Packing heat at the local Starbucks
July 15, 2004 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Packing heat at the local Starbucks

Feeling a little unsafe going to the local mall? Bring your hand gun!

In fact bring some more ammo just in case you run out! It's legal here in Veeerginia.
posted by blahblah (56 comments total)
 
So, too, here in Texas. After the law was passed, though, many many business began sporting signs saying that guns are not allowed on the premises.

I only scanned the article...surely Virginia doesn't require property owners to allow people to bring in their guns?

Anyway, there are some nuts who think that it's somehow an insult to their rights that a property owner would disallow someone carrying in a weapon. These are some very confused libertarians, I suppose.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:35 PM on July 15, 2004


there are some nuts who think that it's somehow an insult to their rights that a property owner would disallow someone carrying in a weapon.

"Sorry sir, but in order to enter my small, bungalo-sized communist refuge, you must put down your weapon. And yes, we are watching you."
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:44 PM on July 15, 2004


Actually, the whole gun debate needs new paradigms.

First of all, it is just as common sense to forbid guns in dense urban areas, as it is common sense that there are few reasons to ban them in lower density population areas.

Guns in legal hands *do* prevent a LOT of crime. But they are a serious problem in illegal hands.

Most police gun injuries are caused by their own weapons. The *need* of police to be constantly armed needs to be re-examined, as do the post-1960s SWAT tactics training that involves them pulling their weapon but with no great intent to use it, other than to threaten. I would hazard to guess that at least 70% of police shootings are unnecessary, *or* are caused by "police wielding" that turns a non-lethal situation into a lethal one.

Openly displayed weapons are an overt threat, a dare, a badge of masculine aggressiveness. Concealed weapons have the inherent value of a psychological advantage to the holder: they don't *have* to be as afraid in a dangerous situation, so they can concentrate on cooling it down. If a concealed weapon is displayed, this advantage is lost to them.

Another advantage of having a concealed carry law, is that if someone is forbidden to possess a gun, there is an additional, probably severe penalty for concealing it without a license. Possibly doubling their prison time.

One of the most common potentially violent crimes is the domestic dispute. A gun in this situation is a very bad thing, often leading to "heat of passion" manslaughter.

However, if a couple have been legally separated, usually with a woman being menaced by her violent boyfriend or husband, no legal order and no number of police can protect her--but a handgun will. In fact, it is probably the only thing short of an armed bodyguard that can.

Back again to the population density issue. In a less crowded environment, concealed carry laws may evolve into something akin to "deputization" by local law enforcement. An ill-used provision in the law allows for civilian deputization as necessary--but with a modicum of training in the concept of "citizens arrest", these "citizen deputies" are not half bad in emergency law enforcement situations.

Outside of major urban areas, even in the suburbs and heading out into the countryside, police may regularly be spread so thin as to be ineffective for immediate response. In their place, *expecting* ordinary citizens to enforce the serious laws is not entirely unreasonable.
posted by kablam at 6:57 PM on July 15, 2004


Utah has a concealed carry law and I've never seen a business here post a sign against carrying weapons. I'm sure most businesses here would lose quite a bit of money if they did.

One of my best friends carries his Sig .45 everywhere he goes. We've run into some suspicious characters in our travels around the state so I'm glad he does. Nothing amiss has ever happened but its nice to know there's a bit of protection if it does.

When I moved to Utah I was fairly liberal in my views on gun control but living here has made me change my opinion considerably.
posted by pandaharma at 7:10 PM on July 15, 2004


Here's the law in question.

It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a loaded firearm on or about his person on any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or in any public park or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public (i) in any city with a population of 160,000 or more or (ii) in any county having an urban county executive form of government or any county or city surrounded thereby or adjacent thereto or in any county having a county manager form of government. The provisions of this section shall not apply to law-enforcement officers, licensed security guards, military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, or any person having a valid permit to carry such firearm or to any person actually engaged in lawful hunting or lawful recreational shooting activities at an established shooting range or shooting contest. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

For purposes of this section, "firearm" means any (i) semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine which will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock or (ii) shotgun with a magazine which will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered.


Private businesses can absolutely institute their own policies. But the only "public" punishment for violating the policy would be criminal tresspass. And the police wouldn't even get involved unless the person refused to leave.

One thing's for sure. There's going to be a lot of deadly misunderstandings in retail stores.
posted by PrinceValium at 7:16 PM on July 15, 2004


Quick overview of gun laws by state.

More detailed state-by-state rundown of gun laws.

Both are brought to you by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. Regardless of your opinions on gun control, this information is as reliable and authoritative as you'll get without paying a lawyer to explain the law to you.

It's interesting reading.
posted by stet at 7:22 PM on July 15, 2004


Openly displayed weapons are an overt threat, a dare, a badge of masculine aggressiveness. Concealed weapons have the inherent value of a psychological advantage to the holder: they don't *have* to be as afraid in a dangerous situation, so they can concentrate on cooling it down. If a concealed weapon is displayed, this advantage is lost to them.

