A few Tennesseans that I’ve heard from in person and in print have a problem with this new open carry law, which is now held up in a budget committee and may or may not make it to the next legislative vote.
But I have to say that I disagree with those who oppose it, for various reasons. I am in support of this particular bill, which I suppose I need to explain a bit for the benefit of the readers before I continue.
Here is the summary of Senate Bill 2424, which was introduced by Macon County’s TN Senate representative, Mae Beavers. The bill says that an individual who wants to openly carry a handgun on their person may do so without a permit. Those who want to carry a concealed handgun will still need a permit. All the same laws apply in regards to a person’s legal history (felons can’t carry at all), mental fitness (impaired or mentally disabled cannot carry), etc. The same laws apply about what kind of firearms or other weapons are and are not allowed, and private individuals and businesses are still perfectly free not to allow guns on their property.
So in fact, the only change is that the average citizen would now be able to carry firearms openly in public without going through the process of getting a permit.
I’ve had some concerns over the bill, like others I’ve spoken to or heard from in print. It makes me nervous to think that ‘crazy’ people might now be carrying guns around.
But in the end, the commonsense that supports America’s right to keep and bear arms has won out in my mind. Here I have to quote a solid writer like Thomas Sowell (economist, fellow at the prestigious Hoover Institute, and famed conservative writer) to lay down some basic statements about what we call “gun control.”
“Most factual studies show no reduction in gun crimes, including murder, under gun-control laws,” says Sowell. “A significant number of studies show higher rates of murder and other gun crimes under gun-control laws.
“How can this be? It seems obvious to some gun-control zealots that, if no one had guns, there would be fewer armed robberies and fewer people shot to death.
“But nothing is easier than to disarm peaceful, law-abiding people. And nothing is harder than to disarm people who are neither.”
Gun control is simply legislation that limits or constricts the rights of American citizens to keep and bear their weapons. I think that the basic principles that convince me of gun control being a bad idea apply in the case of SB 2424.
Here’s the thing we need to understand about people. People are a problem. For those who oppose this law—you’re absolutely right that if we were to set up a system that made it easy for criminals to get their hands on guns—and use them—we would be stupid. But that, accidentally, is exactly what gun control laws do. They do not hamper the criminal individual from accessing guns—there will always be a market for certain things, and men who don’t care for the law are never going to suddenly start caring for the law where guns are concerned. Gun control laws hamper the hamperers from accessing guns.
Who are the hamperers? We are, you and I. Any upstanding American citizen who is carrying a gun serves as a hamperer, for those who walk into public places looking for trouble. An upstanding citizen—the type of person who won’t carry a gun if the law tells them not to—is exactly the kind of person we want carrying a gun. And we want to make it easy for them.