Where we’re headed: Pack heat, or else

Have y’all seen this?

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A House panel on Thursday will take up a bill that would allow anyone who can legally own a firearm in the state to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

The move to loosen gun laws comes in the wake of the Jan. 8 Arizona shootings that killed six and left U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, as well as a Dec. 14 incident in Florida where an armed man threatened school board members before he was fatally shot by security.

But rather than seeking to tighten gun restrictions, as some Democrats have urged President Barack Obama to do on the federal level, South Carolina lawmakers are looking at how to make it easier to carry weapons for protection…

Yes, it said LOOSEN our concealed carry law. You know, the one that I had thought had been already been made looser than a gang-banger’s waistband by previous legislation.

Why do we see legislation like this every couple of years? Because we get NEW ideologues in the Legislature who weren’t part of the previous liberalization, and felt left out, and are trying to make their mark and prove to constituents and posterity that THEY, personally, love guns more than anyone.

You know where this is going, don’t you? Another couple of election cycles with heavy Tea Party involvement, and we’ll have legislative newbies pushing legislation requiring us all to go armed at all times. (And if anyone complains that such compulsion violates their rights, they will blame Obama for starting the whole mandate trend with his health care thing.)

I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford it. Have you seen what guns cost these days? It’s not like in Lee Harvey’s day.

24 thoughts on “Where we’re headed: Pack heat, or else

  1. Steven Davis

    If the crooks all are carrying concealed firearms, why shouldn’t the honest, law-abiding citizens of this state be able to?

    Reply
  2. Brad

    Oops! There’s a flaw in my explanation!

    The sponsor is Mike Pitts, who is not TECHNICALLY a freshman, although he acts like one.

    I think HIS motivation is that he’s desperate to top himself, since he was previously known for his proposal to ban U.S. currency in SC and replace it with gold and silver.

    That’s a tough act to follow, and you wouldn’t want the poor fellow to fade from the headlines, would you? Have a heart.

    As for my explanation above — I’m going to leave it there, because even though it doesn’t fit the facts in this instance, it’s such a lovely, neat theory that I want to sit back and admire it awhile longer. Besides, it’s true in other instances, so if it doesn’t fit the facts this time, just wait, and something will come along that it fits perfectly. And I can link to this.

    What? You want me to write it all over again somewhere else? Y’all are way harsh…

    Reply
  3. Brad

    ACTUALLY, Steven/Michael/Fred/Luke/etc., it’s not true that “the crooks are all” packing — just the ones crazy enough to risk a weapons charge on top of the penalties for the crimes they’re doing.

    In fact, this would be an interesting study, in the Freakonomics vein… I wonder: Is the percentage of the overall population packing heat in SC, thanks to our liberal laws, HIGHER than the percentage of criminals going armed? Sure, the calculation would be tricky, and definitions could be complicated, but I’d be curious to know…

    Probably NOT (that is, the percentage among crooks is almost certainly higher, even though many are not armed), but it’s an interesting thing to wonder about…

    Reply
  4. Mark Stewart

    Not restrictions on concealed weapons = no reduction in crime + an increase in accidental or ill-advised discharges. Sounds like a recipe for additional harm to society, most likely to the gun-owner and/or his family and friends.

    If one needs to pass a driving test, then one certainly needs to be certified to carry a handgun. Geez; glad to see this nonesense got tabled today.

    Reply
  5. Steven Davis

    Or Brad/Greg/Peter/Bobby/etc… the ones I’d be concerned with aren’t the career criminals who write bad checks, scam old ladies or create pyramid schemes. The ones I’d be concerned with are the drug dealers, crack heads, and people who just don’t give a damn about life in general. You know the ones who don’t expect or care to see the age of 30 years old and view prison as a right of passage into manhood. I don’t want to be looking through my wife’s purse for a nail file or have to take off my shoe as my only choice of a defense weapon.

    Reply
  6. Brad

    Don’t pretend you don’t know why I’m using all of your names (or most of them; I’m probably forgetting a couple).

    I know you are all those pseudonyms, so presumably you do, too…

    Reply
  7. Brad

    Obviously not, “Steven.” Any reader should be able to tell that their comments are nothing alike.

    That would be the case even if I hadn’t met each of them, and provided photographs of each to the rest of you…

    Reply
  8. Herb B

    I drove in from Pittsburgh last week to a cops and robbers episode down the street–evidently some addicts raised cain at CVS because they wouldn’t give them the meth they needed, and the police chased them across 378 to our street just as we were driving in. There were about 6 police cars and 6 plain clothesmen. The police were yelling, pulling guns and giving them 3 seconds to get out of their car.

    So I’m supposed to go around with a loaded weapon in case I’m close by when this happens? Is this Tombstone AZ or something?

    Sheesh. Something tells me I should’da stayed in Deutschland. . . .

    Reply
  9. jfx

    If you’re such a paranoiac that you think unpermitted concealed firearms are a good idea, then you’re probably already illicitly packing. And you’re probably already wearing kevlar under your flannel work shirt. Which is a good thing, because in your unbalanced state, you’re probably going to accidentally shoot yourself.

    Reply
  10. Steven Davis

    @Herb B – Actually it was against the law to carry a weapon in Tombstone. Well at least during the time the Earp boys were enforcing the law.

    What would have happened had these three “meth addicts” had tried to enter your house, or tried to get into your car while you were stopped. Would you rather have a defensive weapon accessible to you or would you rather have nothing but your thoughts to defend yourself?

    I’m more worried about the untrained white collar worker with a loaded weapon than I am of a “flannel work shirt” wearing individual with a loaded weapon. I’m assuming the flannel work shirt guy has at least held and fired a loaded weapon and not scared to death of the thing he’s holding.

