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Posted at 8:28 PM ET, 01/23/2011

Dodge City in Virginia

By William Tunney, Grantsville, Md.

Regarding the Jan. 18 Metro story “Sticking to their guns, pro or con”:

A 23-year-old man stands outside the office of Virginia State Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) with a semiautomatic rifle strung over his shoulder, and no one is outraged?

Does the young man have a ho-hum look on his face, a worried look, an angry look? Does the senator have to send someone out to assess his body language before ushering him in for a chat with his representative? What is Virginia coming to?

Recently, The Post published a photograph of several men sitting in a restaurant in the same state wearing side arms and proudly stating their individual rights to do so.

Well! Where is my right to be able to have a meal in a restaurant and not have to worry if Joe Smith, who is packing heat, is going to have a temper tantrum or is sulking over a spat with his wife or his boss and decides to end it all there and take me with him? Where is my right to go into a store and not see a dozen people with guns?

In all my 65 years, I have never witnessed a crime, and I spent most of them in Baltimore. So please spare me the bunch of hypotheticals. Strange men and women walking around with side arms or rifles is scary, unwarranted and a deterrent to spending any time in the neighboring state of Virginia.

By William Tunney, Grantsville, Md.  | January 23, 2011; 8:28 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Virginia, guns  
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Comments

"Well! Where is my right to be able to have a meal in a restaurant and not have to worry if Joe Smith, who is packing heat, is going to have a temper tantrum or is sulking over a spat with his wife or his boss and decides to end it all there and take me with him? Where is my right to go into a store and not see a dozen people with guns?"

I don't like the color pink. Well! Where is my right to be able to be in public and not have to see the color pink? Where is my right to have a meal in a restaurant and not have to worry if someone is going to come in wearing that the awful color pink? Where is my right to go into a store and not see a dozen people wearing pink?

Posted by: ahashburn | January 24, 2011 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Tunney:

Let's run the numbers on violent crime in Maryland (aka "Murderland") and Virginia, then draw your own conclusions.

Source: 2009 Crime Rates by State (FBI report)

http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_05.html

MARYLAND (per 100,000)
--------------------------------------
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter: 7.7
Forcible rape: 20.3
Robbery: 210.7
Aggravated assault : 351.3

VIRGINIA
-------------------------------------
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter: 4.4
Forcible rape: 19.2
Robbery: 79.4
Aggravated assault : 123.9

Congratulations, Maryland! Compared to Virginia, Maryland has a 1.75 times higher murder rate, slightly higher number of rapes, over 2.5 times higher robbery and 2.8 times the assault rate.

Where is the outrage that you are 75% more likely to be murdered in Maryland than Virginia?

Or do you think the FBI is lying?

Where is the outrage that Maryland only allows a few select people (mostly retired law enforcement) to have concealed carry permits, and open carry is prohibited?

I am outraged that my permit, issued by a Virginia court, is not honored in Maryland.

Our rights to keep and bear arms do not evaporate at the state line. While Maryland's constitution does not have a right to keep and bear arms in it, the right is not dependent upon that instrument.

If gun control is a problem, the problem is Maryland has too much gun control, thereby aiding and abetting criminals. 9 out of 10 criminals prefer disarmed victims. The tenth criminal is probably insane.

Stay safe, sir. You'll be safer in Virginia than in Maryland, though.

Posted by: cfan1 | January 24, 2011 5:03 AM | Report abuse

That's why I have a conceal weapons permit. This way if one of these nut jobs open up, I can gun them down before they get me.

Posted by: kparc1212 | January 24, 2011 6:02 AM | Report abuse

cfan1,every industrialized country in the world with laws restricting guns has murder and violent crime rates lower than the US. How does this fit into your dialogue and reasoning ?

Posted by: Falmouth1 | January 24, 2011 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Different cultures.

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 24, 2011 6:12 AM | Report abuse

I value the degree overall. You do gain maturity and socialization with a 2 or 4-year degree and those benefits and ties last a lifetime. Look online for "United Forensic College" Specifically, a criminal justice degree helps early in the career with nuts and bolts when you are on the street.

