The State of Carry Law

Given the recent dust-up over certain methods of open-carry activism, I thought it would be worthwhile about talking about where carry law stands, and what legal strategists are trying to accomplish. The next big case the Supreme Court takes is likely going to revolve around the “bear” portion of “keep and bear arms.” We want to get the broadest right possible, but there are complications.

The trouble we run into is that there are several state Supreme Courts have have upheld prohibitions on concealed carry, and many state Right to Keep and Bear Arms provisions specifically allow it to be prohibited or restricted. Now, in many of those instances, the reason that concealed carry was allowed to be prohibited is because open carry was allowed. Historically, in many parts of the country, particularly the South and Southwest, concealed carry was an alarming practice that made people think that the person practicing that carry method was sneaky and up to no good.

So in terms of going the other way, we also have to deal with the fact that a number of states with a strong gun culture either prohibit or restrict open carry. There’s also a long legal tradition in bearing arms that there’s no right to bear arms in a manner or way that’s intended or likely to cause alarm among the population. That number has been dropping, but it’s something that has to be dealt with from a legal point of view if you want to take this issue to court.

The way legal strategists are attempting to reconcile these two traditions is to argue that there is a right to bear, or carry firearms for self-defense, but that the state has an interest in regulating the means by which one may wear a firearm for the purposes of not disturbing or alarming the public. In this theory, states could prohibit either concealed or open carry, but had to allow it in some manner, and could only regulate it in a manner that’s consistent with serving the government’s interest (in other words, they couldn’t regulate in a manner meant to discourage people from carrying generally). This is less than ideal, but when dealing with a long tradition of regulating, rather than prohibiting carrying firearms, is something that has to be dealt with when this is put before judges. Something to think about in the current dust-up currently occurring with certain styles of open carry activism.

Another Case of Open Carry Activism Fail

How many kids, teachers, and school administrators were “educated” by this?

The district responded to the flood of complaints it received by revising its policy to require schools to go into immediate lockdown if somebody is openly carrying a gun nearby.

No state or city laws prevent the open carry of legal firearms in Hillsboro. Had the man been on school property, he would’ve been arrested.

Surely the parents of the children are now much more supportive of guns in public and around schools as well. All it took was someone OCing a shotgun near the school to convince them! My favorite part of this?

It turns out, his mother is a teacher at Century High. He said she doesn’t know it was him carrying the gun, and that she’ll likely be upset when she finds out.

No word yet on whether he was grounded.

US Officially Signs UN Arms Treaty

Say it with me now: Elections have consequences.

While the chance of Senate ratification is effectively nil at this point, gun control supporters can still cheer the victory of the first step of the treaty process here in the US. It also makes Senate seats a much more desirable target for both treaty purposes and domestic gun control efforts.

We all knew this was coming as soon as the treaty was agreed to and Obama was re-elected. Now, we have to make sure that there’s never a chance for the Senate to ratify it. The Senate could take it up at any time, as it doesn’t have to be ratified in this administration once it has been initially signed. International gun control groups would be happy to wait us out.

Don’t Take Legal Advice From Bloggers

Both Thirdpower and John Richardson are speaking about an assertion that’s appeared in the blogosphere that Illinois is now a Constitutional Carry state. I’d take anything you hear on the Internet (and I don’t exempt myself from this) as pretty much the polar opposite of actual legal advice. In other words, don’t think because a blogger says you can do X, that means it’s OK to actually go out and do it.

I try very hard to get things right, but firearms law is complex, and I’ve made my share of mistakes over the years. Even if you read blogs run by lawyers, they may be attorneys, but they aren’t your attorney. Do your own research, consult with your own counsel, and go from there. Our goal is to try to educate, and not to offer advice on whether a certain action may or may not get you arrested. Remember there are precious few petty offenses and misdemeanors when it comes to gun violations, and too many armchair “experts” out there to rely on what you see on the Internet.

