunless civilians.


    Fearmongering is used to juastify gun control laws. The lawmakers claim that we have to get the guns out of the hands of scary criminals.

    Bonus points if you can guess what skin color they think of when they talk about scary criminals with guns.

  • ||

    Personally, I think if everyone armed themselves, there would be little to no crime!

    Jess
    www.anonymous-tools.se.tc

  • Joel||

    Is it just me, or is anon-bot actually starting to contribute to the conversation?

    It's starting to frighten me. Goodness, I hope it isn't carrying a gun.

  • IceTrey||

    Of course they never mention that the police have no statutory requirement whatsoever to actually protect you from violent crime.

    http://dial911.itgo.com/

  • billy-jay||

    I don't get it. They let police carry weapons and they're among the most dangerous Americans.

  • ||

    "To force the general public to be exposed to the risk of loaded guns when they are out with their family in public areas is outrageous and has absolutely nothing to do with the right to defend the home"

    This guy is an idiot. The purpose of a firearm isn't to defend your home, it's to defend yourself and your loved ones, who are frequently at places other than your home.

  • ||

    As a man who lost his wife in a carjacking/shooting twenty years ago, let me just say I"ve wished for twenty years that she had been armed... no guarantees, but at least she'd have had a chance. So much might have been different. Instead there's a dope in Ohio doing life for murder and she never made it past the age of 32.

    I am remarried, and we have guns. Both of us agree, we're not going down without a fight.

    When you need the police in seconds, they'll be here in minutes.

  • ||

    The right to bear arms has nothing whatsoever to do with providing defense from criminal activity. The right to bear arms has everything to do with the defense from the government. The biggest threat to our safety is not the mugger, the burglar, or even the murderer. The biggest threat to our safety is the government.
    Those old white guys new what it was about.

  • ||

    ""The right to bear arms has everything to do with the defense from the government.""

    Couple of things to consider.

    "To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;"

    If you start and insurrection, the militia can be used to put you down.

    "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it"

    A rebellion is a reason to deny your prized right to challange your detention.

    So defense from the government becomes an iffy argument.

    It would be hard to properly define necessary defense from the government in a way that would be constitutional.

  • Tyler||

    For the sake of argument from a social contract perspective, that's what the Declaration of Independence was all about.

  • ||

    To succeed from England in order to form a more perfect union. Not to rebel against the newly formed more perfect union.

  • ||

    Besides, social contract theory isn't really a two way street. The government can alter the terms at anytime, you can't. If you don't like the society, you would need to find another, or change the rules via the allowed process, Congress.

  • ||

    Right. I can't imagine a constitution that could credibly include the explicit endorsement of violent revolution: "The people may at any time violently rebel against these articles."

    But the Second Amendment comes about as close as possible, especially considering that it is placed immediately after the clause in the first guaranteeing "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    The second clearly implies, "Just in case the government should disperse the assembly and tear up the petition . . . ."

  • ||

    The right of self-defense applies to all criminals, including that most dangerous type of such which is unconstrained government.

  • ||

    Typical gun control nonsense: all emotions, no logic.

  • ||

    The legislature here in Wyoming, is in the process of allowing conceal carry without having a permit to do so. It passed the House as a CoW (Committee Of The Whole) on a very wide vote last week. Now the bill is being considered by the state Senate and hopefully, it will pass that house as well. The only potential roadblock is the Governor, who is a Democrat and a very huge Obama supporter.

  • ||

    The legislature here in Wyoming, is in the process of allowing conceal carry without having a permit to do so. It passed the House as a CoW (Committee Of The Whole) on a very wide vote last week. Now the bill is being considered by the state Senate and hopefully, it will pass that house as well. The only potential roadblock is the Governor, who is a Democrat and a very huge Obama supporter.

  • ||

    From no carry to Vermont-style? Jeebus, that's a huge lurch. Good luck with that, Wisconsin.

  • ||

    ARgh, WYOMING. Never mind.

  • ||

    Peter Nickles, the District's attorney general, [thinks] allowing handguns to be kept in homes in one of the most dangerous cities in the country was bad enough.

    This is an example of what makes me so skeptical whenever I hear an anti-gunner say "we don't want to ban guns, we just want a few 'reasonable' gun laws". Aside from the elasticity of the word "reasonable" (especially in the hands of a politician), it seems to me that someone who thinks the very owning of a gun is crazy would not find a ban "unreasonable".

  • ||

    The only unreasonable ban in their eyes is a ban that applies to LEOs.

  • ||

    My wife and I bought two guns this year. A 12 gauge shotgun (with double ought buck cartridges) and a 22LR revolver. The first takes no prisoners and the second while maybe not lethal, unless you're lucky, is light weight enough for her and certainly a big deterent...as when a perp is facing it, he's not thinking about caliber, he's thinking about sieves.

  • ||

    While the 12 gauge is more effective do not underestimate the killing power of a .22 LR. Many people have met their maker after being shot by one and many hitmen use them as well. Even sub sonic .22s when slipped into a human skull can put out the lights.

    I open carry here in La., we have Concealed carry as well but why pay the government for a permit every 2 years for something I am already within my rights to do, Protect Myself. We even had the state pass a law saying corporations with their bullshit no gun in your car policies were violating our right to defend ourselves when going to and from work. So all you big corporate oppressers can shove your policy!

    When those telling you that you don't need a gun are surrounded by people with guns protecting them, know that is when you really need to make sure you have a gun yourself. Some of the most security heavy polticians are the most anti gun as well, go figure.

  • ||

    I've carried handguns pretty much constantly for nearly 35 years without a permit and regardless of jurisdiction. Mostly Glock, prior Browning Hi-Power.

    I have never had to show a gun (they're not for bluffing), only once being intimidated by a thug, and another time while with my young daughter. First time thug sensed lack of fear, and backed off quickly (the dirtbags have a 6th sense). Second time, my Daughter, then 12 years old, and scared to death, knowing that I was armed, and also knowing that if I pulled the pistol, I would shoot them a millisecond later, literally begged me not to shoot the assholes. They heard her and beat a hasty retreat.

    It was beautiful.

  • sathi2000||

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  • ||

    As one who lives in a conceal carry state it has been my experience that carrying a handgun puts one at ease. And while, fortunately, I have not had the occasion to draw my weapon I would if called upon in the defense of my life or any member of my family. Carrying makes the streets safer.

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