Posted by: jaspermaxi | January 24, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Please explain why the areas with the "strictest" gun control always seem to have the highest crime rates with firearms.
Could it be that criminals STILL ignore firearm laws, and STILL prefer defenseless victims?

Posted by: MyOwnHomelandSecurity | January 24, 2011 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Sir, I don't like your comments. Yet were I the government, there would be nothing I could do about it. So I accept it on move on.

Regarding the incident of someone exercising their Second Amendment rights like you have your First, I suggest you do the same. Move on.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 24, 2011 6:52 AM | Report abuse

If only the murder rates and numbers of Virginia were not so much lower than those of MD and DC, then maybe the writer would have some sort of argument. But as is always the case with liberals, all the writer has is factless emotion.

Posted by: john_bruckner | January 24, 2011 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Tunney,
I have a CCL (Concealed Carry license), as do many thousands of people in Virginia. We might be standing right next to you when you are in the mall, getting gas, or whatever, ready to intervene in case some nut decides to go on a rampage and attack you. If you aren't comfortable coming to Virginia, then please stay in Maryland, where your odds of being killed are much worse. It can happen anywhere and at any time, but I'd prefer to be prepared and possibly fight back than just stand there with tears on my face and take a bullet.

Posted by: TomM6 | January 24, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

I also live in Maryland, and have never had any problems with crime, and find it threatening and intimidating to find myself in the company of people packing heat. These people in Virginia carrying guns in public are threats to the safety of others. They certainly do not make me feel safe.

I resent the in your face attitude of Virginia gun owners. They should keep in mind the thought that their aggressive attitude is part of the problem. America is not yet that violent a place that we need to carry a weapon every time we go out in public.

Posted by: samsara15 | January 24, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I note the letter writer lives in Grantsville, MD, which for those of you who don't know is right on the Pennsylvania border and almost near the West Virginia border! So here's a guy who lives well over a hundred miles away from Virginia giving some ridiculous reason why he doesn't go to restaurants in Virgina. Like he would really drive over a hundred miles to go to a restaurant.

I also note he pontificates about his life in Baltimore, yet (like most liberals), he lives in a lily white suburb having fled as best he could the very city he purports to be enamored with.

One day liberal will be an official synonym for hypocrite...

Posted by: john_bruckner | January 24, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"America is not yet that violent a place that we need to carry a weapon every time we go out in public."

Really...

We'll don't worry, if it ever "becomes" one you will have already laid down your right to defend yourself as a free human being.

Those rights are inalienable, not granted by government....but you probably don's agree with those sentiments, since they were so clearly articulated by a Virginian....

Posted by: kbalderson | January 24, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The gun nuts are a warning that the right wing 'philosophy' is leading us off a cliff. Or 'has led' is more accurate. They're a scary and so self-righteous they make you want to puke.

Posted by: WiseUpAmerica | January 24, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

You know the old NRA-saying don't you WiseUP:

"Guns don't kill people: Gun nuts with guns kill people."

Why stop at an automatic Uzi when you can propably buy a bazooka in the next state. Kind of hard to conceal but settles most arguments really quickly. CB

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | January 24, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd amendment guaranteed the right to keep a weapon in your home to protect yourself against an armed intruder. That's it.
All the extended rights: concealed carry, no registration, no qualifications, open carry, carry in public places including political offices and events is NOT GUARANTEED and may be regulated. The SC explicitly stated this: the right is not absolute. Nor is any right.

Posted by: WiseUpAmerica | January 24, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Here's the 64K question for posters who would love nothing better than to ban private gun ownership.

Do you even know why the 2nd Amendment is in the Bill of Rights??? Why was it so important to our Founders that they spelled it out in the framing document?

Any takers???

Posted by: kbalderson | January 24, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Guns don't add inches, guys.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 24, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Falmouth1 - I would rather live in America than those other "industrialized" countries.

"A breakdown of the statistics, which were compiled into league tables by the Conservatives, revealed that violent crime in the UK had increased from 652,974 offences in 1998 to more than 1.15 million crimes in 2007.

It means there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the UK, making it the most violent place in Europe.

Austria is second, with a rate of 1,677 per 100,000 people, followed by Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Holland.

