Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hey Joe...

I was going to respond to this comment in the comments section, but as I typed I realized it was going a bit long winded and figured it would better serve its purpose here. This comment was posted in response to my previous post regarding my experience at the courthouse a couple days ago.

Joe Allen

Welcome to our world.

Where we walk past the plaque with the Bill of Rights on it and are immediately subjected to an unwarranted search and forced to surrender our arms.

The double standard is asinine, but only in the sense that officials and citizens alike should be able to pass freely.




First off, I do not want you to think I am one of those people who become a police officer and promptly feel the need to trample the rights of others. I have long valued my right to keep and bear arms, and I do not hold that right to be any less valuable now that I have stepped into law enforcement and my right has been somewhat enhanced. I have friends and family also, and I would NOT wish them to lose their ability to defend themselves should the need arise.

That said, I'd like you to remember one thing Joe. Before we were police officers, we were ALL living in your world.

I never had a problem going into a court unarmed as a civilian. I understood the reasons for not allowing weapons in a place where criminals were walking the halls, and nasty civil battles were being fought. I understood the need to prohibit the masses from bringing contraband into the courthouses. I was okay with that.

As a peace officer I feel privileged to be allowed to carry a firearm into certain places where the average Joe (Sorry Joe) cannot. There are even some places (namely federal buildings and airports) where even I cannot take a firearm, just the same as anyone with a CCW permit.

However, in places where I have the right to carry a firearm as a peace officer, it should not matter whether I am on personal or public business. We are trained and held to a higher standard. Otherwise, we wouldn't be allowed to bring guns to court either. Police are expected to respond to things that normal people are not.

While I cannot change the law and allow everyone to bring a concealed firearm into the court, I can see the reasoning behind allowing certain individuals to do so. However, there are reasons you are not able to bring firearms into court.

I am a staunch second amendment supporter, and always have been. But that does not mean I am unreasonable.

I don't think felons should have firearms, just as I don't think they should have the right to vote. When you commit a felony, especially a violent one, you forfeit some of your rights.

I don't think people who are mentally unstable should have firearms. If you're not capable of thinking clearly before you shoot a person, the ability to shoot should not be present.

I believe every law abiding, mentally stable person should be allowed to carry, just as some states already allow.

But you, too, must be reasonable and understand that there are some places where it would be inappropriate for you to carry a firearm for your own safety and the safety of others.

Do not insist that you be able to carry a firearm EVERYWHERE, because that just gives ammunition to the liberal legislators who would have us all, police included, as unarmed peasants.

The double standard that truly irks me, Joe, is the legislators who decry gun violence and say no person should be armed, but then carry a firearm or have an armed bodyguard themselves.

If it's good for the goose...

Are you listening Feinstein?


TheBronze said...

Smitty, I think you're right on just about every point.

Many coppers think the way you and I do about guns and gun ownership. But not nearly enough.

I think that younger coopers tend to be ambivalent (sometimes hostile) towards civilian gun-ownership because they themselves don't have very much experience with guns.


Joe Allen said...

First off, I greatly respect your service to your community, and I think we are very nearly on the same page on this issue. I don't see any real disagreement between us, merely a casual debate over the finer points.

I can certainly see the need to limit weapons in courts and jails - where there is a good chance that something could be passed to someone who is incarcerated. However, I don't see the need to restrict access to federal office buildings and airports among other generally prohibited places.

This is pretty much getting close to the point where I have my own internal conflict regarding RKBA issues: one part of me, the militant libertarian part, feels that even requiring a permit to CCW is unconstitutional. Yet, the responsible gun owner / draconian RO in me recognizes that there are some people who are just too ignorant of basic safety for me to be comfortable being around them with a loaded weapon.

I'm also somewhat ambivalent on the felony issue. I have no problem at all with violent offenders having their civil rights revoked, but what about the 17 year old with a bag of weed or a shoplifted starter jacket? I think restoration of rights to non violent felons after a goodly period on the straight and narrow would be fair.

As for training of police officers vs. civilians, in Missouri officers are only required to get 4 hours of firearms training every 3 years. Now, they have plenty of other subjects to train in, but for firearms proficiency, that's all that is required. I personally, and most of the people I shoot with, engage in 20 to 40 hours or more of training in a given year; most, if not all of it, POST certified. I realize not every armed civilian trains to this level, or at all - and that saddens me greatly - but it's not just me either; I see the same 2 or 3 dozen faces at these classes. And, it's the same folks I run into at IDPA, IPSC, pin shoots, and just turning money into noise on a weekend morning.

