Apparently, the South Carolina General Assembly is considering a ‘Constitutional Carry’ law. This is an extraordinarily bad idea.
I am, of course, a supporter of the Second Amendment. The usual whining about the Second Amendment centers on the AR-15 versus the musket from the late 1700s— a debate that really comes down to a) I trust the government, and you don’t need a weapon like that to protect yourself from their potential tyranny or b) I don’t trust the government, and neither did the founding fathers.
The AR is supposedly a weapon built only to kill people … and according to the anti-gun crowd cannot be used for hunting or sport shooting. The anti-gun crowd views the musket as somehow benign, a jolly little boom stick that poses very little threat to the public. I believe the British empire would argue that’s not true, but — what does history really prove anyway?
What significance does the AR-15 and its brother “assault weapons” hold in the eyes of conservatives? It gives the American citizen a weapon on par with those carried by the men in uniform who hold a monopoly on legal violence … just like it did for the colonists during the Revolution. Oh, and it scares the federal government that we have them … and you should never underestimate the importance of a government fearing its people, lest Waco become a preferred method of handling citizens that seem weird.
And, of course, there’s the goofy belief that 393 million weapons could never hold off the power of the Federal government. According to our Yo-Yo in Chief, “You’d need F-16s.”
Really? I think the Taliban would beg to differ.
However, the reason Constitutional Carry is a bad idea is: a) People are stupid, and b) modern guns are very complex.
Most people think the way guns are portrayed in the movies and on TV is real. That’s because a cop show wouldn’t be very popular if once each season one of the characters had an accidental discharge, and blew his partner’s head off. Given the way guns are handled on TV, that would happen for sure — probably twice a season.
I might have been less concerned about Constitutional Carry a quarter century ago, before “the Glock” popped up in movies, and exploded in popularity. It became the hot new gun to own, and it was lightweight and cheap, to boot. The Glock gave rise to the exploding popularity of “striker fired” handguns, and now every major brand manufactures them. At a recent gun show I attended, probably 80 percent of the guns were striker fired.
A striker fired handgun is light and cheap because Glock figured out how to make a gun by removing certain parts … one being the hammer, and one being the safety.
Proponents of striker fired handguns say, “Of course they have a safety … it’s in the trigger.”
In the trigger? Apparently that means I can walk around with a traditional semi-automatic handgun with the safety off and the hammer cocked … because the safety is in the trigger?
Although the entire concept of “the safety being in the trigger” is beyond stupid, it is a mistranslation of the fact that, “If you drop a striker fired pistol, it wouldn’t go off.” Right. I want to see the gun that “goes off” when dropped if the hammer is down and the safety is engaged.
Striker fired handguns should be carried by one class of individuals: Experts. And among the stone-cold experts I know, a total of zero carry striker fired. Don’t get me wrong — a striker fired gun can be carried safely, inside a plastic holster that “snaps” the gun in. Most police have these.
The problem comes when you take the thing out of the holster. So many owners have shot themselves removing and replacing striker fired handguns that it’s earned a nickname: Glock Leg.
RELATED | CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY BILL PASSES S.C. HOUSE
My concern regarding Constitutional Carry is that a bunch of people too lazy or incompetent to go through training will view this as a good time to go ahead and buy that pistol. They’ll bop into a gun store, and buy one of those cool looking guns “with the safety in the trigger.” They won’t bother with taking a safety course, because people are stupid. And they’ll never train with it, because ammo is expensive — and how hard can it be? If John Wick can do it, I can, too.
I should also point out I’m against “open carry” in a city, but at least South Carolina requires you go through training. The training is pretty good, too — by the time you finish the course, they’ve taught you 1,000 reasons not to shoot someone, and how fast you’re going to jail if you do. Then, you have to prove you can successfully shoot a target, and not yourself or the person next to you.
Americans do indeed have the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. That’s why in South Carolina, the regulations regarding a concealed weapon permit is worded to say the state shall issue a permit, versus may issue a permit. Before the changes, the state could demand to know why you want the permit, then make an arbitrary decision. Now, the question of why has been properly and legally corrected, and a law-abiding citizen of South Carolina can respond, “Why? None of your business. It’s my right under the Constitution of the United States.”