By comparison, America has an estimated rate of 466 violent crimes per 100,000 population."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/5712573/UK-is-violent-crime-capital-of-Europe.html

So, while Britain has a much lower murder rate than the U.S., Brits should feel better knowing they are much more likely to survive being stabbed or coshed over the head with a beer bottle?

I'll take my chances in Virginia.

"Different cultures" indeed.

See this study by Kates and Mauser in the Harvard Journal of Law and Policy:
http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

I had no idea Luxembourg (where handguns are banned) was so dangerous with a murder rate of 9.01.

"Murder rates are determined by socio‐economic and cultural factors. In the United States, those factors include that the number of civilian‐owned guns nearly equals the population—triple the ownership rate in even the highest European gunownership nations—and that vast numbers of guns are kept for personal defense. That is not a factor in other nations with comparatively high firearm ownership. High gun ownership may well be a factor in the recent drastic decline in American homicide.

But even so, American homicide is driven by socio‐economic and cultural factors that keep it far higher than the comparable
rate of homicide in most European nations."

pg. 672.

So, Falmouth is half right. Murder rates are lower in other western countries, but he is wrong about violent crime rates being lower.

But comparing the U.S. to Sweden is comparing apples and oranges. The two countries are quite different with different socio-economic strata and composition within each strata.

I am responsible for my own safety, not the police.

Posted by: cfan1 | January 24, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

And this from kparc:

"I have a conceal weapons permit. This way if one of these nut jobs open up, I can gun them down before they get me."

Posted by: kparc1212 | January 24, 2011 6:02

This guy would make anyone feel nervous as he decides who he's going to "gun down" next. Who issued him with a permit? CB

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | January 24, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I am going to go to the range today, in beautiful low crime Virginia, and fire off 200 rounds. It's going to give me great joy to know that it will be pissing off liberals everywhere to do so.

Posted by: john_bruckner | January 24, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"Well! Where is my right to be able to have a meal in a restaurant and not have to worry..."

You don't have such a right.

Posted by: cbjesseeNH | January 24, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

kbalderson @ January 24, 2011 8:47 AM asked "Do you even know why the 2nd Amendment is in the Bill of Rights??? Why was it so important to our Founders that they spelled it out in the framing document?"

YES! Because we need a WELL-REGULATED MILITIA TO PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE.

Don't you agree?

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 24, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey Maryland. Mind your own business!

Posted by: tulsa_dave | January 24, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"YES! Because we need a WELL-REGULATED MILITIA TO PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE.

Don't you agree?"

In part... The part that most people don't know or have a really hard time saying is the Founders knew that part of the "common defense" might be against our own government.

I know in out modern, "civilized", suburban culture that's hard for alot of folks to swallow, but it's true. These were smart men. They knew first hand what could happen when governments were not "of the people" and therefore had nothing to fear from the people.

This morning I read an editorial in the NYT that said we should just restrict gun ownership by putting folks on the FBI watch list. No due process. No right to trail...just put them on a list that will make it illegal for them to own a gun. Are you kidding me?

We have forgotten as a nation from where we came. We have gone from staunch self reliance to sucking on the government tit, and we have done so one liberty at a time.

Posted by: kbalderson | January 24, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

How you tell a liberal in a men's room.

He is the one that goes to the end stall, and half turns his back away from everybody else. Especially when there is a 10-year old boy standing next to him. Because he doesn't want the 10-year old boy to see that his willy is bigger than a grown man's.

Posted by: john_bruckner | January 24, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: kbalderson

This morning I read an editorial in the NYT that said we should just restrict gun ownership by putting folks on the FBI watch list. No due process. No right to trail...just put them on a list that will make it illegal for them to own a gun.
-----------------

Is this the same type of watch list the NYT rants agaonst putting terrorist Muslims on?

I'm telling you, liberals are America's greatest enemy. al-Qaida is not even a close second...