You know, that would give me a psychological advantage to NOT have a gun on me, knowing that legally it doesn't matter if anyone else does. If I don't have a deadly weapon there's no reason anyone has the right to brandish one at me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:44 PM on July 15, 2004


I once saw a guy walk into my local coffeehouse in Santa Fe with a large handgun on his belt. The Downtown Subscription is a well heeled coffeehouse, the place in Santa Fe to have your latte and read the New York Times. And in walks this guy with a big ol' gun. He ordered his latte, sat down, and calmly had his coffee and read his paper. No big deal.

I was impressed that after the first doubletake, no one at the coffeehouse seemed particularly bothered.
posted by Nelson at 8:02 PM on July 15, 2004


One thing's for sure. There's going to be a lot of deadly misunderstandings in retail stores.

Do you have any statistics to back up this opinion? From http://utahshootingsports.com/usscstudy.htm

In Utah: (after they passed gun legislation in 1995 that made it easier to obtain a concealed carry permit)
The rate of revocations per permit holder was highest in 1994 before the new law at 4 revocations per 1000 permit holders. By comparison, the 1998 revocation rate was 2.5 revocations per 1000, almost half the 1994 rate. The data suggests there is not a causal link between increasing crime rates and the number of concealed carry permit holders in the community. Currently, approximately 25,000 Utahns have permits, a 17-fold increase, at the same time the rate of the crimes of assault, robbery, and personal property have been decreasing or remaining stable. The decline in firearm injuries would suggest improved safe use of firearms in the community. Additionally, the data does not suggest a link between permit holders and the increase in murder and rape by young men as this would be reflected by increasing revocation rates as opposed to the decreasing rates in the data.
I have a concealed carry permit for my state, and have never even considered shooting someone over a misunderstanding (in a retail store or anywhere else). If I'm not about to be killed or seriously injured, I don't freak out and start shooting people. I would guess that most people carrying openly would also be able to control themselves.
posted by Sirius at 8:24 PM on July 15, 2004


So, too, here in Texas.

Not true. VA's law states that anyone can carry a gun without a permit. Nobody in Texas is allowed to carry a handgun, concealed or openly without a permit to carry.

State Constitutional Provision:
"Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime." Article 1, Section 23.
posted by dejah420 at 8:43 PM on July 15, 2004


Wow, I didn't realize the VA law allowed no permits. Weird. And I thought the concealed carry law here was extreme.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:09 PM on July 15, 2004


Openly displayed weapons are an overt threat, a dare, a badge of masculine aggressiveness.

Even when wielded by female cops?
posted by cohappy at 10:06 PM on July 15, 2004


Let me ask you this, sirius. If you worked at Starbucks and a guy came in with a gun, at what point would you be sure that you weren't getting robbed?
posted by PrinceValium at 10:10 PM on July 15, 2004


Wow, I didn't realize the VA law allowed no permits. Weird. And I thought the concealed carry law here was extreme.

You don't have to have a permit to carry openly, you do have to have a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

Vermont, on the other hand, allows all people to carry a concealed handgun with no permit.

One thing's for sure. There's going to be a lot of deadly misunderstandings in retail stores.


Why is that? This has been the law for quite some time with no problems at all. Well, other than people calling the cops on someone carrying as they don't realize it is legal.

First of all, it is just as common sense to forbid guns in dense urban areas, as it is common sense that there are few reasons to ban them in lower density population areas.


I disagree. Criminals don't leave you alone just because you are in a dense, urban environment. In fact you are much more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in an urban area.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:23 PM on July 15, 2004


One thing not mentioned in the article - it's illegal to carry a concealed firearm in a restaurant in Virginia, but legal if worn openly.
posted by Tenuki at 10:44 PM on July 15, 2004


Why do you need to carry around a handgun in the first place?

If I was forced to live in Baghdad I would consider having a firearm but in small town America what's the point?

If crime was so bad where I lived that I had to carry around a handgun to protect the life of my daughter then I would surely move.
posted by cmacleod at 11:55 PM on July 15, 2004


I don't think many Americans will ever understand how their gun culture boggles other western nations. Such a nation of fear.

Tell me, please, why anyone would ever need to be violent against you? The basic worst realistic situation I can imagine most of you encountering is your basic mugging: some tough walks up and demands your cash. Are you going to fight about it? No? Then why would he need to smash you or shoot you?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:27 AM on July 16, 2004


fff, the point is that the lucky Americans have the right to shoot at each other, even if they don't actually do it. That's what makes them freer than us oppressed Europeans, where even the policemen are prevented from bearing arms against their citizens.
posted by cbrody at 12:41 AM on July 16, 2004


cmacleod: Why do you need to carry around a handgun in the first place?

If I was forced to live in Baghdad I would consider having a firearm but in small town America what's the point?

If crime was so bad where I lived that I had to carry around a handgun to protect the life of my daughter then I would surely move.


