Police

The Unbearable Rightness of Being Armed

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Yesterday the California Assembly approved a bill that would make it a crime to openly carry a gun in public. Under current law, Californians may carry guns openly as long as they're unloaded—a fact that some gun owners have used to make a symbolic statement about their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The alarm generated by these displays gave rise to the bill, which now goes to the state Senate. The Los Angeles Times sums up the arguments pro and con:

Supporters of the bill…argued that the practice [of openly carrying guns] intimidates the unarmed and wastes police resources because officers frequently have to respond to worried callers saying there's a person with a gun outside Starbucks, or a similarly crowded public space….Opponents argued that there have been no serious incidents associated with openly carrying firearms in California, and called the bill a solution in search of a problem.

What's interesting is that carrying a concealed weapon, which by the logic of this bill's backers would be preferable, is much harder to do legally in California. In addition to undergoing training and passing a criminal background check, you need permission from the local sheriff or police chief, who decides whether you have "good cause" to carry a gun. Such a discretionary permit policy is now the exception in the U.S.; nearly 40 states either do not require a license or grant one to any resident who has a clean record and completes the training. But policies like California's used to be common, based on the premise that hiding a gun, as opposed to carrying it openly, reflected a sinister motive. As Justice Antonin Scalia noted in D.C. v. Heller, the 2008 Supreme Court decision upholding the Second Amendment right to armed self-defense, "the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues." But those laws allowed the carrying of visible weapons, which were deemed less threatening precisely because they were out in the open—exactly the opposite of the premise endorsed by the California Assembly yesterday.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence cites a poll it commissioned that indicates most Americans share this uneasiness about the open display of firearms (unless they're carried by police). The group does not provide the exact wording of the questions it used (which may have been biased against conspicuous gun toting), but the results are plausible. Question for discussion: What does this reversal of traditional assumptions about the proper way to carry a gun signify?

Previous coverage of gun-toting Starbucks customers here and here.

NEXT: Prohibition Can Cause Flesh to Rot

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  1. Does this law apply to the police?

    1. Excellent civil disobedience strategy. If this law passes, citizens who recognize its ridiculousness should make a 911 call whenever they see a cop on the street.

      “But I feel uneasy, and intimidated, any time I see a gun!”

      1. Makes sense. I’d be more afraid of a gun in the hands of an adrenaline junkie with a license to kill than a person who knows he’ll be punished severely for misusing it.

  2. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence cites a poll it commissioned that indicates most Americans share this uneasiness about the open display of firearms (unless they’re carried by police). The group does not provide the exact wording of the questions it used

    I have obtained secret copies of the polling questions:

    1) Are you comfortable with someone open carrying in a hospital gown?

    2)…that is disheveled in appearance and muttering to themselves?

    3)…with a large gold necklace?

    4)…with a ski mask on?

    5)…with a turban on?

    1. Damn you, sage. Beating me with your superior cut n’ paste skills, you’ve won this round…

    2. …while singing “Disco’s Out, Murder’s In” by Suicidal Tendencies?

    3. Hey, if “making white progressives uneasy” trumps civil liberties, we can strip out the “open carry”, and just petitioning to imprison people for wearing burkas or being black.

      1. No, it’s isn’t that their black.

        It’s that their black AND uppity.

        1. No, I’m pretty sure it’s the other kind that make them uneasy.

      2. ok, sounds good.

  3. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence cites a poll it commissioned that indicates most Americans share this uneasiness about the open display of firearms

    Yes, because making sure that 51% people don’t feel “uneasiness” trumps the Bill of Rights every day of the week.

    1. Yes, because making sure that 51% people don’t feel “uneasiness” trumps the Bill of Rights every day of the week.

      How does this apply to black people walking down the street.

      If 51% of Americans share uneasiness about black people walking down the street, how is this relevant to the 14th Amendment?

      1. black people are not guns, guns kill people

        1. I mean, I could say something right here, but I won’t…

          1. I carried M16 rifles for years in the US Army and never saw one get up on it’s own and hurt anyone.

    2. If all it takes is for people to dislike and be “uneasy” about something to make it illegal, where is the survey on the IRS?

  4. What does this reversal of traditional assumptions about the proper way to carry a gun signify?

    Parataxic distortion.

  5. Do they have to show the dude with his ass hanging out of his Levis, with every firearm story.

    1. Maybe if you ask nicely, they’ll use lobster girl next time. I think she’d look hot kissing an AR-15.

      1. I’m kind of fond of Reason Gear Girl myself. Skinny, blond, good tan, wholesome looking, entirely the opposite of the kind Girl that I’m usually attracted too,

        http://hrsugarfree.blogspot.co…..7901559791

        but variety is the slice of life.

