Getting a Long Gun

SayUncle probably does a better job of laying out what I was trying to say than I did, which wasn’t really that people should “stop open carrying, right now, all of you!” but more making the point that it doesn’t seem to me to be remarkably effective at carrying the pro-gun message. My style is more aggressive and confrontational than Uncle’s, which is probably why I get more hate coming my way when I post this stuff. But I do think having the debate is important for the community.

This is one of those cases where we all just have an opinion. No one has ever focus grouped open carry to see how people perceive it, and I don’t know if anyone ever will, so that means we’re not arguing based on hard facts and data. Since this movement has started in a period where gun control is on the decline, and public opinions about guns are drastically improving, I believe we will very likely be proven wrong if we predict dire legislative consequences arising out of this issue. To some degree, I should just be happy we’re in such a favorable environment that we don’t have to worry as much about a backlash.

But the pro-gun movement was flying pretty well from the passage of FOPA, until the assault weapons issue hit like the hammer of Thor in the late 80s and early 90s, and we weren’t really prepared to deal with it. Sometimes it can be hard to predict what the other side will get traction on, and that’s something I spend a good deal of time worrying about.

3 thoughts on “Getting a Long Gun”

  1. I’ve always been convinced that gun issues are local — not statewide, not national.

    The gun laws I would expect to find in a rural community are far different from the gun laws I would expect to find in New York City.

  2. Windex,

    That’s true to a certain extent. But just like with other Constitutionally protected rights, there’s a maximum threshold for how much a local government can regulate guns, and it’s a low one. A city can finesse its laws about demonstrations, but it can’t ban protests. A town can have some input into how and where people worship, but its rules can’t substantially burden any religion. And NYC can have some input into the finer details of how its citizens obtain, keep, and carry arms, but it can’t make rules that eliminate or burden the rights.

    Our legal system is supposed to put the overwhelming majority of lawmaking power in the hands of the states, which can delegate those powers to their counties, cities, and towns; almost every law that affects your life should be state or local, and it’s a travesty that the feds have usurped all the power they have. But protecting Constitutional rights _is_ one of the small handful of responsibilities specifically delegated to the federal government. Like freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and the guarantee of due process, the standards should be broadly set at the federal level to protect the rights, with a bit of wiggle room for state and local governments to finesse them into their regions’ contexts.

  3. Localities have the ability to regulate time, place, manner of certain exercise of rights (parade permits, for example). So a locality could restrict discharge of a firearm, ban hunting, without necessarily violating the 2A. But the big kicker of Heller (and the graveyard of dreams that the gun controllers are whistling past) is that ownership of a functional handgun for self-defense was at the core of the Heller case. IE a consitutional right to lethal self-defense was presumed. Is there a way to deny that unenumerated right outside the home while leaving it intact inside the home?

    The other problem with banning open carry is that of definition. What constitutes open carry? In a holster? how about a holster that entirely cover the gun? A purse just large enough to contain a gun? Fanny pack? “Printing” the grip under a shirt? Being made by a 4′-tall kid who can look up your shirt?

    Finally, laws can be abused when they aren’t enforced. case in point: NJ has a statutory requirement to issue a firaerm owners ID card within 30 days of application unless cause to deny is found. The permit (which allows the carrier to purchase rifles and shotguns, carry same outside of strict safe harbor exceptions, and is required to be logged when purchasing handgun ammo) is almost never issued within 30 days. The NJ court system won’t enforce. And you wonder why we are so against “reasonable” restrictions. (Same problem applies, incidentally, for *each* handgun purchased – which is why the recent one gun a month hooey is just that; It can take a year to get permission already!).

    We already have laws on the books making it illegal to use a tool to commit a crime. The most I will go for is sentencing enhancement for firearms actually used in the commission of a crime (and by actually used I mean that – carrying while speeding, or carrying while committing fraud or counterfeiting or something like that wouldn’t count until you whip it out and yell “fund my ponzi scheme or I plug you one”).

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