I am a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. I value my right to keep and bear arms and will defend it to the death. I'm a proud gun owner, a life member of NRA and more likely than not to have a gun on me or nearby during most of the day or night. That's why it seemed strange to me that there was the concentrated umbrage about this op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal:
She's No Knee-Jerk Hoplophobe
The photo in the hard copy of the newspaper was captioned below the author's portrait with "I don't wash windows. When they get dirty I shoot them out." That may have been the only questionable aspect of the item for a gun lover.
I had read the blogs on the item and was a bit astonished at the folks who characterized her as an East Coast liberal gun-grabber. When my daily fix of realistic journalism arrived with the mailman, I read the full column and couldn't come to that conclusion at all.
What I got was a mature adult looking at the rash of open carry advocacy displays which are fueling the anti-gun crowd and reinforcing the perception that gun owners are fantasy driven cowboys with a Freudian penis inferiority issue who are liable to start spraying lead through the streets of the nation at the slightest provocation. That simply does us no good.
Certainly we have a right to exercise our legal freedoms whenever and wherever we wish. I will not question that or challenge it for any other individual even when I disagree with them. In all of the locations where the open carry advocacy displays have occurred it is perfectly legal to do that. But being a legal right does not make it an obligation. Simply because you can does not mean that you should.
I've been a gun owner, both long guns and handguns, for fifty years now. I'm comfortable with guns and gun owners. But, I'll still confess that many years ago when I first encountered someone exercising their legal open carry privileges in Arizona, I was somewhat taken aback. Nothing wrong with it, of course. But why?
I love concealed carry and fortunately have lived all of my life in states which have been conducive to the practice, at least since growing up and watching Chicago fade in my rear-view mirror at age 21. It has meant that I've always got the means of defense at hand and don't need to become a victim for some goblin with an IQ of 78.
The key for me is that you don't know who is carrying and when. You don't know where their weapon is. You can't make a grab for it. I like concealed carry.
Open carry is a legal privilege in many jurisdictions but an honest appraisal means that we recognize that many folks would be uncomfortable with it. Certainly we might be serving the purpose of familarizing them with guns and we might eventually desensitize them. But, we might also be reinforcing them and giving them ammunition, at least rhetorically, for their gun control agenda.
Frankly, I see it as a battle we don't need to fight at this time. It is one which we can't possibly win.