That could be a reasonable argument if violent criminals would only be considerate enough to limit their places of residence to large urban areas. But, alas, criminals aren't, by nature, considerate. If you're depending on the police to protect you, I hope you don't mind waiting around with your armed and violent assailant for 5-15 minutes -- that's the average response time for local law enforcement rolling "code 3" (lights & siren) in my "rural" area just outside a state capital, for example. Large metropolitan police agencies may have better response times, but even three minutes is still an eternity when you're about to be assaulted, raped, or killed.

fff: Tell me, please, why anyone would ever need to be violent against you? The basic worst realistic situation I can imagine most of you encountering is your basic mugging: some tough walks up and demands your cash. Are you going to fight about it? No? Then why would he need to smash you or shoot you?

It's not a question of why they "need" to be violent against you; of course they don't "need" to. Many want to, for a variety of reasons: because you took too long to give up your money/car/shoes; because they perceive that you "dissed" them in the process of robbing you; because they are drunk or stoned, and their "usual" good judgment is impaired; because leaving you alive means you can testify at their trial; because their crime against you (in addition to their previous victims) would make them an "armed career criminal," which would mean mandatory prison time (and they don't really want to be someone's "bitch" on the inside, all macho talk aside); or, simply, beacause they can, they are amoral pieces of shit, and it pleases or amuses them to have power over your life.

cbrody: fff, the point is that the lucky Americans have the right to shoot at each other, even if they don't actually do it. That's what makes them freer than us oppressed Europeans, where even the policemen are prevented from bearing arms against their citizens.

Errr, no. Americans do not have the right to shoot each other, though it's funny to pretend that's the case when making an argument. I am not aware of any U.S. state that does not impose criminal penalties for discharging a firearm at a person unless it is done to protect the life of the victim of a violent crime (or someone who is about to become the victim of a violent crime: if someone is holding a baseball bat and saying threatening things you may not shoot him; if he is swinging it at you, you may). BTW, many American law enforcement officers joke about our British counterparts: bobby rolls up on one man battering another man to death and yells, "Stop, or I'll yell 'stop' again!" I really am curious as to what an unarmed officer would do when confronted with a violent person who *is* armed (bear in mind that it's not too hard to make lethal weapons out of many common objects: boards, keys, bottles, pipes). Even the Japanese arm their riot police (kidotai) after making them endure advanced martial arts training.
posted by wdpeck at 1:27 AM on July 16, 2004


I don't think many Americans will ever understand how their gun culture boggles other western nations. Such a nation of fear.

It boggles the minds of people in the sane Northeast, too. A large portion of the rest of the country never got past the stage of being 10, building a tree fort, and waiting with a pile of rocks for enemies that don't exist.

(Yeah, yeah, gun-fondlers-- I'm ignorant. Every fourth American is on PCP and wants to kill law-abiding citizens and I've just been very lucky not to ever meet one; I live in an Ivory Tower because I detest objects designed to kill; and one day the Government is going to come for you on some trumped-up charge and you're going to hold off the entire ATF with your Ruger until they give up and leave you alone)
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:40 AM on July 16, 2004


it boggles the minds of people in the sane northeast

And I dare say the even saner northwest!
posted by cbrody at 5:49 AM on July 16, 2004


Better it's out in the open instead of hidden between their ass and their pants under their shirt.
posted by angry modem at 6:39 AM on July 16, 2004


Let me ask you this, sirius. If you worked at Starbucks and a guy came in with a gun, at what point would you be sure that you weren't getting robbed?

I've worked in food service, and if I saw someone openly carrying a gun, I guess I would be less worried about getting robbed than if I saw someone acting "suspicious". Why would a criminal carry their gun openly when it would surely draw suspicion towards him?

Tell me, please, why anyone would ever need to be violent against you? The basic worst realistic situation I can imagine most of you encountering is your basic mugging: some tough walks up and demands your cash. Are you going to fight about it? No? Then why would he need to smash you or shoot you?

This convenience store robbery happened one night while I was working (probably a couple miles away from the Domino's where I was working at the time).
All three victims were store employees: Mary Bratcher, age 46; Fred Jones, age 58; and Mabel Scruggs, age 57. Each victim died from head injuries that were consistent with a bloody hammer found at the scene. In addition, Mary Bratcher suffered at least ten stab wounds to her left hand consistent with a bloody flat-head screwdriver found in a field near the store, and Fred Jones suffered a nonfatal, facial gunshot wound. Police officers also found a bloody Phillips screwdriver, a pair of gloves, a pair of jeans, and a brown jacket in the field next to the store.
Hair on the gloves was consistent with that of Mabel Scruggs. Blood on the gloves was consistent with that of Mabel Scruggs or Fred Jones. Hair on the jacket was consistent with that of Fred Jones. Blood on the jacket was consistent with a mixture of the blood of all three victims.
Why are people so scared of guns that they would prefer being killed with a hammer and screwdriver to being able to protect yourself?
posted by Sirius at 7:02 AM on July 16, 2004


I think it's cute how only people who are against guns are "sane" or mature. That's certainly a way to make your point, but logical fallacies, while amusing, are not especially effective arguments. I hope I never have to use my guns on a person, but that option remains mine. I don't have to wait for the police to show up and protect my family because I can do it myself.