Posted by: john_bruckner | January 24, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

ahashburn, the color pink is not protected in the constitution. Unlike the right to bear ... well, never mind.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 24, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Tunney: Stay in Maryland; we don't want you to come to Virginia. You have no right to eat a meal in Virginia and not expect a law abiding citizen to come into a restaurant with a gun...sorry. You would think in your 65 years that you would have gotten around to reading the Constitution. May I suggest that you goto a psychologist to treat your fear and anxiety...at any moment you could die in a traffic accident or of a sudden heart attack at your age or a long slow death attributed to cancer...but you will not die from a law abiding Virginia resident openly carrying a gun...it has NEVER HAPPENED!!!! You see, it is only the crazies and criminals who kill and they ALWAYS CONCEAL their firearms. So next time you come to our great state and see someone openly carrying...don't cringe in fear...thank them for protecting you!

Posted by: civilrightist | January 24, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I live in Virginia and to be honest, I limit my time in public places. Sure, something could happen when I'm there, but I try to be aware of my surroundings and when someone starts talking loudly, arguing, or seems intoxicated, I leave.

I don't trust people who carry openly and I don't think that people who carry concealed weapons can necessarily protect the public. If the person carrying a concealed weapon is a law enforcement official, then I'm confident that that person is trained in how to disarm the suspect and assess the situation before firing a shot. Others with a concealed weapon may be well intentioned, but I don't want to be one of the innocent bystanders shot by Mr or Miss Well Intentioned.

Bottom line is people have their freedoms and how they choose to exercise them is a matter of judgement and character.

Posted by: zzishate@yahoo.com | January 24, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

kbalderson @ January 24, 2011 9:27 AM: You issued a 'challenge', in the manner any immature child would in the play-ground. I took you up on it. Firstly apologize for the tone of your question, and retract that assinine comment.

From your response, I gather that you are sufficiently mature to do that. The issue is that you started the way that far too many NRA-fellows talk, assuming that you, and only you, have a basis for an opinion. I hope that you realize that one can hold an opinion contrary to yours, and still have a factual foundation for it.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 24, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

kbalderson @ January 24, 2011 9:27 AM: You issued a 'challenge', in the manner any immature child would in the play-ground. I took you up on it. Firstly apologize for the tone of your question, and retract that assinine comment.

From your response, I gather that you are sufficiently mature to do that. The issue is that you started the way that far too many NRA-fellows talk, assuming that you, and only you, have a basis for an opinion. I hope that you realize that one can hold an opinion contrary to yours, and still have a factual foundation for it.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 24, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

posted by AMviennaVA

"I hope that you realize that one can hold an opinion contrary to yours, and still have a factual foundation for it."

That's comical considering you TELL me to apologize for my "tone" then to retract my statement.

I will do neither.

Clearly you are as unfamiliar with the first amendment as you are the second.

Try this on for size....open a book (not the New York Times) and read a little about the history of our nation. Not second hand, filtered, cleaned up history... the actual words written by our Founders.

By the way, "being necessary to the security of a free state" didn't mean they expected us to be invaded by another country...

Posted by: kbalderson | January 24, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd amendment guaranteed the right to keep a weapon in your home to protect yourself against an armed intruder. That's it.
All the extended rights: concealed carry, no registration, no qualifications, open carry, carry in public places including political offices and events is NOT GUARANTEED and may be regulated. The SC explicitly stated this: the right is not absolute. Nor is any right.

Posted by: WiseUpAmerica
__________________________

Hey Wise, while no right is absolute, but with that reasoning, then the SC should rule that the 1st amendment can only be applied to what happens while you are on your own property. That means the states could regulate your speech as soon as you leave your property. Do you REALLY want to head down that slope? The second amendment says "BEAR arms" (emphasis added by me) that means you can CARRY your arms with you, you are not limited to strictly owning and having to keep at home.

Posted by: ATrueChristian | January 24, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Well! Where is my right to be able to have a meal in a restaurant and not have to worry if Joe Smith, who is packing heat, is going to have a temper tantrum or is sulking over a spat with his wife or his boss and decides to end it all there and take me with him? Where is my right to go into a store and not see a dozen people with guns?