        1. Yeah, she definitely looks better after loosing the hoody and possible meth addiction. I don’t know if it was the lighting or what, but that was not a good look for her.

          1. Gear Girl has the fresh face that Jenna James had starting out in the porn industry for the first five months (before the meth, before the fake boobs, before having to fuck the Hedgehog gave her that vacant gaze).

  6. Supporters of the bill…argued that the practice [of openly carrying guns] intimidates the unarmed

    I wasn’t aware that the criminal law should be used to assuage the feelings of the irrationally fearful. But I’m old-fashioned that way.

    and wastes police resources because officers frequently have to respond to worried callers saying there’s a person with a gun outside Starbucks, or a similarly crowded public space

    Err, no. The police don’t “have” to respond, and they can choose not to. I wasn’t aware that poor choices by the police in resource allocation was supposed to be remedied by the criminal law, either.

    1. I wasn’t aware that the criminal law should be used to assuage the feelings of the irrationally fearful. But I’m old-fashioned that way.

      Mr. or Ms. Dean – it is apparent that you do not live in California, the People’s Republic of Political Correctness. Their concept of the purpose of government is to make every one feel happy. No protection of liberty, contract, or basic rights (say: “Self Defense”) shall hinder the legislatures goal of “taking care” of the people’s happiness.

      1. My happiness is related to the amount of time I can carry my handgun openly.

  7. I think ALL Americans should be REQUIRED to open caryy a sidearm. The crime rate as we know it would vanish!

    Liz
    http://www.anon-posting.at.tc

    1. You would, Proto-Terminator.

      1. I suppose this is as good a place as any to post the requisite Archie Bunker gun control reference.

    2. swords, we should all be required to carry swords and live to the code duello…

  8. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence cites a poll it commissioned

    How can you argue with that?

    1. The science is settled.

      1. Racist.

  9. Under current law, Californians may carry guns openly as long as they’re unloaded

    Based on previous discussions (and comments from Californios) here, my impression is “carry” as used here is intended to refer merely to the regrettable need to move one’s scary gun from one place to another, as in “carrying it to the car” (hopefully in order to surrender it to the police).

    1. Not much use in carrying it for any other purpose if it is unloaded.

  10. I think the black panthers handled this the right way:

    “On May 2, 1967, the California State Assembly Committee on Criminal Procedure was scheduled to convene to discuss what was known as the “Mulford Act”, which would ban public displays of loaded firearms. Cleaver and Newton put together a plan to send a group of about 30 Panthers led by Seale from Oakland to Sacramento to protest the bill. The group entered the assembly carrying their weapons, an incident which was widely publicized, and which prompted police to arrest Seale and five others. The group pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of disrupting a legislative session.[41]”

    1. That is precisely when open-carry was outlawed; also known as scaring the white people.

    2. The squeaky axle gets the grease.
      Defend your rights or lose them.

  11. This is “reasonable regulation,” no doubt.

    Priveleges and Immunities Clause? No such thing.

  12. Yesterday the California Assembly approved a bill that would make Emperor decreed it a crime to openly carry a gun in public.

  13. As a North Carolina resident, my state has deemed it worthwhile to respect my right to openly carry a gun without a permit. I take advantage of this whenever possible. However, they have fortunately spared the hoplophobic populace from having to see my gun in any place which charges admission, outdoor gatherings (?), financial institutions, government buildings, within 500 yards of a school campus or within any establishment which sells alcohol for immediate on-premise consuption.

    In other words, I can technically open carry without a permit, but anywhere worth going is out of bounds.

    1. In other words, I can technically open carry without a permit, but anywhere worth going is out of bounds.

      My nation of the heart, currently known as “The Lone-Star State”, did this one even better:

      Here you can only carry “openly” while hunting (Liberals and legislators are treated as being endangered species ? a complete canard ? and are “out-of-season”, permanently). When the “Shall Issue” legislation was written and passed in the early 90’s, the law granted owners of certain businesses ? stores, malls, etc. the right to bar concealed carry permit holders by posting a sign on each “public” entrance. Additionally, the bill barred carry in certain specific locations: churches (since modified ? at the request of ministers, I think), bars & restaurants with bar service, liquor stores, restaurants alcoholic beverage service (a bar), and others I can’t remember. Basically, you can carry concealed (with a 2nd Amendment violating permit from the Texas Secretary of State’s office) in your home, your business (as an owner, or with his permission), in your car (with special provisions for your behavior when stopped by police), at the gun range. Naturally, in the liberal high population centers (the Houston, San Antonio-Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth super cities) most businesses immediately put signs up barring concealed carry holders.