    Reply
  11. Steve Gordy

    Within the ranges that most such encounters occur, I have a Louisville Slugger (at home) and a blackthorn walking stick (in my car). And some of each white collars have had plenty of experience with holding and firing a loaded weapon. For intimidation value, my grandfather’s old Remington automatic 12-gauge works wonders.

    Reply
  12. James Cross

    I have always wondered why they always concentrate on guns. If it is self-defense that requires a change in the law, then why can’t I carry a spiked mace? Or a sword? (Brad, as an Anglophile you could get behind that, couldn’t you?) Or at least a knife with a blade longer than two inches (Crocodile Dundee: “That’s not a knife. Now this … *this* is a knife.”)

    I know, I know. “Never bring a knife to a gunfight ….”

    Reply
  13. Nick Nielsen

    @Steven, anybody who isn’t scared of a weapon shouldn’t be allowed to touch one; those are the people who shoot themselves or others while “cleaning” those firearms.

    It’s extensive training, not mere familiarity, that makes the difference.

    Reply
  14. Herb B

    I’m the white collar guy that you wouldn’t want handling a weapon under any circumstances. On one of the rare occasions that I went hunting with my Texas family NRA members, I nearly shot my foot off.

    I agree with Steve; I keep a baseball bat handy. And ultimately trust God, believe it or not. He’s had his angels around me and my family in many ways. You don’t have to believe that, but I do.

    Reply
  15. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    I believe in the deterrent effects of large dogs. Dog snot at eye height on the windows next to our door has most assuredly been far more effective than any properly secured firearm would be.

    Same for walking in the woods…

    Reply
  16. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn, dogs don’t work so well in convenience stores, liquor stores, restaurants or when you’re filling up at the gas station on the way home from work or the grocery store.

    Reply
  17. Tom Fillinger

    I find it disturbing that most of the time on this site – – anyone who disagrees with the majority perspective found on this site is an “ideologue”.

    Good decisons are based on differing opinions (Peter Drucker).

    Reply
  18. Brad

    What “majority perspective,” Tom? Whatever it is, I don’t seem to share it, based on the arguments we have here…

    I wouldn’t go so far as to quote Ibsen’s Dr. Stockman and say, “A minority may be right; a majority is always wrong.” I really embraced that when I was 17, because the Raskolnikovian arrogance of the statement appealed to my young ego.

    Still, all these years later, while I have greater respect than I did for a majority’s view, I very often don’t share it. And even when I do agree broadly, I argue about the nuances. That’s because the finer points tend to get sanded away on the way to making an idea acceptable to a broad audience — lowest common denominator and all that.

    I forget — what were we talking about? Oh yeah, guns…

    See, there’s one of those things where I can’t agree with the majority, if the majority is either the nuttier gun lovers (the ones who think more and more people should pack heat all the time) or the peaceful folk who seem to faint at the smell of gun oil.

    Guns are dangerous as hell, by their nature — they are wonderfully engineered to combine maximum deadliness with minimum effort. In this sense, the AK-47 is the most perfect gun (actually, a rifle) in history. For minimal effort (almost no maintenance, little upper-body strength, making it ideal for child soldiers in Africa) it puts out maximum firepower. Anyway, these qualities of modern firearms cause me to wish them to be in the possession of as few people as possible.

    It’s like — back in the early 80s, I had this great, extended conversation with Al Gore, who at the time was styling himself an expert on arms control, and he borrowed my legal pad to sketch out the problem with MIRVS. The problem? They produce exponentially greater chance that a warhead — actually, many warheads — will hit targets. This increases global insecurity far more than if you have single-warhead vehicles.

    Well, we exceeded critical mass on guns long ago, and I don’t think we can put that toothpaste back in the tube (hold on, maybe I can come up with one more metaphor to throw into the mix…), which is why you don’t see me getting behind gun control efforts very much. They seem sort of futile.

    The best gun-control efforts I’ve ever heard of is those where the cops buy up guns and destroy them. Because that’s the problem — too many guns exist. But those efforts are like trying to empty the ocean with a leaky bucket.

    See, it’s not about law-abiding citizens having guns vs. criminals having guns. The problem is that there are too many guns. It doesn’t matter who initially buys a gun. As long as it exists, it is subject to being stolen (it’s a favorite item for burglars). The only way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals is for there to be many, many fewer guns — say, about 1% (just a wild guess, but I doubt I’m far off) of the number than exist now. Then, you’d have a true economic scarcity. The price on the street would go way up, but that would be because they were harder to obtain, and that would be a good thing.

    But I see no way to get there. The political — and, yes, constitutional — barriers are way too steep. You can nibble at the problem, but how do you solve it? I have no idea.

    Well, actually, I have one idea: Ban the sale and manufacture of ammunition. I don’t see anything in the Constitution about THAT. Then, of course, we may see the incidents of pistol-whippings go up, but shootings would eventually become a thing of the past. Anyway, a baseball bat is a better bludgeon than a gun. Ammunition is the problem. And since it’s a consumable, gun owners (law-abiding and criminal) would eventually run out.

    Criminals — indeed, anyone who uses guns violently (and most people are shot by friends, family and acquaintances, not by the proverbial dangerous stranger) — tend to be impulsive. They’re not going to manufacture their own ammo, the way serious sportsmen do. So this would quickly reduce, and eventually eliminate, most violent crime involving guns.

    Of course, the political barrier to this idea would be just as great as the one with guns. The gun-lovers would to, “Hey! Wait a minute…” and then get really ticked at what they would perceive as an end run. But as for the Constitutional question — well, I’d love to see it tried in court, if only as an intellectual exercise.

    Anyway, do you consider my position on that to be “majority.”

    Reply

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