For those who don't like firearms, I fully support your right not to have them. However, my right to carry a gun should not be restricted because others are scared of them.
posted by CRS at 7:28 AM on July 16, 2004


Why are people so scared of guns that they would prefer being killed with a hammer and screwdriver to being able to protect yourself?

So if I don't carry a gun, I am definitely going to be killed with shit from a toolbox? If this is inevitable, then it's indeed distressing-- my parents have both gone nearly 60 years without so much as touching a gun. How much time can they possibly have left before Handyman Negri comes for them?
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:49 AM on July 16, 2004


So if I don't carry a gun, I am definitely going to be killed with shit from a toolbox?

Exactly. Your logic awes me
posted by Sirius at 8:07 AM on July 16, 2004


Exactly. Your logic awes me

You gave me two choices-- carry a gun or be killed by hand tools. I'll repeat what you wrote:

Why are people so scared of guns that they would prefer being killed with a hammer and screwdriver to being able to protect yourself?

Think you might be fearmongering? Think you might be fearmongering to demonstrate that you definitely need a gun to protect yourself, when you really want it because it makes you feel powerful?

Why can't you just say "There is a very miniscule chance that I will be assaulted. I enjoy carrying a gun because it makes me feel like I can take on anything. I am a powerful man when I have my gun with me."

Is it because it makes you fell a bit inadequate to have to admit that? Well, guess what? Unless you're heavily involved in hard drugs or something equally unsavory, you have a better chance of getting irritated and injuring a family member with your "self-defence equipment" than you do shooting a criminal.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:43 AM on July 16, 2004


Mayor Curley, there's no point arguing with people who believe things as an article of faith. If people truly want to believe that they are safer by driving an SUV, arresting foreign journalists, locking up (and executing) dangerous-looking people, allowing guns onboard airplanes, praying to (a) god, and/or carrying lethal weapons themselves, then let them.

These are all symptoms of a fundamentally faith-based culture and one doomed to ruin, in my not so humble opinion. The Americans' culture of fear and superiority will destroy themselves first, but there's still a chance for the rest of us, barring a nuclear apocalypse.
posted by cbrody at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2004


Is it because it makes you fell a bit inadequate to have to admit that? Well, guess what? Unless you're heavily involved in hard drugs or something equally unsavory, you have a better chance of getting irritated and injuring a family member with your "self-defence equipment" than you do shooting a criminal.

Having had a concealed carry permit, having been assaulted at gunpoint, and having used my licensed firearm in self-defense, I'd prefer to trust my own judgment and self-restraint than rely on that of others.

Carrying a gun is like any other form of insurance. You pay for it, you'd rather not have to bother with it, but you may regret not having it on the rare occasion you might need it. It's a burden to carry a gun. It makes you sweaty, you have to worry about dropping it or accidentally exposing it (which may well be considered "brandishing" if you have a concealed carry permit) and it's just an all-around annoyance. You have to learn how and when to use it - and how and when not to use it - just like any other tool, and this isn't a trivial matter.

Tell me, please, why anyone would ever need to be violent against you? The basic worst realistic situation I can imagine most of you encountering is your basic mugging: some tough walks up and demands your cash. Are you going to fight about it? No? Then why would he need to smash you or shoot you?

Well, let me tell you my story. The last time I was held up, was pretty much your "basic mugging". I was delivering a pizza in a pretty run-down neighborhood (which is why I was able to get a concealed carry permit in the first place - they tend to be job-related in a lot of states, I think). It was a setup - no one answered the door, and a kid, no more than sixteen I think, walked up behind me from across the street. When he got to the curb, I turned around, and he pulled a small revolver from his waistband and waved it in my general direction. He told me to give him my money, so I did - despite being armed, actually using your gun should be a last resort. I had maybe twenty dollars - we intentionally don't carry much cash - and he wasn't happy about that and started waving his gun around more frantically. I think he thought I was holding out on him. He was angry and nervous. My guess is that this was his first armed robbery. He fired a shot. I don't think it was intentional, actually, but I was pretty nervous myself at that point, so I drew my pistol, pointed it in the air, and fired. That scared the crap out of him, and he ran away with my twenty.

The noise soon attracted a local patrol car, and I spent half of the day with the cops - even with a permit, it's not a trivial thing to fire a gun, and someone in the neighborhood saw my gun (a stainless steel .380) but not my assailant's gun (a tiny black .22). So, not a fun experience, but I'm very thankful that no one got hurt. That was many years ago, and I now live and work in a place where I no longer feel unsafe, and I no longer have a carry permit, but I have no regrets about my actions then.

On preview, cbrody, it must be nice to be able to put everything in such nice, neat categories of good and bad, right and wrong. Too bad life really isn't so simple, huh?
posted by me & my monkey at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2004 [1 favorite]


Uhuh. And tell us, m&mm, how could you have handled that situation differently, such that you would not require using your gun?

"Okay, buddy, everything is cool. We pizza guys deliberately do not carry excess cash. All I have is a twenty and the pizza, and you can have them both. Everything is cool, you can have the money and the pizza. I don't want to cause any trouble. Everything is okay, everything is cool. We don't need any trouble about this."
posted by five fresh fish at 9:39 AM on July 16, 2004


Why can't you just say "There is a very miniscule chance that I will be assaulted. I enjoy carrying a gun because it makes me feel like I can take on anything. I am a powerful man when I have my gun with me."