      Before anyone starts an angry retort: I completely support a business owners desire for to control activities on his property, but this law gave governmental power to private citizens/corporations, while exempting the off-duty peace officers and state officials who carry concealed. Early on there was talk of boycotts, but even the city with the highest per-capita permit holders rate (Arlington, in Tarrant County) were never more than a fraction of a percent of the total population.

      1. A recent change (I think it was just a reinterpretation) is that you can carry in your car without the permit.

      2. In NC, business owners can express their wishes to not have weapons on their property by displaying an obvious sign conspicuously at all common entrances. However, violating this is considered merely a trespassing violation as you are on premise against the owners will. This is one of the few “common sense” provision which I agree with.

        1. In GA a business can post all the “No Guns” signs they want but it is meaningless until they ask you to leave AND you then refuse. Then it becomes misdemeanor trespassing

          1. or a fire fight depending…

          2. Ditto for KY. Which is great for concealed carry, because if you conceal properly, how iwll they ever know?

      3. There are very specific requirements for the appearance of such signs before they take effect, legally. I have yet to see a sign in any of these “liberal high population centers” that meets the requirements. Therefore, you can legally carry pretty much anyhwere not specifically prohibited by statute.

        1. Ironically, the section of the Texas Penal Code that governs the text and nature of the sign is 30.06… you’re right Dr. K, that the vast majority of signs prohibiting carrying concealed do not meet that statute. My old employer’s landlord must have had sharp counsel, as they did have complying 30.06 signs.

          1. It is unlikely a cop is going to care about a non-conforming sign. They’re going to assume you can read and punt you off the premises anyway.

      4. Are you actually from any of these places? I live in Austin, lived in Fort Worth for years, and have visited San Antonio and Houston numerous times. I have never once seen one of these signs even in Austin! I know of their existence, but even though there are a lot of liberals–especially here–I have never seen one.

        1. What I usually see are signs saying you must conform to Texas’ carry laws on premises. All the major chain grocery stores have them, for example. They don’t actually forbid carry, however.

    2. In my state, the right to open carry is constitutional protected. And the state supremes shot down a city that tried to ban open carry in their parks.

      The only restrictions are places banned by the federal government, certain government buildings, and, I think, bars. Concealed carry is banned in bars, assuming open carry is too. Restaurants that serve alcohol are NOT banned. The bar section of said restaurant, on the other hand, would be.

      1. Maps of open carry laws by state.

    3. Bzzzt. You are speaking of the regulations for *concealed carry*. Only some of those ( the alcohol, gov buildings and school ones ) apply to open carry.

    4. Whether you can openly carry a gun in NC without legal consequences depends on how your trial judge or jury interprets the ‘going armed to the terror of the public’ statute. Most lawyers I have talked to however advise against it.

  14. This is all FAT RUSH’s fault!

  15. “What does this reversal of traditional assumptions about the proper way to carry a gun signify?”

    Um, that people insist on being lied to about their own safety? That out-of-sight, out-of-mind is better than knowing the truth?

  16. Our CCW permit laws in NC are about the same as the open carry laws. The state will issue us a permit to carry a concealed handgun with a great many exceptions on when and where we can carry it. The list of exceptions is so long, vague, and complicated that there is no practical way to know when your carry is legal, although you can often determine when it is not. It is impossible as a practical matter to carry a concealed weapon and go about a normal day in NC without violating the law several times. (How close is that school..or that day care center..or that DUI school? Is it 475 yards away? If so, you’re in violation?) I wonder if other state’s CCW laws are as disappointing as ours.

    1. NC is totally fucked up,legally and politically, in so many ways.

      I’m amazed y’all stand for paying for that LEO-issued permit just to buy a single handgun , especially in a private sale

      1. Yeah tell me about it. As it turns out my permit from PA is still good here in NC. I will not be staying in this state for long so I am not worried about it expiring.

        Coming from an NC resident, Fuck NC and Pa as well.

  17. Answering the question of the folks from North Carolina, review the regulations posted for us from New York on the Laws of the Assembly website. Penal law 400 is the exemption (note the term) to the permit required to possess or carry a handgun in this state. Without it, you have just committed a Class D Felony. The latter is contained in Part 263, the general weapons regulations.

    For all intent and purposes, these permits are for concealed carry only (mostly by convention); open carry is ususally considered “Brandishing” and that is a misdemeanor (and may get your permit permanently revoked). Allowances are made for hunting; that is when you are in the woods persuing a legal game species or at a shooting range. Otherwise, you must carry concealed. That is, if the County Clerk did not issue some strange restrictions on your permit (technically that is illegal; Part 400 does not allow for permit restrictions).

