By Bruce A.
experience in Florida and elsewhere shows that only a
small percentage of the population will get concealed carry permits
and carry guns. But as long as criminals do not know who is and
who isn't carrying, that small percentage provides a deterrence that
protects us all.
Some Modest Proposals Regarding the Texas Concealed Carry Law
For the first time since the last century, Texas (along with many
other states) is considering a bill to allow its citizens to carry
concealed firearms. I have a few suggestions as to how to improve
The first concerns my own status as a regular business traveller to
Texas. The legislators obviously have not considered how frightening
it is for an outsider, from a city with strict gun control laws, to
travel to a place where anyone may be carrying a hidden weapon.
This isn't as ridiculous as you make it seem. Just as the patchwork of firearm
laws within a state puts a burden of confusion and loss of rights
on people as they travel around, the various individual state
CCW (concealed carry of weapons) laws (and lack thereof) regarding a
right guaranteed in the Constitution which is supposed to protect all
of us, puts a burden on interstate travelers. It came out during the
attacks on foreign tourists in Florida that criminals were targeting
foreigners because they knew that those tourists would not be armed.
The same thing could happen in your circumstances, with criminals
targeting people in rental cars. Perhaps it has happened already.
Effectively, I am a second class citizen when visiting Texas, unable
to exercise the same fundamental right of self-defense as those
around me. There is a simple way to solve this: let's permit, or
even mandate, automobile rental agencies to rent guns as well. If I
can pick up a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum and shoulder holster along
with my Ford Taurus at the airport, I will feel a lot safer when
visiting your lovely state.
Many states passing CCW laws added reciprocity provisions, but
coordinating such things between states is such a headache that it is
practically impossible to legally travel while carrying a loaded firearm.
That is the reason behind the effort to enact in the US Congress a federal law
mandating that every state will recognize a CCW permit issued by any other
state. Travelers would then not have to face the choice of feeling safe
or obeying the law. Of course, this would mean that a state without a CCW
law for its own citizens would allow out-of-state visitors to legally
carry firearms while
not allowing its own residents to do the same. But residents
who cared to could get a non-resident permit in one of the
states which provide for that and then carry legally in their own states,
until their home states saw fit to cease making their residents second
class citizens, and pass a suitable CCW law.
It's not the function of concealed carry laws to shed light on this issue.
The laws covering this are solidly in place and are generally pretty clear:
you are allowed to shoot when you or another is under the imminent threat
of death or serious harm. (There will be variations on this from state to
state, but they will be defined for each locale and available for people
to learn about.)
It is all very well to let everyone carry guns, but how are we to
know whom it is acceptable to shoot? I am not aware that the
concealed carry legislation sheds any light on this significant
While I am not an attorney, I would say that you are probably correct.
However, as was shown in the Weaver and Koresh incidents, you might have a
devil of a time proving it, the way the government covers up for the
wrong-doing of its agents.
You're being silly. Are you having fun?
2. It should also be allowable to shoot someone else for carrying a
concealed weapon. I know this is likely to be much more
controversial than my first point above, but stick with me while I
reason it through. ...
Who's "good" and who's "bad" is not the issue. Is someone in imminent
danger or not? (Of course, a criminal in imminent danger from police
trying to legally arrest him is in an entirely different situation. CCW
laws are there so law-abiding people can protect themselves, not
There is significant support for this position in NRA writings such
as Lapierre, Guns, Crime and Freedom, (Regnery, 1994). Because the
police cannot protect us, we must carry guns to defend ourselves
against other people who carry guns -- people who, if there were gun
control laws, would still have guns, while we would not. There are,
of course, a few problems in defining who is "bad" and who is
"good", but that's what laws are for, to make distinctions!
This is not the place to get into the complex issues that set off the L.A.
riots. But the fact is that those who relied on the police and national
guard to protect them and their businesses and livelihoods lost out, while
those who saw to their own defense could, and from what I hear did,
prevent destruction. Unfortunately for many who were threatened with
damage in the riots, they wanted to protect themselves and their property
but found that they couldn't. They discovered too late that California
has a waiting period to purchase firearms. By the time they could
purchase the means to protect themselves, their property was in ashes.
... with relaxed rules in L.A., property owners
could have more effectively defended themselves against black
rioters there during the Rodney King riots.
I was browsing in a bookstore a while back and happened upon Charlton
Heston's autobiography. While perusing it, I read an anecdote
where he told of an entertainment industry friend who called him during
the riots and was quite fearful. The person asked him "You shoot, don't
you?" (Quotations are approximate.) Heston replied that he did. The
friend stated that he wanted to by a gun to protect himself, but that
he couldn't because of the waiting period. Then he asked Heston if he
might borrow a shotgun for a while. Heston declined, and said "If I
remember correctly, you voted for the people who passed that waiting
period law, didn't you?"