Crimes of violence in 2002: 4,923,000
Police reported car crashes in 1999: 6,289,000

Do you refuse to wear your seat belt when you're in a vehicle because there is a smaller than miniscule chance you'll be in an accident? If you do wear your seatbelt, do you do it because it makes you feel like you can drive like a race car driver? Does it make you feel like a "powerful man" when you wear your seat belt?

"Okay, buddy, everything is cool. We pizza guys deliberately do not carry excess cash. All I have is a twenty and the pizza, and you can have them both. Everything is cool, you can have the money and the pizza. I don't want to cause any trouble. Everything is okay, everything is cool. We don't need any trouble about this."

That would work great with a rational person. I wonder what percentage of people who commit armed robberies or other violent crimes would be considered rational people?
posted by Sirius at 9:50 AM on July 16, 2004


Crap. In my comment above I was going to use "3,200,000 people injured in car accidents in 1999", but for some reason put the total accidents reported. Sorry for using the wrong stat in my previous comment.
posted by Sirius at 9:56 AM on July 16, 2004


Sirius, there's no point arguing with people who believe things as an article of faith. If people truly want to believe that they are safer by depending on government regulation or local law enforcement to save them from all harm, then let them.

These are all symptoms of a fundamentally faith-based culture and one doomed to ruin, in my not so humble opinion. That culture of servitude and submission to authority will destroy themselves first, but there's still a chance for the rest of us, barring a nuclear apocalypse.
posted by CRS at 10:00 AM on July 16, 2004 [1 favorite]


If people truly want to believe that they are safer by depending on government regulation or local law enforcement to save them from all harm, then let them.
Linda Riss, an attractive young woman, was for more than six months terrorized by a rejected suitor well known to the courts of this State, one Burton Pugach. This miscreant, masquerading as a respectable attorney, repeatedly threatened to have Linda killed or maimed if she did not yield to him: "If I can't have you, no one else will have you, and when I get through with you, no one else will want you". In fear for her life, she went to those charged by law with the duty of preserving and safeguarding the lives of the citizens and residents of this State. Linda's repeated and almost pathetic pleas for aid were received with little more than indifference. Whatever help she was given was not commensurate with the identifiable danger. On June 14, 1959 Linda became engaged to another man. At a party held to Page 584 celebrate the event, she received a phone call warning her that it was her "last chance". Completely distraught, she called the police, begging for help, but was refused. The next day Pugach carried out his dire threats in the very manner he had foretold by having a hired thug throw lye in Linda's face. Linda was blinded in one eye, lost a good portion of her vision in the other, and her face was permanently scarred. After the assault the authorities concluded that there was some basis for Linda's fears, and for the next three and one-half years, she was given around-the-clock protection.

...

Linda has turned to the courts of this State for redress, asking that the city be held liable in damages for its negligent failure to protect her from harm. With compelling logic, she can point out that, if a stranger, who had absolutely no obligation to aid her, had offered her assistance, and thereafter Burton Pugach was able to injure her as a result of the negligence of the volunteer, the courts would certainly require him to pay damages. (Restatement, 2d, Torts, § 323.) Why then should the city, whose duties are imposed by law and include the prevention of crime (New York City Charter, § 435) and, consequently, extend far beyond that of the Good Samaritan, not be responsible? If a private detective acts carelessly, no one would deny that a jury could find such conduct unacceptable. Why then is the city not required to live up to at least the same minimal standards of professional competence which would be demanded of a private detective?

Linda's reasoning seems so eminently sensible that surely it must come as a shock to her and to every citizen to hear the city argue and to learn that this court decides that the city has no duty to provide police protection to any given individual. What makes the city's position particularly difficult to understand is that, in conformity to the dictates of the law, Linda did not carry any weapon for self-defense (former Penal Law, § 1897). Thus, by a rather bitter irony she was required to rely for protection Page 585 on the City of New York which now denies all responsibility to her.
posted by Sirius at 10:34 AM on July 16, 2004


Uhuh. And tell us, m&mm, how could you have handled that situation differently, such that you would not require using your gun?

"Okay, buddy, everything is cool. We pizza guys deliberately do not carry excess cash. All I have is a twenty and the pizza, and you can have them both. Everything is cool, you can have the money and the pizza. I don't want to cause any trouble. Everything is okay, everything is cool. We don't need any trouble about this."


Uh, well, right about that time was when he fired his gun. I was saying all of those sorts of things to calm him down, and I'd already given him both the money and set the pizza on the ground for him to take. Like I said, he was angry and nervous. But thanks for the second-guessing, you dumbass. I've been shot at more than once, and it's a very unpleasant experience. It's pretty easy for you to speculate on how you could've handled everything so much better, from behind your keyboard, isn't it?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2004


If people truly want to believe that they are safer by depending on government regulation or local law enforcement to save them from all harm, then let them.

People can be safer by not being so goddamn fearful of one another.

