Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Open Carry

It is perfectly legal to openly carry a handgun in 11 states, including Virginia.

Recent incidents in Virginia point up the fact that most people including most law enforcement don't know this. A recent law passed in Virginia prevents local jurisdictions from super ceding state law on the ownership and use of most firearms.

That said, its a fair question to ask; why carry a handgun openly in public places, especially in crowded suburban communities? Does the practice do more harm to gun owners than its worth?

1. The rationale that most open carrying folks will provide is that one needs to exercise a right or risk losing the right.

Some fear that if more folks exercise this right, a backlash will occur since many suburbanites are intimidated when they see someone with a gun.

Here is my take on this perception.

When I am in a restaurant or any public place and I see a civilian (non uniformed) individual carrying a handgun I make a logical assumption that they are a security guard of some type and I assume they are just doing their business without potential harm to anyone.

Generally, it is rare to see a non uniformed person in suburban Virginia openly carry. You will get noticed. But most folks tend to mind their own business, unless it becomes obvious to them that the person openly carrying seems to be acting less than civily.

On the other hand, Northern Virginia, is host to many left wing, pacifistic types, that cringe whenever they see a weapon of any sort. So its not surprising that openly carried handguns would generate a few calls to the local police in Northern Virginia.

Personally, I have no need to openly carry - but its good to know that if the situation required I could.

For example; If you have a carry permit in Virginia you can't carry a concealed weapon if you go into a restaurant that serves liquor. Your option is to simply leave the gun home or in the car etc. But if you are carrying for the obvious reason of self defense, you will find yourself less able to protect yourself. So the law inhibits your inherent right to self defense simply because you are visiting a place that sells liquor.

The law in question is being challenged but currently what would you do if you needed to visit the restaurant etc, for a business reason or some other important matter.

You could cave to political correctness and simply leave the gun home, or in the car. Odds are nothing would happen to make you regret that decision. But the avoidance of the issue by opting out of self-defense does leave you vulnerable. I would hate to be the one whose loved one was killed or injured while in such an establishment and to know I could have prevented it, except I was too timid to deal with the open carry issue.

2. As far as a backlash against citizens who exercise their right to openly carry, long as the record reflects lawful behavior by such citizens, I can see no negative impact. It is unlikely that open carry will become a common occurrence, only because most folks don't feel the need.

The practice if done lawfully may encourage greater awareness by the general population of their own right to protect themselves and perhaps even a greater sense of security that their are individuals around who are willing to assert their ability to protect themselves.

But realistically, in most suburban environments, I don't see folks cheering the open carry mind set, rather I see people cautiously staying on the sidelines of the issue unless something significant happens to make them lean pro or con.

I have some sympathy for local police who culturally are challenged to not feel alarmed by the open carry practice. Certainly, they need to be cautious. Potentially, a criminal can carry openly and feel not concerned because they won't be challenged in certain jurisdictions.

But this too is unlikely. Most criminals do not want to draw attention to themselves. Their gun will be concealed and illegally obtained.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

More Zumbo

The Washington Post's 2/24/07 article on the aftermath of the Jim Zumbo story clearly reflects why the swift negative reaction to Zumbo's comments were sound, valid and necessary.

The Post which is no friend of the second amendment, put its article on the third page. A very visible position for an issue that impacted so few. Their purpose is to show how ruthless and lockstep the "gun culture" is...and how the partnership of lobby groups like the NRA and industry conspire to keep defections within its camp low.

This article gives comfort to the "antis" that if they just work harder, they may be able to split the "gun culture" between the rational hunters and the "gun nuts" who own the evil black guns.

The Post's efforts may backfire.

This story up to today had not made it to the National media. Perhaps it will.

The ultimate message of the National media - except for a few, like Fox News, will be that the Gun lobby crucifies its own when needed....showing its truly without heart.

The clearer message for gun owners and supporters is.

You can't afford to weaken your rights by tolerating the notion that owning one kind of gun is inherently evil. Such attitudes give strength to those who would legislate what is politically correct for you to own and criminalize you for not conforming to their politically correct notions.

Even liberal or moderate thinking hunters need to understand that the "anti second amendment" forces will be happy to win by taking away one little piece of the puzzle, i.e., hunters using assault weapons, knowing that the door opens to then eliminating, hunting with semi autos, hunting with sabots, owning military surplus firearms, owning guns with more than five shot capacity, and on and on until at the end of their world view now imposed in legislation, most guns will be illegal in this country.

So the Zumbo story potentially has a happy ending.