And since I've had to undergo an FBI background check to get my CCW, why would I - the proverbial average Joe - be a bigger risk than Joe Friday?

Perhaps a utopian ideal would be Vermont style carry - i.e. no permit required - for general day-to-day walking around and a certification/qualification system for civilian carry in critical areas.

However you look at it, I'm proud as hell to live in a country where we can freely exhange these ideas, and I'm allowed the means to provide for my own security in 99%+ of the places I go, and where we can constantly and successfully work to increase our personal liberty.

Thanks for a great, entertaining
blog and keep up the good work!


Berserk said...

Bronze- I've only got a few years on, but that's long enough for me to see that an armed populace makes my job much easier. First time I ever caught a burglar in the act was when a seventy year old man held him at gunpoint until I got there. Our dispatchers are always telling people to put away their guns before we get there, even when there's violence actually happening or on the way. I've always taken issue with that, because I think there are situations where you shouldn't put the gun away unless the cavalry has arrived. Guess that's tough for a dispatcher to gauge over the phone, though.

USAincognito said...

I agree with you, Mr. Smith. 100% agree.

TheBronze said...


Glad to hear that!

Stay safe.

Aileen said...

My husband is a huge 2nd Amendment man. He's taught me alot about gun rights and even drug my tie-dyed behind to a few machine gun shoots and other events. Here's a link to a blog I put up about a local event that he helped organize. I was a bit surprised that open carry is allowed here in ohio. Not sure that I'm real comfy with the idea that anyone(within the law) can strap a pistol to their side but I went along to document the event. Is this open carry legal in all states? Do you know? Where do you stand on this one?

Me said...

Amen, my Brother. Well said across the board.

I'm all for guns for law-abiding citizens, and never under any circumstances for ANY felon or VIOLENT MISDEMEANOR offender. (I don't want 'em voting and charting the course of the country, either.)
I also don't have a problem with a few restrictions on where people can and cannot carry if it makes sense to restrict them, courts being a prime example. Believe it or not, CCW for civilians is a recent thing in much of the country and I'm old enough to remember masses of people NOT being killed every day just because they didn't have guns with them 24/7. But like you said, if the small, vocal and obnoxious minority keep pushing it and staging publicity stunts where they bait cops with "open carry" and videotape it, all they're going to do is build up animosity on the part of those who make and vote on the laws, and that's never a good thing for the majority of decent people.

and BTW "Joe", before you cite this "3-4 hours" that police are required to train each year vs. your own "20-40 hours", I have to point out that the officers have gone through months of academy training and even more field training and then they're supervised on a daily basis. There's so much more to being able to effectively carry a gun and use it properly than just hitting a paper target, and police officers get the whole deal, not just the fun range practice sessions that you and your friends get.

Not knocking you guys, but please don't compare yourselves to me or my professional brothers and sisters when it comes to quality and quantity of training.

Anonymous said...

Officer Smith you are 100% correct.

Aileen said...

There is the link to the site. Would have helped huh? Sorry , been sick for a few days now and not firing on all cylinders.

Officer "Smith" said...

Well, I go camping for a few days and leave the blog unattended and come back to a whole slew of comments.

Joe, I did not take any offense whatsoever to your comment. I just found that my response to it was a bit longer than I would have liked to post in the comment section.

I agree that we are simply debating the "finer points", just as I do with some of my co-workers.

Thanks for reading, and commenting. If it weren't for comments I think mine would be a rather lame blog.

Anonymous said...

WOW....very, very ,very well spoken, Ofc. Smith. I agree completely-couldn't have said it better myself if I tried my best.

TK the Buckeye nut! said...

Like Aileen, I live in Ohio. Until reading about her husband's open carry event, I was also unaware that Ohio had that ability (sad for a daughter of a man in the NRA!). What I hate about Ohio's gun laws is that while we're allowed to carry in theory, the vast majority of places have big "no guns allowed" signs.

I agree with all you said, Officer "Smith". However, I also agree with Joe about the having to have a license.