Canada has more firearms per capita than the USA. Even living in a city, I know a dozen people who own guns. And yet, we don't run about shooting each other!

The problem in the USA isn't so much the guns, per se, but the urge to use them against each other.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2004


This post is about the police in Virginia being ignorant about its own state handgun laws. Is this post trying to change the law or show more ignorance? Or asking for ponies since Starbucks was never mentioned.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:46 AM on July 16, 2004


can I have a pony, it’s my birthday, missed the starbucks’ incident.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2004


These are all symptoms of a fundamentally faith-based culture and one doomed to ruin, in my not so humble opinion

this faith-based culture talk is bullshit. it it not clear that the U.S. has a serious problem with gun violence? there are certainly a lot of facts to back that statement up. i just don't believe it, like God fucking touched me on the shoulder one day and said "Guns are bad, mmkay?"

i certainly don't expect government regulation to protect me from violent psychopaths, but i do believe in the concept of government enough to believe that we can and should work together to fix a bad situation.

the only "faith-based" belief i see in this thread is the notion that people have the inherent right to arm themselves with deadly weapons. our Constitution agrees with that "faith-based" belief (for now), but there's very little reason it shouldn't be changed or interpreted differently.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:28 AM on July 16, 2004


i certainly don't expect government regulation to protect me from violent psychopaths, but i do believe in the concept of government enough to believe that we can and should work together to fix a bad situation.

So do I. What do you suggest? Is the problem with guns, or with culture, or both? How do we fix this serious problem? I suspect that different people will have different answers to this question, right?

the only "faith-based" belief i see in this thread is the notion that people have the inherent right to arm themselves with deadly weapons.

I would take issue with your labeling that notion a faith-based belief. It's based on reason. You may disagree with that reason - you may even be right to disagree - but there's a strong philosophical foundation to the idea that we have a right to keep and bear arms.

our Constitution agrees with that "faith-based" belief (for now), but there's very little reason it shouldn't be changed or interpreted differently.

How is that different from any other Constitutionally-guaranteed right? Can we just change or reinterpret those if we don't like them?
posted by me & my monkey at 11:51 AM on July 16, 2004


[Shout out to FFF]
posted by squirrel at 11:52 AM on July 16, 2004


If you worked at Starbucks and a guy came in with a gun, at what point would you be sure that you weren't getting robbed?

The question is bass-ackwards. The default situation in a Starbucks is not-being-robbed-ness, so the question really is at what point would you be sure that you were getting robbed. And that would be when the guy robs you.
posted by kindall at 11:52 AM on July 16, 2004


"is it not clear that the U.S. has a serious problem with gun violence?"

s/gun//
posted by majcher at 11:57 AM on July 16, 2004


The problem is not with guns. Other countries have tons of guns, just like the USA.

The problem is with the culture.

The American culture is a deadly mixture of aggression and fear.

Er. Shout back atcha?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:01 PM on July 16, 2004


It's fine when I carry a handgun in my pocket.* It's a little disconcerting when every other guy in the street, in the mall, in the local bar (not all of whom are necessarily entirely calm or rational all the time) is carrying a handgun in his pocket. How safe can we feel then?

Nobody gets nervous around you if you wear your seat belt, because you can't use your seat belt to kill anyone. By extension, you can't use it to intimidate anyone, or rob anyone, or worse. No matter how drunk, high, or despondent you get, you can't use a homeowner's insurance policy to hurt yourself or anyone else. And therein lies the difference.

Listen, I have no problem at all with people out in the country owning hunting rifles and the like. I grew up in a small town where many people owned guns for that very reason. But there is a difference between someone carrying a rifle in the woods, and a person carrying that rifle into a bookstore. The very reason that concealed-weapons laws exist - that you have to keep your weapon hidden - is to further a notion of public life wherein deadly force and physical intimidation should play as small a part as possible.

Now, there are certain persons in certain situations - law enforcement officers, people who work in high-risk occupations (like pizza delivery in some places, actually, although I hardly think Fairfax County counts), people who have received credible verbal or written threats of bodily harm - who can make a reasonable case for needing to be able to carry a loaded weapon around in public. However, most people do not fit into that category, so it seems a little extreme to argue that every person in a city should be allowed to carry that loaded weapon around anywhere they go. Allowing this invites an atmosphere of general intimidation, where every citizen either carries their weapons around, or begins to feel the chronic physical insecurity that leads most people to arm themselves.

What does this mean in terms of gun crime? Well, the greater ease with which people can own and carry handguns, no permit necessary, means that there is a larger market for handguns. This brings the price down and spreads many more of them around, so it becomes easier for anyone - including nervous 16-year-old kids who want to score some quick cash - to buy one, or steal one, or "borrow" one from their parents, bring it to school, and shoot one or more of their classmates with one. That abusive, jealous boyfriend who might be the target of a restraining order can bring his shotgun along for an unannounced visit to his ex, secure in the knowledge that the police won't stop him - "he looks perfectly law-abiding to me" - until it's too late. Heck, the more people who routinely and openly carry weapons around, the less suspicious it would look.

