Monday, July 18, 2016

"Open Carry" Is A Stupid And Dangerous Idea (And Law)

We now have a new tragedy. This one happened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When police responded to a call about a person openly carrying an assault weapon, they walked into a trap -- and several of them were killed.

The crazy part of this is that Louisiana (like many other states) is an "open carry" state -- where anyone can walk down the street carrying any kind of weapon. In other words, what was reported to the police was NOT a violation of Louisiana law. But police have to check out all of these calls anyway, because there is no way for a citizen (or police officer) to know just by looking whether the person is a "good guy with a gun" or a "bad guy with a gun".

This has created more work for police officers, and it has made their job more dangerous. It also makes our society more dangerous for its citizens. If you are in a store or restaurant, and a person enters openly carrying an assault rifle (or any firearm), you have only seconds to figure out whether they are just being a jerk or they are there to kill people -- and making that decision is almost impossible until the shooting starts (and then its too late).

Gun nuts will tell us that it's their Second Amendment right to openly carry a firearm. That is NOT true. It is their right to own a firearm (unless they are a convicted felon), but the Supreme Court has never ruled they have the right to openly carry that firearm. In fact, just the opposite is true. The court has ruled that reasonable restrictions on the ownership and carrying of firearms is NOT a violation of the Second Amendment -- and banning the open carry of firearms is imminently reasonable.

Allowing citizens to openly carry firearms was a stupid and dangerous idea, and the laws permitting it should immediately be overturned. Protecting the safety of people (and police officers) is far more important than protecting the mythical "right" to openly carry a weapon.

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