First – I updated yesterday’s post because I forgot one big point about why you should own a gun: hunting.
Now, on to guns! Or more accurately: gun laws.
If there’s anything that the Trayvon Marin case has taught us, it’s that the average citizen – and occasionally, gun owner – knows about as much about gun laws as they do about quantum physics. On the one hand, you have puppet masters and their marionettes screaming about the evils of “stand your ground” laws.
I’ve already covered the Trayvon case before, but there are some things that bear repeating. For instance, everything Massad Ayoob says here:
Again, as The Great Ayoob says in the above video, you have a right to defend yourself with deadly force in the United States. No state in the union can take that right away from you. They can, however, restrict that right using laws like the “duty to retreat” and “concealed carry”. We’ll talk about reasonable restrictions tomorrow, but for today, let’s reiterate some basic points.
First, let’s talk basic self defense. Again, you have the right to defend your life and the lives of those around you if you, as a reasonable person, believe that you are presented with a real and present danger to your life, serious bodily injury, or serious sexual assault. If a bad guy is coming after you with a knife, you have the right to pull a gun to defend yourself.
Where you live, however, defines how you can use that gun. A few states require you to at least attempt to retreat, even in your own home (“officer, he was coming to kill me and I tried to get away, but couldn’t”). Other states have a castle doctrine or stand-your-ground law that removes this duty to retreat, so long as you are in your home or, depending on the state, in your car or your place of business. Other states have a variety of the stand-your-ground law, where you have no duty to retreat at any time in any situation, and you have a near-absolute right to defend your life without retreating an inch.
As I’ve said before, I am not a lawyer. You should consult your state’s laws if you have any questions.
Posted Here for Totally Non-Gratuitous Reasons
Second, let’s talk about carrying your gun. Again, this depends on where you live (hence why you should call on your Senators to back the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, which will protect your rights to carry your weapons if you cross state lines into any state that allows you to carry your weapons (Illinois and DC being the only notable anti-freedom locales in the US). The House has already passed the bill, and now it’s in the hands of Harry Reid’s Senate.
God help us all.
It’s important to know how you can carry your gun. Most states have some sort of concealed carry license that requires you to receive some level of training and maybe do a background check so that you can carry your gun in a way that it can’t be easily seen by the public – and that shares that rights to some degree with other states. Some states allow you to carry your gun on your hip in full view of the public. Some of those states have restrictions on open carry that are, well…. Interesting. North Carolina, for instance, protects the right to open carry in the state constitution, but the right is whittled down by a restriction that doesn’t allow you to cause terror to the public. In other words, you have a constitutional right to carry your sidearm in a holster in full public view… right up until someone gets nervous. As soon as that happens, you may be found to be “armed to the terror of the populace” and you may find yourself in trouble. Again, check your state’s laws (and the laws of states you visit) for more information.
Having said that – I’ve got some opinions here. Surprise, surprise. My take is this: if you haven’t been convicted of a violent felony or adjudicated by the courts to be mentally deficient or found to have an intelligence quotient that would qualify you as mentally disabled (below 80), you should have the right to open or concealed carry without a license. If you’ve been convicted of a non-violent felony or a misdemeanor, you’ve served your full time including probation and parole, and you’ve gone 10 years without having another conviction, then I believe your full gun rights should be restored.
While I’m dreaming, I’d also like a pony and 100 bajillion dollars.
I guess the simplest point to all of the law questions is: be educated. 20 years ago, it was more difficult and sometimes you could slide on simply not knowing things. Heck, 20 years ago, a woman carrying a gun in her purse often wouldn’t have a moment’s worth of trouble from the police who figured that an armed woman was better than a dead one. Now the laws have changed, concealed carry is a state law (meaning that the state has a financially vested interest in you following the law that criminals aren’t going to follow anyway), and the cops presume that you’ve Googled all state laws regarding weapons carrying. There’s a bit more freedom, but far less leeway. Hunting laws are similar: there’s much less flexibility in their enforcement than there was in previous times, so you need to keep up to date on the laws, limits, and licensing.
Stay informed. Stay frosty.
Read Full Post »