We all know about gun violence, and it's frightening. But it just seems very counterintuitive to many of us to attempt to address the problem of gun violence by increasing the number, the visibility, and the acceptability of guns in our cities and towns. Guns (in the hands of Americans) are dangerous, and so more guns in the hands of Americans are more dangerous.

*Not that I ever have.

On preview: Second Amendment rights, unlike several other rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, have never been incorporated, and therefore does not yet clearly apply to state or local governments, but only to the federal government. (Yes, I believe in Selective Incorporation Plus.)

And yes, American culture is far too full of aggression and fear of violent death, but that's a long-term problem that needs to be addressed in other ways, no matter what views we might have on gun control laws.
posted by skoosh at 12:23 PM on July 16, 2004


five fresh fish Canada has more firearms per capita than the USA. Even living in a city, I know a dozen people who own guns. And yet, we don't run about shooting each other!

Note your comparing apples and oranges here. Americans own way more handguns than Canadians, especially small guns that are illegal in canada because they have too small a caliber or too short of a barrel; like the PPK I wanted to own.

The problem in the USA isn't so much the guns, per se, but the urge to use them against each other.

This seems to be true.
posted by Mitheral at 12:29 PM on July 16, 2004


It's a little disconcerting when every other guy in the street, in the mall, in the local bar (not all of whom are necessarily entirely calm or rational all the time) is carrying a handgun in his pocket. How safe can we feel then?

"An armed society is a polite society."

Personally, I wouldn't feel that disconcerted or unsafe then. On the other hand, I've lived in an environment that fit that description. Would you be less disconcerted if you knew that only criminals had guns?

But it just seems very counterintuitive to many of us to attempt to address the problem of gun violence by increasing the number, the visibility, and the acceptability of guns in our cities and towns. Guns (in the hands of Americans) are dangerous, and so more guns in the hands of Americans are more dangerous.

If we follow this to its logical conclusion, we should obviously reduce the number of armed police officers in America, to ensure greater safety. If you disagree with that, you must believe that it's not just how many guns there are, but who's carrying them.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:54 PM on July 16, 2004


can I have a pony, it’s my birthday, missed the starbucks’ incident. -by thomcatspike

Here ya go thomcatspike. Happy Bday. ;)

birthday pony
posted by dejah420 at 1:14 PM on July 16, 2004


"An armed society is a polite society."

Like Baghdad, Mogadishu, or Johannesburg? Just because everyone's got a weapon, doesn't mean everybody thinks of that when tempers flare. Also, professional violent criminals can find ways around that obstacle (like shooting first and taking the money later, or having an accomplice pat you down at gunpoint, or in certain situations, taking hostages).

Personally, I wouldn't feel that disconcerted or unsafe then. On the other hand, I've lived in an environment that fit that description. Would you be less disconcerted if you knew that only criminals had guns?

No, because (a) they are few, (b) I don't run into them very often, and (c) I don't feel especially targeted by them. I have felt disconcerted when guys have nonchalantly told me about the people they shot and killed in barfights and gang wars, though. When I think of these laws, I think of that, and then I think of Chippewa Street here in Buffalo (lined with bars full of drunken college students every weekend) and think about how much worse that scene would be if lots of guys there were routinely packing heat. I don't know, maybe you'd feel safer. Ah, subjective perspectives.

If we follow this to its logical conclusion, we should obviously reduce the number of armed police officers in America, to ensure greater safety. If you disagree with that, you must believe that it's not just how many guns there are, but who's carrying them.

In the case of the police, it's people who have been through a rigorous screening and training process, including a background check, and who operate under a variety of rules to ensure public accountability. This is not the same as letting any idiot who has an extra $100 carry a deadly weapon everywhere they go. There are far more (perfectly reasonable, in my mind) training and licensing requirements for people who want to drive a truck than for people who want to bring their gun to their kid's soccer game in Virginia. That strikes me as odd at best.
posted by skoosh at 2:30 PM on July 16, 2004


Tell me, please, why anyone would ever need to be violent against you? The basic worst realistic situation I can imagine most of you encountering is your basic mugging: some tough walks up and demands your cash. Are you going to fight about it? No? Then why would he need to smash you or shoot you?

Tell that to the 2 men who raped me when I was 16. Tell that to the man who ran my car off the road a couple years ago.

I will never be raped again as long as I'm alive. I have a concealed hangun permit issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia and I own several handguns. Let two men rape you, FFF, then tell me you won't face any sort of violent situation in your life.

In the case of the police, it's people who have been through a rigorous screening and training process, including a background check, and who operate under a variety of rules to ensure public accountability. This is not the same as letting any idiot who has an extra $100 carry a deadly weapon everywhere they go. .

In Virginia, to even purchase a handgun, you must go through a criminal background check. In VA to receive a concealed handgun permit you have to not only go through a background check with your local police/sheriff's department but, also take a class in handgun safety and the legalities of using your handgun.

If anyone is interested Packing.org has a large database of concealed carry laws on their site. As does the NRA and several other sources.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:30 PM on July 16, 2004


No, because (a) they are few, (b) I don't run into them very often, and (c) I don't feel especially targeted by them. I have felt disconcerted when guys have nonchalantly told me about the people they shot and killed in barfights and gang wars, though.

