Let’s talk about guns. It seems everyone else is.
More attention has been paid by this legislature to the ability to carry guns than any previous group, or maybe some people wanted to discuss it back then but were shouted down.
It’s an interesting debate, and in the shadow of Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo., it has pushed the two sides of that debate to such extremes that real honest conversations are being lost.
But recently, measures have been taken to allow more gun owners more access to more places. Now we don’t necessarily subscribe to the basic notion that more guns in an area leads to less gun violence. More donut shops don’t lead to less obesity. But we understand the theory that many legal gun owners are usually the most law abiding citizens, only because they must apply and register for permits.
The most recent measures brought forth, which would allow more security options at schools and churches, also seem reasonable because it allows the schools and the churches to set their own parameters. Now a church body can allow or ban the existence of guns in their buildings. Maybe it’s an extra step that some establishments would rather not be forced to take, but it is certainly a reasonable approach.
Also, the ability to have someone trained to safely use a firearm as well as become a security measure for his or her fellow citizens, especially schoolchildren and churchgoers, seems to be, once again, reasonable.
But now comes House Bill 1408, which is known as the “Open Carry Act” and which is being brought forth by a number of house members including Faulkner County’s Douglas House and David Meeks. The bill would allow the open carrying of handguns in public places unless otherwise prohibited. Every concealed carry permit issued would convert to an open carry permit.
Is it out of the realm of possibility to see a woman holding people at bay during a Black Friday sale with her legal “piece” while she searches for the last XBox? Probably, but it would certainly change the landscape. Think of the Wyatt Earp days, but with more Honda Accords and Starbucks shoppes.
It could easily be the new stereotype. Will anyone who is not a gun owner look at someone who is packing as a threat? Will cutting in line at the checkout stand garner some sort of retribution?
These could be seen as silly questions, but after a legislative session that brought about legitimate questions about the ability to protect one’s self with a legally owned firearm, this is one bill that goes too far.