Screwed in Maryland

The regulations proposed by the State Police, which added back in items that were stripped out by the legislature, have been approved by a Senate committee.

Like many other legislative hearings on gun control this year, members of the NRA and other Second Amendment organization held a rally before the hearing, and attempted to pack the hearing room.

Unlike some of the hearings in February and March which attracted more than 1,000 people, today’s turnout only numbered a few hundred.

And that’s what the anti-gunners like to see. When only a few hundred of us show up to the hearings, that shows they are wearing us down. These regulations will make it next to impossible to exercise Second Amendment rights in places like Baltimore where there are no shooting ranges. But then again, that was the idea, wasn’t it?

Attention Virginians!

Terry McAuliffe will work for New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and not you:

Support common sense gun control measures
As Governor, Terry will support mainstream and majority supported gun control measures like universal background checks, limiting the size of magazines, and a return to the 1-gun-per-month rule. These measures respect Virginians’ right to bear arms while reducing gun violence.

I guess he didn’t learn anything from Colorado. I’ll give Bloomberg one thing, he’s pretty good at getting Democrats to step off the cliff. Bloomberg wants to show that the recall was a one off thing, and that a Democrat sporting Bloomberg’s positions on gun control can win in a purple state like Virginia.

Playing Chicken

A guy shows up to an open carry protest illegally carrying a chicken to make a point. My solution to this absurdity is to question why it’s illegal to carry a chicken in Appleton, Wisconsin. If the goal of the chicken carrier was to raise awareness of the absurdity of a law banning chickens in public, I’d say mission accomplished. I favor repeal.

I’d also note that long gun open carry is now being subject to effective parody, which generally a good indication it’s time to give that shit a break. Just because you can and it’s your right doesn’t mean you should.

Next Target for the Anti-Gun Campaign

It’s Staples. Now, let us not make the same mistake here we made with Starbucks. Staples just wants to sell office supplies. They don’t want to end up in the middle of a gun control fight, be forcibly dragged into the debate, or have people running around in their stores with long guns. I would suggest the wise strategy is to ignore this completely, and only if Staples gives into the bullies do we bring down the god hammer on them and make them realize they chose poorly. I’m not even suggesting people write letters to corporate. Starbucks was not won by the anti-gunners, it was lost by idiots on our own side.

How Are We At Fault Here, Mr. President?

The shooter involved in the Navy Yard Shooting passed an FBI background check for a security clearance, which is about as thorough a background check as anyone can ask for, and he was cleared. And Obama has the nerve to say this?

President Barack Obama accused opponents of gun control of fighting to allow “dangerous people” to own guns in a speech on Saturday to activists at Congressional Black Caucus, promising he  would revive his failed gun control efforts following recent urban shootings in Chicago and Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard.

All this shows is that background checks don’t matter worth a damn if authorities don’t take time to get an adjudication in cases where someone is mentally ill enough to be a danger to themselves or others. That goes the same for criminal convictions, as is the case here when Seattle authorities missed another chance to prosecute the shooter under a charge which would have made him ineligible to own firearms upon conviction. People on our side have been saying this until we’re blue in the face. No background check in the world will stop someone who slips through the cracks of the mental health system or the criminal justice system. In more cases than the authorities are comfortable admitting, or even talking about, that is the case. Until we can have that conversation, more gun control is just putting lipstick on the pig.


Article on Gun Control Activists in WaPo

This is a pretty decent article by Eli Saslow in the Washington Post that I would recommend everyone read. In any kind of political struggle, you have to be able to put yourself in the mind of your opponents and understand them. You can’t really easily counter your opponents tactics with your own if you don’t understand how they think, and more importantly understand what they are doing wrong. There’s a lot of lessons in here for our side, and the chief lesson is that the tactics you find emotionally satisfying are not always (really not usually) the ones that matter in terms of gaining desired political outcome. Emotional blackmail is similar to open carry in at least one way: it’s a tactic, not a strategy. Waving the bloody shirt will only get you so far.

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