It's a great reminder of why gun supporters must be united and resolute. It shows that these folks are serious when they are upset and will take action to have their voices heard.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Black Guns for Hunting

There is a current controversy around the remarks of Jim Zumbo, contributor to Outdoor Life Magazine... Jim's blog blasted hunters who use assault rifle looking weapons to hunt. He basically aligned such folks with the terrorists that commonly use AKs, SKSs etc. His comments provoked a storm of criticism from those in the gun world and second amendment advocates and praise from anti-gun groups.

Jim has now apologized for his expressed views....mainly because he didn't think through the impact of his comments...after all he serves the market that hunts and buys guns. What better way to bite the hand that feeds you.

But did Jim have any validity to his point - about the perception about how hunters are perceived carrying the evil assault looking weapon?

I can understand the discomfort that some feel when they view these weapons as symbols of evil - these gun owners generally feel that military style guns should not be seen outside of some firing range. They are sensitive to the perception of non shooters and anti-gunners. They may feel like apologizing for the existence of such weapons in the hands of civilians. Somehow these AKs, SKSs, ARs are polluting their pure sport, their love of shooting and hunting...or just turning off others who might otherwise support hunters' rights.

I can understand their discomfort, since they feel this way, but I don't agree that their feelings are justified.

The semi-auto that looks like a military assault weapon is only evil in the mind of someone who can only see its use for violent ends against innocent humans.

This mind set can't see their use for protection by civilians or militias. They can't envision a second amendment that would promote their use - even though the second amendment's founders clearly had the common and individual defense of liberty in mind. This mind set caves to politically correct thinking....everything that won't offend some constituency.

AK-47, SKSs, AR-15s all can function effectively as offensive weapons, as defensive weapons and as hunting guns. They are completely legal in most states. They are semi automatics not fully automatic like their military counterparts (the sks of course is only semi-automatic).

These guns are very popular, sell well, are quality products and anyone who attacks their users who legally purchase them, is mis-guided.

So the next time someone you gun or anti, attacks those who own military style weapons, take the time to educate them. Take them to the range to shoot an AR-15. Show them that in and of themselves, these guns are no more "evil" than any other tool that can be mis-used.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Why I like Commie Guns

Just pick up a CZ 52 and you can't help but admire its old world flavor. It's not without style, but what little style it has serves it's function.

To be sure, its rudimentary slide release, its inconvenient magazine release, its trigger and decocker...all would be improved by future generations of CZ weapons, but for a 1950's model, its a great nostalgic throw back to the cold war.

It's ammunition is by today's standards a rather hot 3o caliber (7.62x25)bottleneck...originally designed for submachine guns.

I modified my CZ 52 with an updated firing pin bought through that improved the safety of the gun and the trigger pull.

I added a simple rubber hand all slip on grip and now this piece of cold war history can hold it's own agains most other automatics in terms of accuracy, reliability and comfort.

The best part of the CZ 52 is its price. Mine cost $139. You can easily find it on the WEB or at gun shows for that price.

This is a fun gun to shoot, an interesting gun to learn about, one of the first CZ pistols to be adopted and its built to last.

This is a powerful will get a lot of attention at the range and be prepared to walk a few feet to find your ejected brass.

This is just one of many surplus firearms on the market that originate from the old Soviet block - winning the cold war certainly had its benefits and among them included the availability of interesting firearms and good prices.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why Carry

Someone I know once asked me why I support the right of citizens to own and carry guns for self protection.

They argued that in a civilized society we must trust the police to defend us and they took particular offense at the concept that citizens would ever need to own semi-automatic weapons like the civilian version of the M-16.

What amazed me about this discussion was that this person, who I really respect, is a holocaust survivor. As a youngster he was saved from the Nazis by hiding in the attic of a Polish family...where for three years he had to live in constant fear of discovery.

Of course the Nazis made sure that civilians in Germany and occupied lands could not possess firearms.

I explained to my friend that semi-automatic weapons are fun to shoot, they are accurate, can be used for hunting, competition and in the advent of a national security disaster, they are fine for self protection.

Needless to say, I did not convince him.

But the most recent example of reality bring home the issue of the necessity for the right to keep and bear arms, was the chaos surrounding hurricane Katrina.

Despite attempts by local law enforcement to confiscate the legally own firearms of Katrina survivors, most survivors that did not evacuate and owned firearms, derived a real sense of safety and in many cases prevented harm from looters and other criminals who readily used the disaster to prey upon defenseless hurricane victims.

Katrina showed Americans even more than the events of 9/11, that we can't always rely on the police or the military to protect us.

So as we open the marathon presidential election campaign cycle, one key issue that will be studied closely on the left and right, will be the candidate's stand on the second amendment.

One early prediction -

No candidate will win the White House unless they stand firmly in defense of the right of lawful citizens to keep and bear arms.