In all my 65 years, I have never witnessed a crime, and I spent most of them in Baltimore. So please spare me the bunch of hypotheticals. Strange men and women walking around with side arms or rifles is scary, unwarranted and a deterrent to spending any time in the neighboring state of Virginia.
---------------------------------------

LOOKING BACK
Shooting rampage at Killeen Luby's left 24 dead

Before Oct. 16, 1991, the Central Texas town of Killeen was perhaps best known for its proximity to the Army base at Fort Hood, and Luby's was known only regionally as a popular cafeteria chain that served a wide variety of inexpensive dishes.

But on that day, both came to be linked to what was then the worst mass murder in U.S. history.

At 12:45 p.m., 35-year-old George Hennard of nearby Belton drove his pickup truck through a window at the Killeen Luby's and killed 24 people.

His 15-minute rampage ended when he shot himself after being wounded by police officers.

A team of Chronicle reporters and photographers was dispatched immediately, arriving while victims lay where they had fallen.

Under the Thursday, Oct. 17, headline "Bloodbath in Killeen," a story by Chronicle reporter Cindy Rugeley summarized what witnesses had seen: "He calmly and methodically strolled through the cafeteria, randomly shooting innocent people as they crouched under tables. Often he would stick the gun at a victim's head or body and fire."

Posted by: PALADIN7E | January 24, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

10 cops shot in the last 24 hours and THEY CARRY GUNS!! The NRA and their lobby have their blood on their hands....

Posted by: CHICO13 | January 24, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"If the person carrying a concealed weapon is a law enforcement official, then I'm confident that that person is trained in how to disarm the suspect and assess the situation before firing a shot. Others with a concealed weapon may be well intentioned, but I don't want to be one of the innocent bystanders shot by Mr or Miss Well Intentioned.

Bottom line is people have their freedoms and how they choose to exercise them is a matter of judgement and character.

Posted by: zzishate@yahoo.com | January 24, 2011 10:50 AM"

While to a degree I agree...

Before you place too much [blind] faith in law enforcement's "judgement and character", I'd take a REALLY close look at the levels of spousal (and significant other) abuse amongst law enforcement members (police, and federal law enforcement).

The statistics will likely frighten you.

No matter HOW well trained ANY person is...they are still just that...a person, and therefore subject to the same emotions and flaws as ANY other. No better, no worse.

Period.

Posted by: ThinkingMan | January 24, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Self-protection is a big pro-gun argument. A criminal threatening the self-protected gun carrier knows who, when and where he will attack. By the time the victim gets his self-protecting gun out of the bedside table, out of the bottom of the purse, out from beneath the car seat or out of his holster, he's probably dead or shot an innocent bystander.

As for the Second Amendment, just like prohibition, it can be repealed.

Posted by: razelme | January 24, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

When states start realizing their laws impact tourism ... then there will be change.

AZ may pass a law allowing students to carry weapons on campus, that should reduce the number of out of state students, the ones who pay full tuition.

Good move AZ.

Posted by: knjincvc | January 24, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

PALADIN7E

Not a critique, just some food for thought

(as these things [and MANY situations JUST like them] have also happened already...)

What about this ?

-The same nutjob drives his car into a crowded restaraunt killing multiple people

-A disgruntled employee throws rocks off an overpass onto cars below to get even with his supervisor (who he knows travels this road at the same time every day), causing a multi-car pileup and multiple deaths

-A kid or kids just being stupid do the same thing as the above thossing things off a bridge/overpass

-A woman scorned cuts the brake lines of her cheating beau's car, causing an accident which kills and injures multiple people

-Kids seeking to get even with the school system break in to the science lab and turn on the gas burners and try to blow up the school, EMS personnel are hurt and/or killed in the process of fighting the fire

-A woman putting on makeup while driving cuts off a driver causing the second driver's car to swerve and hit a minivan full of kids, killing some and injuring the balance

ALL of those things are illegal.

Yet somehow [largely because people do not innately FEAR those things happening to them, or the headlines for them are not sexy or scary enough] those things happen with little or no public outcry.

Posted by: ThinkingMan | January 24, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

ATrueChristian @ January 24, 2011 12:48 PM wrote "Hey Wise, while no right is absolute, but with that reasoning, then the SC should rule that the 1st amendment can only be applied to what happens while you are on your own property. That means the states could regulate your speech as soon as you leave your property. Do you REALLY want to head down that slope?"