Uh, I've got news for you. Those guys ARE criminals. Maybe they're your friends, but that doesn't excuse their behavior.

In the case of the police, it's people who have been through a rigorous screening and training process, including a background check, and who operate under a variety of rules to ensure public accountability. This is not the same as letting any idiot who has an extra $100 carry a deadly weapon everywhere they go.

I suspect police training or screening isn't as rigorous as you suggest:

Armed and Unready
D.C. Police Paying for Hiring Binge

However, I'm all for more training for firearms owners. I'd support training as a prerequisite for a carry permit, and even minimal training as a prerequisite for firearms ownership, period. I received my own training courtesy of the US taxpayer, and I wouldn't feel qualified to handle a firearm without that training.

I have a little police gun anecdote. After the incident I mentioned earlier, I had to turn over my pistol to the police for inspection. The cop had no idea how to clear the weapon! He pulled the slide back and expected it to lock all by itself, twice, and a round popped out of the ejection port onto the floor of the cruiser each time. After the second round, he asked me how to lock the slide back and I showed him. Then, he started counting rounds and said there were three rounds missing from the magazine, while I'd told him I only fired once. I told him to look at his feet, and he found the two unfired rounds rolling around down there.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:24 PM on July 16, 2004


I used to teach firearms marksmanship and safety classes and I believe that young people who have been taught the safe handling of a gun are much more respectful of the damage it can do to another person and much less likely to injure someone else in anger or by accident.

It's like sex education classes, you don't teach them so that the kids can have more sex sooner, you just present the factual information so they can weigh the risks and make smarter decisions.

(If the open carrying of guns alarms and disturbs you then you might consider avoiding Montana and a few other midwest states, as it's quite common there)
posted by milovoo at 4:37 PM on July 16, 2004


Would you be less disconcerted if you knew that only criminals had guns?

Yes. If they know I don't have a gun, they aren't likely to be trigger-happy. Might show it off, just to make sure I take them seriously, but there'd never be a need to fire it.

Suzy, I'm saddened to hear that you have allowed that experience to dictate your sense of security, but I understand how difficult it would be to choose differently.

Acts of random violence do happen, even in Canada. They are, however and thankfully, rare. Personally, I refuse to allow the paranoia of "what if" to put me into a state of continual fear and paranoia.

But, then, I'm also the sort of person who has weighed the chances of winning the lottery and decline to purchase tickets.

Certainly all gun owners should be trained.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:16 PM on July 16, 2004


Personally, I refuse to allow the paranoia of "what if" to put me into a state of continual fear and paranoia.

Good for you! So did I. I think you're mistaken if you think that all gun owners are victims of continual fear and paranoia, just as people who buy fire insurance aren't constantly worrying about their houses burning down.

If they know I don't have a gun, they aren't likely to be trigger-happy.

Really? What makes you think they adhere to the same standards of rationality as you? I mean, being a criminal kind of indicates bad decision making in one's past, don't you think?

I suspect that the reverse is true - you're less likely to be attacked at all if people think you can defend yourself. After all, why bother with a fight when you can just mug the next guy who comes along? My own experience has borne this out, actually - I was able to avoid attack more than once by telegraphing my intention to defend myself. (Often, this is just a matter of body language, actually.)

But, then, I'm also the sort of person who has weighed the chances of winning the lottery and decline to purchase tickets.

Do you also avoid purchasing insurance when possible? That's a more appropriate analogy, after all.

Certainly all gun owners should be trained.

Well, sure. However, most people use the lack of mandatory training as an argument against allowing gun ownership at all, which is pretty absurd. You aren't doing that now, are you?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:25 PM on July 16, 2004


Yes. If they know I don't have a gun, they aren't likely to be trigger-happy. Might show it off, just to make sure I take them seriously, but there'd never be a need to fire it

Except you are forgetting that criminals are all rational human beings. If they were they wouldn't be robbing, raping, mugging etc. How many times have you heard of people not resisting and still be shot to death by a criminal?

Suzy, I'm saddened to hear that you have allowed that experience to dictate your sense of security, but I understand how difficult it would be to choose differently.

I'm not. It obviously colored the way I see the world but, I'm a realist, now. No one on this planet is responsible for my safety other than me. Not my husband, not the police, not the people that live down the street. If I'm not willing to defend and protect myself, why should anyone else be?
posted by SuzySmith at 9:25 PM on July 16, 2004


How many times have you heard of people not resisting and still be shot to death by a criminal?

In Canada, not bloody often. In fact, quite possibly never.

How many times have you heard of people shooting trick-or-treaters? People shooting a bystander by mistake? People shooting themselves by mistake? People being overpowered and then shot by their own gun? People escalating the situation by showing their gun, and then being shot by the criminal in self-protection?

I say your sense of security is highly unrealistic. The odds -- provided you're not hanging out with drug dealers and other scum -- of your being involved in a criminal act are pretty slim.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 AM on July 17, 2004


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