We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Training To Carry A Gun. No Stinkin’ Brains, Either.

This week the ‘show me’ state, a.k.a. Missouri, found itself embroiled in a major debate over gun violence because a bill known as SB 656 was sitting on Governor Jay Nixon’s desk awaiting his signature.  What the bill got was a veto, and while this immediately provoked calls for an attempted override, right now thanks to the Moms Missouri chapter, efforts by Gun-nut Nation to introduce ‘Constitutional carry’ into Missouri may be dead.

moms           Not that the NRA won’t try to explain Governor Nixon’s behavior as just another example of how out-of-state money (read: Bloomberg) surged into Missouri to help defeat what otherwise would have been a sensible effort to give the state’s citizens a little help in defending themselves against terrorism and crime. In fact, the NRA immediately issued a statement after Nixon’s veto, stating that “if events in Orlando and San Bernardino have taught us anything it’s that the need for self-protection can occur anywhere at any time.”

But the Governor’s refusal to sign the bill had nothing to do with making a pro or con judgement about the right to self-defense.  The real issue in this instance had to do with whether or not people who want to go around armed can prove that they possess even the slightest ability to defend themselves or others with a gun.

There’s a Youtube character named Yankee Marshal who shoots his mouth off about various gun issues and he’s an entertaining sort of fellow if you like to be entertained on a third or fourth-grade level, and he’s put out a video in which he claims that training to use a gun is a waste of time: “I think that most people with common sense and average intelligence can figure out how to safely operate a firearm.”  And he then goes on to say that if you want to carry a gun, you should also be able to exercise that ‘right’ without getting any training at all.

Which brings us back to the 2008 Heller decision that defined the 2nd Amendment – clearly and explicitly – as a Constitutional ‘right’ to keep a loaded handgun in the home for personal defense.  Not in the street, not in a holster or fanny pak as you walk around – in the privacy of your home. And what Heller unleashed was a torrent of nonsense from Gun-nut Nation, Yankee Marshal to Donald Trump, that everyone also has the ‘right’ to walk around with a gun.

Now the good news is that the judiciary hasn’t seen it that way.  We have the Peruta decision in California which upheld the ‘right’ not of the gun owner but of the county government to decide whether or not someone who owned a gun could also carry it outside his home. And back in 2014 the Supreme Court with Antonin Scalia alive and still well refused to review a New Jersey decision which basically said the same thing.

But those decisions haven’t stopped a growing movement known as ‘Constitutional carry’ which basically says that anyone who is qualified to own a gun is, ipso facto, entitled to carry it around not just within their home, but any place they damn well please.  There are now 10 states that do not require any special licensing to carry a gun outside the home, and Missouri would have been the 11th had Jay Nixon not shown some common sense and political backbone by vetoing the bill.

I would love to see whether idiots like Yankee Marshal or Donald Trump, for that matter, could actually pull a gun out of their pants and hit the broad side of a barn. The Police Foundation estimates that half the active law enforcement officers can’t do it, but why should we impose gun training requirements on civilians that we don’t even require for cops?

OK Moms.  You know what you have to do. Won a big one in Missouri but make sure it sticks.



You Can Carry A Concealed Gun In Florida But It Better Be Concealed.

The movement to establish open carry of guns as a constitutional right, an offshoot of the Constitutional Carry movement and particularly active in Texas, took a big hit this past week in the gunshine state when the Florida 4th District Court of Appeals took up the case of Norman vs. Florida and ruled against the petitioner’s claim that denying him open carry was an abridgement of his 2nd Amendment right.  What basically happened was that a Florida resident named Dale Norman was arrested in 2013 because his handgun was seen and reported to the police as he was walking down a Fort Pierce street.  He was convicted of violating a Florida statute that prohibits open carry of handguns, his appeal was then handled by a group called Florida Carry, which appears to be a group of military veterans who evidently like to parade around showing off their guns.

In its unanimous opinion, the Court first noted that it was embarking on a voyage into the vast terra incognita of laws covering carrying guns outside the home, which was first acknowledged to exist in the 2008 Heller decision that recognized the Constitutional right of citizens to keep a gun only inside the home.  But since the SCOTUS also recognized that the 2nd-Amendment right to private gun ownership was based primarily on the use of a gun for self-defense, it wasn’t long until the issue of whether the self-defense boundaries would be extended beyond the home also came under judicial review.

open                Where jurisprudence seems to be moving is towards the recognition that concealed-carry is, indeed, a Constitutional right, but that the government can also restrict or at least regulate the issuance of CCW as long as the regulations are “reasonable and do not effectively destroy the right in practice by imposing a substantial limitation” on carrying guns outside the home.  And here is where the pedal meets the metal, so to speak, because what irks the pro-gun movement most of all, is the idea that government should be able to impose limitations of any kind on the ownership or use of guns by law-abiding folks.