That is a flawed argument, and there is no slope, slippery or otherwise: The 1st amendment declares an absolute prohibition on the state to regulate speech (or religion for that matter). The 2nd amendment begins with a justification for carrying arms, that being the need to have a well-regulated militia to provide for the common defense. In other words, the 2nd amendment provides a condition on the right, whereas the 1st amendment absolutely restricts the state.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 24, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

PALADIN7E

Not a critique, just some food for thought

(as these things [and MANY situations JUST like them] have happened already...)

What about this ?

-The same nutjob drives his car into a crowded restaraunt killing multiple people

-A disgruntled employee throws rocks off an overpass onto cars below to get even with his supervisor (who he knows travels this road at the same time every day), causing a multi-car pileup and multiple deaths

-A kid or kids just being stupid do the same thing as the above thossing things off a bridge/overpass

-A woman scorned cuts the brake lines of her cheating beau's car, causing an accident which kills and injures multiple people

-Kids seeking to get even with the school system break in to the science lab and turn on the gas burners and try to blow up the school, EMS personnel are hurt and/or killed in the process of fighting the fire

-A woman putting on makeup while driving cuts off a driver causing the second driver's car to swerve and hit a minivan full of kids, killing some and injuring the balance

ALL of those things are illegal.

Yet somehow [largely because people do not innately FEAR those things happening to them, or the headlines for them are not sexy or scary enough] those things happen with little or no public outcry.

Posted by: ThinkingMan | January 24, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

ThinkingMan @ January 24, 2011 3:17 PM: You present a list of stupid and idiotic behavior. And as you post, it consists of actions by nutjobs and the like, who commit illegal acts that result in injury to others. That does not mean that they should be legal does it?

I do not believe it should be legal to drive a car into a crowd, for instance, and I hope you don't either.

Likewise I don't think a 'nut' should be able to buy guns whether automatic, semi-automatic, or any other variety.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 24, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

AMviennaVA wrote "The 1st amendment declares an absolute prohibition on the state to regulate speech (or religion for that matter)."

Oh it does, does it??? Wrong again. Ever hear of a gag order??? I suppose that is not an instance of the state regulating free speech? Ever hear of classifies material, Fairness Doctrine, slander case law, and the 50 bazillion other instances where the state imposes regulation on speech that is supported by numerous court rulings...

It's the same thing, restriction is restriction. Personally, I would LIKE the "absolute" inability of the state to impose it's judicial restriction on the Bill of Rights. We would call that absolute liberty.

Posted by: kbalderson | January 24, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Arguments over the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution can continue to judgment day without resolution for the simple fact that both sides are correct. The full amendment states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. “

At the time of the constitutions drafting, a National Guard, as we now know it did not exist. The militia was subject to call up during times of national crisis or insurrection. Each able bodied man was expected to muster during a call up and bring his rifle (musket). Unless you lived in the towns or cities, gun ownership was as necessary to life as water. Individual gun ownership was a given, not subject to debate and was probably not discussed or considered. Restriction of gun ownership was as foreign to them as restricting private ownership of space craft is to us. Remember, the constitution was drafted to establish fed govt. States were afraid an all powerful fed govt. may want to prohibit states from having militias and restrict gun ownership. The “People” in this case were the citizens of each state. The framers did not want a centralized govt. to have this power. So yes, the 2nd Amendment was referring to an individual right that the govt. could not infringe.

The thing is the founders knew what guns were and what their purpose was. If they carried a gun into a tavern it was because they had it with them for other purposes (highwaymen, Indians, redcoats, etc.). They had the common sense to not parade around with guns in public unless there was a need. Publicly displaying a weapon downtown or in restaurants is just that, a parade. I suspect the founders would frown upon this even if they acknowledge your right to do so.

Posted by: GabsDaD | January 24, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

chico13 - I hate to break it to you, but most police officers are also members of the NRA. The NRA has never condoned criminals being allowed to possess a weapon of any type. You, my friend are the typoical hand wringing knee jerk rreactionary with no common sense at all.