    Factor in to that, you may possess and carry only handguns that are registered to you. An unregistered handgun is a Class E Felony; even if you are a Permit Holder.

    Depending on County, the permit is about $200 to obtain. About $50 for the NRA 4 hour course, $20 for the permit photos, $80 for the DCJS background investigation, $20 for the fingerprints at the County Sheriff’s office and other miscellaneous cost. Once paperwork is submitted, you may wait for 4 – 10 months for approval if nothing is wrong. Unless our Legislature deems to screw the taxpayer once again; most permits issued by Upstate Counties are “Good until Revoked”; in essence, lifetime. The worst wait I had for a NON-RESIDENT permit was 3 months for my New Hampshire Renewal; and that was a full rights CCW.

    So I carry concealed and have not looked back. I don’t get funny looks and are not subject to unnecessary invective. No need to spend many dollars for lawyers and quality time with the police.

  18. Off Topic, but the editors need a heads up. Mises.org is carrying an excellent article on Heinlein in relation to Libertarianism. If that isn’t candy for conversation in these parts, what is?

    http://mises.org/daily/4428

    Weird, the Sugarfree site I linked upthread automatically hyperlinked the URL, but it doesn’tr this time around, and I don’t see anything structurally different between the two. I think I liked it the old way before it became a guessing game. I had a tiny Lua script to type out the tags for me but threw it away before I knew the new parameters were inconsistently applied. 🙁

    1. I’ve been able to work around it by previewing. If it doesn’t work in preview, I copy my post, refresh and paste it back. I just thought it was my browser (opera). Guess not.

    2. I’ve noticed it shows up more consistently when I preview it too, but that solution doesn’t always work, and I have the habit of refreshing just before writing up a post than after so it shouldn’t be a problem related to updating the page, but could be.

    3. alan, it would help if you included your views of the article (not)linked to start a conversation.

      Personally, I could see that Heinlein would be able to write about libertarian ideas without being fully adherent to libertarian philosophy. Being an individualist, which I believe Heinlein was, and also a talented author, it is not a stretch to imagine his writing as creative posturing, rather than ideological commitment.

      1. Heinlein is probably the second most influential libertarian writer of the 20th Century. I find the 1st insufferable.

        1. Do you think that Heinlein writes libertarian stories, or that he is a libertarian that writes stories?

          1. Generally the latter, but The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the former.

        2. A good summation! I agree.

          1. About Heinlein?

  19. Under current law, Californians may carry guns openly as long as they’re unloaded

    So, can you openly carry an unloaded gun in public, with ammo magazines in your pocket or in a separate container on your belt? Seems like a bit of a loophole to me.

    1. And how would that keep douchebags from being scared? They won’t assume it’s not loaded, you know, since you are a scary gun owner and probably racist.

  20. It is still legal to walk around with a fully loaded bandolier isn’t it?

  21. If I conceal a gun, then use it in a crime, then throw it away, there are a lot fewer witnesses that can be called to attest to having seen me carry the gun. I’d likely get away with the crime.

    If I openly carry a gun, I might be wrongly accused of a crime and my open carry has increased my odds of being charged with a crime I didn’t commit.

    This is the logic that a seriously dysfunctional criminal justice considers normal. There is no reversing it as individuals lose power – and if they are not allowed into the government gang they have little choice but to join private gangs to ensure their safety.

  22. I am so proud of my state, the Brady campaign scored us a ZERO.
    http://www.bradycampaign.org/s…..recard/UT/
    We’re so bad Nevada and New Mexico no longer honor our CCW cards

    1. The whole “near beer” thing cancels this out though.

    2. Ky scored a 2. And to be honest, the 2 is slightly more libertarian than Utah, at least as worded on the Brady site.

      Ky doesnt force colleges to allow carry on campus. Ky has no prohibition against it either. Which for private schools, leaves it up to them, which is okay by me. The problem is the state colleges.

  23. You know, you can find San Francisco criminal attorney here

  24. You know, you can find San Francisco criminal attorney here

  25. Here’s a good advertisement for firearms freedom

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.c…..nt31m.html

    1. Man accidentally shoots himself in testicles

      Well there’s one for the Darwin Awards.

      Dope.

      It’s called a “holster”. Never just stuff your gun in the waistband of your pants.

  26. Virginia is pretty good as far as individual carry. And we just got a few pro-gun laws passed. We’re shall issue for concealed; no permit needed to carry openly. There is the perennial debate as to whether it is preferable to carry openly or concealed, with arguments and various rationales in favor of each (I come down on the “concealed” side, myself).