Be that as it may, there doesn’t seem to be a judge anywhere in the United States who is willing to depart from the standard rationale for government regulation of firearms, namely (to quote the Florida 4th District) that “that the government has a substantial interest in regulating firearms as a matter of public safety.”  And this ‘substantial interest’ takes the form of a near-unanimous agreement by courts to apply intermediate, rather than strict scrutiny to deciding the constitutionality of laws covering ownership and use of guns.

If the pro-gun push for fewer restrictions on guns were ever to convince the country’s jurists that gun laws should be adjudicated only through the application of strict scrutiny review, then the gun-sense movement might as well pack it up and go home.  Because what strict scrutiny means is that a law can only be considered constitutional if it is narrowly tailored to achieve its result, whereas intermediate scrutiny means that the law only needs to serve accepted, general ends.  If regulating gun ownership was no longer accepted as a compelling government interest unless the government could prove that every gun law achieved some specific safety result, you could kiss gun regulations goodbye.

Which is exactly what Dale Norman and his attorneys and his supporters were hoping would happen in the 4th Florida District Court of Appeals in West Palm Beach. But it didn’t turn out that way at all.  And the reason the District Court upheld his conviction was because it found that, given Florida’s liberal issuance of concealed-carry permits, one simply couldn’t sustain the argument that Florida was in any way preventing its residents from using guns outside their homes for self-defense.  Believing that you are safer because you carry a gun is one thing, waving it around in public to scare off the bad guys is something else.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Laws To Carry A Gun. It’s A Constitutional Right, Right?

Before the ink was even dry on the 2008 Heller decision, the gun lobby began to agitate for an extension of this 2nd-Amendment right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense to carrying concealed weapons outside the home as well.  The CCW movement, as it is called, spread throughout the United States but with the exception of five states – AK, AR, AZ, VT, WY – the residents of all the other 45 states must receive a permit for CCW that is separate from any licensing required simply to own a gun.

concealed                It’s estimated that somewhere around 10 million people now have CCW permits, or roughly 10% of the people who admit to legal ownership of guns.  To listen to the gun lobby you would think that armed citizens are responsible for the continued decline in violent crime, even though it’s anyone’s guess as to how many people are actually walking around armed each day.  In 2013 roughly 450 people used guns in what is referred to as “justifiable homicide,” while that same year at least 500 people accidentally killed themselves or others with guns.  The FBI and CDC numbers may be a little off, but this is the only apples-to-apples comparison that can be made about whether guns help us or hurt us and please don’t waste my time with the nonsense about how millions of crimes are prevented each year by people walking around with guns.

Which hasn’t stopped the NRA from endlessly screaming that “good guys” with guns will always stop “bad guys” with guns to the point that the movement to issue everyone a CCW license has now begun to shift to the idea that we should be able to walk around with guns, concealed or unconcealed at our option, with no licensing required at all.  Called “constitutional carry,” as opposed to “concealed carry,” the loudest and most active proponents of this new credo can be found in the Lone Star State where this nutty idea sprang from a group of dissident NRA members who took issue with the gun organization’s refusal to back the open carry of handguns.  And the result was a series of guerrilla-theater events at which these dopes paraded outside and inside stores and fast-food franchises toting their ARs and AKs to show that they had the Constitutional right to behave like jerks.

To their credit, Shannon Watts and her ladies have begun a social media campaign about this idiocy with the target being the Raising Cane fast-food chain, which seems to be a particular favorite venue for the crazies who want to show off both their guns and their lack of brains. The leader of this lunatic fringe appears to be Kory Watkins, who briefly posted a video showing him taunting a gun-owning state legislator, accusing the lawmaker of treason and then stipulating that treason was punishable by “death.”

Posting and then quickly deleting controversial messages is a favorite tactic employed by the folks who like to lecture America about their Constitutional right to own and carry a gun.  Last year the NRA posted a statement that called the Texas crazies ‘weird’ and asked them to keep their guns out of plain sight.  The text was then quickly deleted and in its place appeared an apology to open carry activists in Texas for any ‘confusion’ that the original statement may have caused.

Let me break the news gently to my friends at the NRA.  You have only yourselves to blame for spending the last twenty years angrily denouncing anyone who dares to challenge your belief that guns represent a social good.  You have only yourselves to blame for shamelessly pandering to imbeciles like Kory Watkins who is probably too much of a nitwit to understand the damage he causes people who genuinely want to legally own and use guns.  You accuse Shannon Watts of not representing gun owners when she asks Raising Cane to make their venues gun-free zones.  And whom exactly do you represent?





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