Posted by: PZ007 | January 24, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Glad I found out this article about open carry in Virginia.

I'll do my best to stay away from there. Certainly wouldn't vacation there and would try to avoid any business in that state. People with guns scare the daylights out of me, unless its the police. Judging from the cross section of posts I've read I'm really not welcome there anyway.

Posted by: gregnowell | January 24, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: razelme
Self-protection is a big pro-gun argument. A criminal threatening the self-protected gun carrier knows who, when and where he will attack. By the time the victim gets his self-protecting gun out of the bedside table, out of the bottom of the purse, out from beneath the car seat or out of his holster, he's probably dead or shot an innocent bystander.
-----------------------

The only problem with this lyudicrous statement is the multitude of cases out there where an armed citizen saved his life from armed thugs because he did have a gun.

Repeal the Second Amendment? Hah! You libs can't even stop more and more states from allowing concealed carry. Like Wisconsin this year.

Posted by: john_bruckner | January 24, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

We ALREADY have a well-regulated militia. It includes city and state police, FBI, US Marshals and a whole lot of other guys with big guns that know how/when to shoot 'em. You guys who strut around with loaded guns and smirks on your faces "just waiting" for some event to give you "free hand" should all go directly to jail. We do not live in the 1700s now. Britain is on the other side of the ocean and most of the Indians are busy running casinos. Now, if you really want some action, I suggest you leave the farm and walk the streets in certain known nearby areas where you can find as much fastdraw and/or armed competition as you might care to see. Or, just join the Marines if you're still young enough.

Posted by: dcjazzman | January 25, 2011 12:30 AM | Report abuse

To the author: I'm just curious, do you have any real evidence to back up your seemingly irrational fears of being shot at random by a law abiding citizen?

I am 24 years old, currently still serving in the reserves, and own my own business. If you see me, I will be carrying. Probably opening. The only people who have ever had a problem with it have been individuals who are up to no good.

@samsara15: Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't. But saying this country isn't dangerous enough to have guns in public? I beg to differ. Or do I need to list the last few weeks headline's... Detroit police station shooting, AZ shooting, Washington WalMart shooting... and that's just the big, national headlines.

@chrisbrown12: When is the last time you heard of someone buying a bazooka legally and then using it in an argument to kill another individual? After-all, the debate is about legal gun ownership if I'm not mistaken. Try to stay on task here. And please stop beating up Rihanna.

@jckdoors: The only truth I've seen from the opposition. Too bad you're 12 and don't understand the concept that we like to keep our women safe and alive so they can enjoy our "inches".

@zzishate: Please google "Police shoot innocent". I'm currently still in the military, have trained law enforcement officers as high as the federal level, and worked with many independant and privately owned military groups... I can honestly say I spend more time on the range doing my own personal training (as do most individuals who carry that I know) than most any law enforcement officer I know. On average, most departments are only required to shoot and qualify once per year. I can't remember how to play the guitar if I only play once a year. Why would you be willing to put your life in the hands of someone who shoots his weapon once a year, without the addition of combative stress factors taking their toll on said officer?

@chico13: Nobody has blood on their hands except for the duranged morons that thought it necessary to shoot police officers. The NRA and gun lobbyist promote legal gun ownership and legal use... not murder. Once again, please come up with a logical and sensible statement.

Posted by: usaf_joe | January 25, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

To the author: I'm just curious, do you have any real evidence to back up your seemingly irrational fears of being shot at random by a law abiding citizen?

I am 24 years old, currently still serving in the reserves, and own my own business. If you see me, I will be carrying. Probably opening. The only people who have ever had a problem with it have been individuals who are up to no good.

@samsara15: Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't. But saying this country isn't dangerous enough to have guns in public? I beg to differ. Or do I need to list the last few weeks headline's... Detroit police station shooting, AZ shooting, Washington WalMart shooting... and that's just the big, national headlines.

@chrisbrown12: When is the last time you heard of someone buying a bazooka legally and then using it in an argument to kill another individual? After-all, the debate is about legal gun ownership if I'm not mistaken. Try to stay on task here. And please stop beating up Rihanna.

