Guns , Open Carry , and The Old West

One of my takeaways from the ongoing arguments over gun control is the lack of empathy of each side for the other.

I live in New Hampshire , where the gun laws have always liberal , so it is no surprise that open carry laws have passed in the state with hardly a murmur of opposition.

And , that’s fine for the great State of New Hampshire.

Many years ago ,I obtained a concealed carry permit. In New Hampshire it was handled locally , and getting a permit was a simple  and easy matter .

Since I really didn’t need it , I let it lapse , as it was only necessary for carrying a concealed weapon ; even back  then an exposed gun in your possession was quite legal.

New Hampshire is a suburban to rural state , without the stress ,  congestion and pressures of urban areas , and gun ownership is prevalent.

Many of my neighbors for instance  ,own guns for sport and security and see it as their right, guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

And that right should never be taken away from them.

In crowded urban environments , however , where there are street gangs . more crime , and gun violence , most of the guns are owned by youthful gangsters and gang bangers.

Ownership of guns in such neighborhoods doesn’t guarantee personal safety , and residents know it.

So they may have quite a different take on the issue of guns.

For example , what do you think would happen if a resident shot a member of a local gang , even in self defense?

The ramifications would be far different from that of a suburbanite shooting an intruder into his home.

You would have to vacate your home , or face the repercussions from an enraged gang.

As you may know , dear friends , I love western movies and I must have seen hundreds over the years.

One constant in many of these movies was the restriction by law enforcement officials of the “open carry” of guns in town by the wild cowboys coming in from the range.

There would be signs like “Check your guns at the sheriff’s office and pick them up when you leave town”.

The reason was , though everyone in town owned guns , it was obvious that many decent , law abiding citizens were unwilling or unable to use them against other humans, especially to take life , and may be hesitant to do so , even in dangerous situations.

A similar situation is occurring in our urban centers today , where gun ownership alone cannot protect citizens from gangsters.

They need sensible gun laws , to restrict as much as possible the ability of criminals to acquire weapons.

Not everyone can easily shoot someone , even if that someone is committing a crime , and a moment’s hesitation can be costly.

That lesson was probably learned the hard way , by experience in the old west.

it is ironic that those lessons learnt have been forgotten by the NRA and the advocates of “open carry” everywhere , and absolutely no limits or restrictions to gun ownership.

While I strongly support the Second Amendment , I am also an advocate of intelligent laws that would limit or restrict the ability of criminals , terrorists , mentally unstable and people with bad intentions to acquire weapons.

I think that we’re intelligent to figure out ways that laws governing firearms be tailored to suit the areas where they are to be applied, with little if any effect on the rights of law abiding citizens.

Laws applicable for South Central LA or the Bronx in New York may not be suited for Londonderry New Hampshire , but we get nowhere if we do not at least address these issues.

And , incidentally , the Second Amenement does not probit us from tough gun laws ; we managed to prohibit public acquisition of machine guns in the nineteen thirties , back when gangsters like Machine Gun Kelly and Baby Face Nelson were using them to rob and spread terror throughout the states.

In 1934, the National Firearms Act (NFA) was enacted.

While this approach won’t solve all our problems , I think it would at least be a start..

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