Saturday, April 17, 2010

zOMG I need a bulletproof vest now !!!!!!!!11111!!11!1ONE (Or, can we be sober about SB 1108?)

It's now twenty years after firearms liberalization began in earnest. We have twenty years of successes in forty-eight states to inform our perspective. Why, then, the lack of sobriety in response to passage of SB 1108, the not-quite-"Constitutional Carry" bill signed into law by Gov. Brewer today, from commentators and a considerable minority of Arizonans.

Take, for example, the words of (state representative, nonanalytic thinker, and "public artist" responsible for replacing cheap, flexible buses with better-looking, inflexible, expensive streetcars) Steve Farley, as cut-and-pasted on Blog for Arizona:
Last week the Legislature sent to the Governor's desk (for her likely signature) another Russell Pearce bill, SB1108, that will allow any Arizonan over 18 years old to carry a concealed weapon anywhere that is not controlled by federal law. No background checks or training will be required. People with mental illness or a criminal history can no longer be kept from carrying a concealed weapon.

Nope. The prohibited possessor law is still in effect. All SB 1108 does is allow concealed carry anywhere one could previously open carry, under the same regulations as open carry. I wonder even more how Safier (for whom I have much respect despite our political disagreement) puts up with his anonymous coward co-'blogger, who didn't spot Farley's gaffe. Perhaps the co-'blogger is Farley?

Or try "Tucson Independent Examiner" Hugh Holub:
Some training in the "shoot no shoot" decision is better than nothing. I really don't think people ought to be running around carrying concealed without some training about what situations you really can blow someone's ass to Hell.

Except that people could already carry openly without that training, and without it causing much trouble. Strict liability is a curious thing, that has gun owners buying Al Korwin's books to keep themselves out of trouble.

Why do the hoplophobes and Holub-like milquetoasts always speak of "running around", anyway? I didn't know that carrying added that kind of spring to one's step. Is that slang for "acting irresponsibly". Yes, I don't think people should act irresponsibly.

Holub goes on:
My main concern is for the cop or Sheriff's deputy or DPS officer that walks up to a car in a routine traffic stop. This is one of the most dangerous moments in police work because you really don't know what you are walking up to, especially at 3 AM out in the middle of nowhere.

Under the new law, if you have a weapon in your car, you will need to acknowledge this and surrender it.
Imagine you are the cop walking up…and the driver yells "I've got a gun and I'm handing it out the window…"

Are you going to be pointing your service weapon at the driver?

Most officer involved shootings start with a driver or passenger making a furtive gesture in a stop which looks like they are reaching for a gun. Boom. Dead. Good shoot usually.

Police in Arizona are better trained than that, knowing how they should conduct themselves in an encounter with someone who is carrying legally. And Arizonans who carry openly already know--or should know, as it is their responsibility--their obligations in an encounter with the police. Shooting someone carrying legally and acting as he ought would be manslaughter, at least. Bad shoot, usually. Note that it rarely happens. Instead of drawing on 20 or more years experience, Holub, like many, is content to simply Make Things Up. To opponents of firearms law liberalization, imagination trumps reality.

The punchline is at the end:
And consider for a moment all the problems we've had with gangs and drug cartel they can legally hide their guns and can't be busted for that.

Be careful out there. The new state motto is "an armed society is a polite society".

The "you can spot the bad guys because they're the ones who carry and/or conceal weapons" meme, again. An intellectual nonstarter in 2010, but so are most anti-liberalization arguments.

If they could legally carry at all--if they were not prohibited possessors--they could previously legally carry concealed, by taking the course! There's no part of the concealed carry course where one must answer "are you a gangbanger (Y/N)?" let alone do so truthfully!

"Hide their guns" is the interesting bit. In the Old West, one could carry openly but never concealed; concealing a weapon was a sign that one was up to no good, something for liars and scoundrels who had to hide something. The culture has changed; open carry makes some (crazy) people uneasy to an irrational extent. Moreover, open carry changes the dynamic of an encounter with an assailant; concealed carry is safer.

As much as I give Al Korwin grief about his right-wing reflexes, I have to say he's great with words (it is he who coined the term "hoplophobe") and spot-on about this one. "Concealed carry" is "discreet carry". Nothing more, nothing less. Not hiding something, but rather being discreet, for one's own safety and perhaps the comfort of left-wing hoplophobic weenies who call the police to report "there's a MAN with a GUN!" Such discretion is what is demanded of many of us in the modern culture, especially professionals and even more especially academics! SB 1108 brings Arizona's Old West gun laws into accord with modern culture.

Hysterics like Farley's (and my colleagues) and goofiness like Holub's distracts from the few truly bad seemingly pro-gun bills. Rather than repeating long-discredited arguments about "blood in the streets" and "the police will/should summarily execute legal carriers during an active shooter situation" when we were trying to extend the right to carry to University faculty and students, the worriers should have concerned themselves with the unseemly amount of attention given by the legislature to the Murder of Grant Kuenzli by the Coward Harold Fish and the resulting reckless change in standards of evidence. As reported in the Phoenix New Times, this may lead to yet another murderer being let loose. So much for deterrence. "Harold Fish and Roger Garfield got away with it...and look, there are no witnesses. I'll just claim self-defense!"

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