@jckdoors: The only truth I've seen from the opposition. Too bad you're 12 and don't understand the concept that we like to keep our women safe and alive so they can enjoy our "inches".

@zzishate: Please google "Police shoot innocent". I'm currently still in the military, have trained law enforcement officers as high as the federal level, and worked with many independant and privately owned military groups... I can honestly say I spend more time on the range doing my own personal training (as do most individuals who carry that I know) than most any law enforcement officer I know. On average, most departments are only required to shoot and qualify once per year. I can't remember how to play the guitar if I only play once a year. Why would you be willing to put your life in the hands of someone who shoots his weapon once a year, without the addition of combative stress factors taking their toll on said officer?

@chico13: Nobody has blood on their hands except for the duranged morons that thought it necessary to shoot police officers. The NRA and gun lobbyist promote legal gun ownership and legal use... not murder. Once again, please come up with a logical and sensible statement.

Posted by: usaf_joe | January 25, 2011 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I have been a subscriber to Washingtonian Magazine for many years and considered it a great informational publication covering this area but when I opened it to Page 57 of the current issue, I was shocked beyond belief to read the article and see those two young women wearing guns in public after all the tragic things that have just happened all because of the lack of gun control. This article, and particularly the pictures, can only encourage other young people to follow suit. What has happened to our concern for public safety and guidance for our young people? I cancelled my subscription today.

Posted by: pairofjeans13 | January 25, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@dcjazzman - you forgot to mention the felons of DC illegally carrying guns and shooting 2 people a day.

Posted by: bumnthsun | January 26, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I moved from Maryland into Virginia a few years ago, specifically and deliberately because of my 2nd Amendment right. I take complete comfort in knowing that other citizens are exercising the same right and protecting themselves and untold others when mere laws fail to protect us from the lawless.

Posted by: retiredLE | January 26, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"Where is my right to go into a store and not see a dozen people with guns?"

Geeezuuu ... You have just demonstrated (clearly) that you have zero clue concerning the definition of a right.

To the rest of you: What does this say about anti-gunners messing around with rights in general, when they believe they have a "right" not to be exposed to my ugly nose in public?

This is un-freakin-believable.

Posted by: madhtr | January 28, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

To all the "antis" who have posted here, this is a comment, only slightly edited, that I intended to post elsewhere; but 'surprise', comments were closed. My guess is that's because the comments were running heavily pro-gun. Nevertheless, this comment is still appropriate here:

You poor, misguided, fearful creatures. You're like children, afraid of monsters under your beds because you don't know any better. I pity you in your ignorance of guns, of legitimate gun owners, and of the so-called "gun culture" of which I have been a member since the Christmas I was 9. There is no better, more responsible, honest, decent, safety-minded breed on the face of the planet; and you evidently willingly choose to ignore those truths, and libel and stereotype those good people only for the sake of your fear and prejudice and inexperience. But the saddest part is that you write publicly from such a position, and spread and perpetuate your lack of understanding to and among others, like a philosophical Typhoid Mary. You have the Right of Free Speech, but the way you and others like you choose to exercise it is truly dismaying.

I have no desire to generally limit the Rights of Americans under the First Amendment (which are characterized in the Constitution as Rights "of the People") because a few exercise those Rights irresponsibly. That would be a serious logical, moral and philosophical error. But I see examples over and over again that some would like to do exactly that with regard to the Second Amendment (also a Right "of the People"), and I get the general sense from your tone that you are among them. But remember; when the Rights of one are threatened, the Rights of all are threatened; and remember, we're talking about Rights, not desires or preferences.

There is no 'right' to go anywhere and be safe. There never HAS been or will be. There will always be violent criminals and madmen in society, and they do not give the rest of us the courtesy of announcing when or where they will be next. So we who recognize that our safety is ultimately in our own hands choose to carry. If you don't desire to see law-abiding citizens with guns, disarm yourself and go somewhere guns are illegal. Then you can live in your little imaginary bubble and never have to see one until a violent felon who cares nothing about your life sticks one in your face.

"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there -- lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more." -Mark Twain, American author and humorist (1835-1910)

Are you listening, goddardsinrichmond?

Posted by: FirstPrinciples | January 29, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

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