Sunday, February 23, 2014

Should I Support Government Regulation Because It's Good For My Business?

By Dave Dargo

Anyone who's read my blog should have a pretty good understanding of where I stand on government regulations and interference with our rights.

I've written about how the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights confer zero rights to the people. The documents were designed to restrict the powers of the national government. I've argued that we gave the government permission to have firearms and I don't take too kindly to the thought that the government thinks they're being magnanimous whenever they vote to decrease gun control.

I'm an NRA-certified instructor and I teach defensive pistol classes in Louisiana and Arizona. Louisiana requires a nine hour course in order to qualify for what they call a "Concealed Handgun Permit." Our business offers such a course.

I've argued that the course content required by the state is inadequate for teaching people how to properly carry a pistol for self defense. I've also argued that the state shouldn't require any training in order to carry concealed.

I don't think there's any contradiction in these two positions. A responsible gun owner will seek competent training in order to know how to safely and properly use their firearms and the government shouldn't be in the business of placing hurdles in our way when we exercise our right to keep and bear arms. I support what has become known as "constitutional carry" and have pushed for laws in Louisiana that would lead to that as the state's position.

I've argued, and will continue to argue, that the government has no business requiring licensing or training in order to carry a firearm for defensive purposes. Some disagree with my position as they think someone should be required to have training before carrying in public. It's a reasonable point to be debated.

But one instructor sent me an email expressing opposition for my position by asking, "[why] would you promote a change that would put you out of business as an instructor?"

I was floored by the question.

This instructor essentially argued that I should support the training requirement so that I can have a strong and steady stream of customers.

I really didn't know how best to respond. I want to support and get along with my fellow instructors even if they're competitors. I see firearms instructors and students as a community working towards a common goal.

And that may be crux of the issue. One of my partners likes to say, "We're not doing this to get rich."

We started our business because we love shooting, we love the art of defensive pistol use, we love to teach and we actually think we have something to offer our students.

We're proud to be in this business. We're humbled by our students eagerness to learn proper defensive pistol techniques and we love seeing the progress they make.

We are also steadfast in our defense of the right to keep and bear arms. We will not support any government regulations just because it would be in our financial interest to do so.

Up until my recent email exchange I didn't think it would be necessary to say so; I didn't even think it was an option. I guess I still learn something new every day.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Do You Need A License To Wear A Jacket?

By Dave Dargo

I've had a few interesting discussions over the past couple of days regarding licenses for concealed carry of a handgun; how easy is it to get a permit and why a permit is even required.

Most states in this country permitted the open-carrying of firearms and only regulated concealed-carry because it was assumed that only unsavory people would conceal the fact that they were carrying a weapon.

Attitudes changed significantly over the past couple of hundred years and open-carry is now seen as an anomaly and permitted concealed-carry has become a standard.

What's interesting to me, though, are those states considered "gun friendly" that allow unlicensed open-carry of weapons but still require licenses for concealed-carry.

There are 19 states that "permissively" allow the open-carry of a loaded handgun in public.  One state, Colorado, generally allows it at the state level but restricts it in the City and County of Denver.

Of those 19 states that allow open-carry of a loaded handgun in public, only 4 or 5 allow concealed-carry without a permit: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont and, for residents only, Wyoming.

There are other states like Connecticut and Maryland that require a permit for either open- or concealed-carry.

What I find interesting about this, though, are the 14 states that allow unlicensed open-carry of loaded handguns but require a permit to carry concealed and their permit process is "shall issue," that is, they will issue a permit to anyone who is legally permitted to possess a gun.

These 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia allow people to openly carry loaded handguns but require a permit to carry concealed.

This paints a picture for me.  Walk around on a warm spring day openly carrying a loaded handgun on your hip without a license; no problem.  Put on a jacket when it gets cool and you're a criminal.

Jacket off - OK.  Jacket on - Not OK.  Off - OK.  On - Not OK.  Off, on, off, on.

Most of these states require some training in order to carry concealed but no training at all to carry openly.

Is the permit really just to wear a jacket?

What is it that's different about donning a jacket that all of a sudden training and a permit are required?

Gone are the days when only assassins would carry their firearms concealed.  In fact, society now seems to be more comfortable with concealed-carry than with open-carry.  Yet the laws and regulations persist.

We seem to be moving towards more permissive carry regulations nationwide.  However, we will probably face the issue of "complications" in our firearm statues and regulations for a long time to come.

Don't forget your license to wear a jacket.