Warning - this is a bit of a long-winded rant/soap box speech. Feel free to skip it.
So this article was in the local paper over the weekend and it kind of tweaked me as a gun owner/carrier. I've been told by many people that I was born for politics as I often sit on the fence or in the middle when it comes to arguments and hot topics.
But I think it's more my attempt at trying to compromise to make everyone as happy as possible. And one of those areas I'm willing to compromise in is gun control. Yes, I have a gun. Yes, I open-carry my gun (as allowed by state law). Yes, I conceal-carry my gun (as allowed by state law). Over the past few years that I've been open/conceal-carrying, I have been stopped by law enforcement officers.
One, a city officer, asked me if I was in law enforcement. Obviously I said no but stated I had a permit. From there the conversation went to what was the best model, caliber, etc. The second time was by a state trooper. Again, he asked the same "what department are you with" question. When I said none, he politely asked me for my ID and permit. Well within his rights and mine. Both times I was treated professionally and politely.
But it's the reaction from the general public that always amazes me. Most of the time, I'm completely ignored. I think most people assume the big blob of black on my waist is a PDA or something. For those that notice, there's generally some shock, maybe some pointing and whispered words, but usually that's the extent of it. Most do take a step back and leave me alone.
But more interesting is the more vocal reactions I've gotten. Like the young wanna-be thuggie that yelled "5-0!" when I walked out the hardware store. Or the grocery store clerk that said "see, they don't buy just donuts" after I bought some cookies. Or the clerk in Best Buy that said "I'm glad you carry that in here. I carry too and I know it irritates the security in our store." Or the people in Wal Mart that outright denied me access to the store, saying guns were banned (which they later apologized for and said they weren't). Or the Costco manager who said I needed to leave. Rudely. Even though I was in the process of paying for my shopping cart of stuff.
Where does sitting the fence come into this? I think we should be allowed to own guns. Even to carry them. But I think there needs to be limits on that. Criminals shouldn't be allowed to have them. You shouldn't be allowed to carry them in certain places. And I think Virginia has done a good job in balancing the right to carry and the right to prevent weapons from being on certain property. In fact, there's one place I think should be added to the list of no-carry sites, and that's a doctor's office. And I generally don't carry there. Something about making your doc nervous while he sticks a needle in your arm doesn't appeal to me.
Anyway, I think our new President may bring change to gun-ownership laws. I've read some states are seeing an increase in gun sales because of this "fear." But I don't see it as a fear. Sure, Obama likely supports stricter gun laws. He's from Chicago and Illinois, two very tough areas to carry guns. But I don't see him restricting me protecting myself in my own home. Maybe on the streets, but if that means I need to get a "federal" license to carry, so be it. I'm sure I can pass the course. And it would make me feel safer that when I saw that fanny pack on the dude in the store, I knew he too had passed the course.
And while I'm sure we won't go to something as extreme as you can see in some European countries where guns are only carried by cops or where every citizen is in the "militia" and is expected to have a gun, I think I could live with that too. Gun related crimes are usually lower in those countries, so maybe it works. But I don't see that coming. It would be too much against the nature and backbone of our country. We'd have better luck getting rid of all the cars on the road.
Okay, I'm off my soap box. Congratulations if you made it this far.