    I’m just glad to no longer live in NJ – for many reasons; this is just one of them.

    1. Me too. I still remember the hysterical shrieking from the Brady Bunch when VA became Shall Issue. Try as I might, I can’t seem to find the huge pile of corpses that they predicted would result.

  27. Good article. Agree wholeheartedly. Have to say that I’m more afraid of that fellow showing his “plumbers crack” than I am of his .45!

  28. California legislators can’t balance the budget and they are concerned about citizens open carrying a firearm?
    We have a right to carry a firearm for personal protection. If these legislators don’t like the Constitution of the the United States, they are free to move out of the United States! You will not tell me
    how or where I can carry a firearm. Firearms save lives.

  29. The reason WHY the sight “alarms” the public is that they’ve been brainwashed into thinking that ONLY the police have the right to guns. The entire purpose of the movement was to teach the public that their own neighbors have guns and are NOT a threat. That point seems to have been lost on the politicians.

  30. “What does this reversal of traditional assumptions about the proper way to carry a gun signify?’

    That we have become a society based not on Reason, but emotion based visual stimulation. All the anti-gun politicians are surrounded by armed bodyguards, often with automatic weapons. But they are out of sight and thus acceptable. We will simply pretend they do not exist.
    I also agree with T.S. Jones. We have been brainwashed to become a society where Big Brother and only Big Brother is to be trusted with arms. Which flies in the face of history, but there you go with the lack of Reason again.

    1. But Big Brother is not a real person, only a name for an entity composed of persons that employs persons. So it’s still persons with guns, it’s just that those persons additionally have some other stuff.

  31. Hopefully, the big earth quake predicted for California will happen soon and all the bleeding heart liberals afraid of their own shadows will just float away into the Pacific.

    1. As a resident of California, I must unfortunately agree with you.

  32. Like other posters, I’m left wondering why someone feeling “threatened” by my open-carry is suddenly MY problem.

    This state gets bluer and bluer. The sensible voters get run out of here by the anti-job, anti-business, anti-gun, anti-freedom Left, and the illegals come pouring in to replace them…whom the same Left grants amnesty and voting rights.

    I won’t even get started on our Legislature’s misplaced priorities. Along with this turkey, they’re also trying to pass a new state-level registry on newly-acquired long guns. Like others, I’m wondering how they have time for this with unemployment through the roof and the state budget swimming in red ink.

    It gets worse every year.

  33. Maryland has had the quote ” finding clause ” for over 40 years. It is BS.

    ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS REQUIRED PER HANDGUN PERMIT CATEGORY:
    a) Owner or Employee of a Business: Submit photocopies of the Traders License or Business License, and if the purpose of the permit is for:
    (i) Making deposits: Photocopies of six (6) random deposit slips for the business showing the deposits within a year of the application submission date or a letter from the bank attesting that your business has a monetary flow.
    (ii) Cash Flow: Photocopies of Ten (10) receipts showing purchases for supplies and/or payments received for services.
    (iii) Requesting a permit for one of your employees, or if you are an employee and you have permission from your employer to obtain a permit: A letter from your employer on the business stationery, explaining in detail why you need to carry a gun as part of your duties.
    b) Professional Activities: Doctors, Pharmacies, etc., Must show evidence of legitimacy of business activity and valid certification or license.
    c) Correctional Officers: Must submit verification of employment and documentation of threats and assaults.
    d) Former Police Officer: If you have resigned or retired, you must show evidence of your tenure in law enforcement, such as a letter from your Agency.
    2
    e) Private Detective/Security Guard/Special Police & Railroad Police Commissions: All applicants who are employed as Private Detectives, Security Guards, Special Police, and Railroad Police, must submit a certification of qualification with a handgun from a Maryland State Police Certified Handgun Instructor on an MSP form. A copy of the form letter supporting “good and substantial reasons,” ownership of weapon, and location where the weapon will be maintained, is also required. (This form can be obtained from your employer).
    f) Personal Protection: There must be documented evidence of recent threats, robberies, and/or assaults, supported by official police reports or notarized statements from witnesses.

  34. Is OK effendi! I yust dig up my gonnes when poop hits fan and shoot any white guys that come to me get my virgins and have Allah stryke lighting bolt on their heads. Only good amerikanner is daid white one!

  35. California much like Illinois, fun to watch but I’m sure glad I don’t live there. BTW, after a cost of billions and no positive effects, Canada is doing away with a long gun registry much like Cal. is adopting. Fortunaly, Cal. has much more money to waste on such things, right? In the meantime go to “www.appleseedinfo.org” for a different view of the world.

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