However, I do believe there is an unwritten “societal contract” among residents of cities, and part of that contract is to make the place reasonably safe. The police can no longer serve as the sole safety mechanism, and citizens feel the need to protect themselves. A little training and proof that you can safely handle your chosen weapon within city limits isn’t a bad idea.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Prioleau Alexander is a freelance writer, focusing mostly on politics and non-fiction humor. He is the author of two books: ‘You Want Fries With That?’ and ‘Dispatches Along the Way.’ Both are available on Amazon. He hopes to have another title published soon, but that would require his agent actually doing his job, so it may be awhile.
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I wholeheartedly agree. Regardless where our elected officials land on concealed carry, there simply MUST be training, and I believe you should have to re-train at least every other CWP renewal because just as laws and our understanding of them changes, so do your reflexes.
First intelligent piece you’ve ever written.
I agree that there should be training, but the “mother, may I” permit IS an infringement, especially given the ridiculous amount of time that SLED may take to process the whole thing. States that have passed permitless carry have not noted any increases in unjustified shootings, accidental or otherwise. Some of the biggest detractors I have noted, seem to be CWP instructors. I wonder if that has anything to do with their perception of lost revenue if people are no longer required to obtain a “mother, may I” slip from SLED. I predict if it passes, these instructors might find a whole new client base by offering “Constitutional Carry” safety, firing, and maintenance (cleaning) courses”.
Back in 2000, the FCC began lifting requirements to pass a Morse Code proficiency test to obtain Amateur Radio licenses. Old timers decried the lifting of this hurdle as “the end of a great and efficient mode of transmitting”. They figured Morse (or CW) would die out in a few years, along with many of the old timers. It turned out that instead of killing interest in Morse/CW, with a hated and cumbersome requirement now lifted, people began actually wanting to learn and use Morse. Without government pressure and mandates, the CW parts of the Amateur radio bands are as busy today as they ever were.
So, you’re good with AR-15s in the hands of any law-abiding civilian who wants one? Good to know. ;-)
I am fine with that, A Name. It is what the Founding Father’s intended.
I figured you were. I was trying to reply to Dpe, who likely didn’t realize that was what she was saying with her comment.
Maybe I failed to properly explain: As it should be, in SC it’s no longer “mother may I?” It’s “Mother, I will and you can’t stop me if I don’t have a criminal record.” SHALL issue vs WILL issue. A huge and important change.
No, it’s still “mother may I,” as “mother” can still say no, if you don’t take the state-mandated classes and pay the required fees. As others have pointed out, there’s no reason to believe that South Carolina would experience the problems you fear under Constitutional Carry, as half of the other states have it, and have seen no problems. Your “safety” concerns are little different than what those who argued against “shall issue” raised.
Blind squirrels, nuts, and what not
Well said, Nick S!
After commentating about why the 2nd Amendment is so important to stop a tyrannical government, you go on to explain why the government should be in charge of licensing carry. Contradict much?
You mention how complex modern firearms are. They’re really not very complex at all.
The vast majority of folks who carry firearms are proficient and practice excellent firearms safety, not because of some relatively useless government-mandated class (have you seen what is required in a class now… not much), but instead because we take it upon ourselves to be proficient to practice safety. And the 2A community tends to do an excellent job of making sure new gun owners learn these things also.
25 states have constitutional or permitless carry with 4 more, including South Carolina on the cusp of passing it this year. Some states, like Vermont, have had it since the founding of the state. Turns out it’s not some crazy shoot-fest in those states like some would like us to believe.
When it comes to one of the most important rights, the right of self defense, I should’nt have to utter a word to government to exercise that right. Constitutional or permitless carry is a big step in that direction.
To go out on a limb, most criminals who carry guns usually carry illegal guns…stolen or straw bought or obtained through an underground market. Open carry should come with a couple of checks. One, universal background checks and a waiting period to allow background checks to be completed and up-to-date easily accessible files of each firearm transfer including person to person or gunshow transfers. This is to be able to track the firearm.
Is the author financially dependent on the issuance of carry permits?
The Constitution disagrees with your view wholeheartedly. And if you would take a modern AR 15 that anyone can buy at a gun store into a military battle you are a fool…..
“My concern regarding Constitutional Carry is that a bunch of people too lazy or incompetent to go through training will view this as a good time to go ahead and buy that pistol”
Yep. Even right now lack of training is dire in my opinion. A lot of people who bought handgun as “safety” and never trained with it. Another whole bunch just doing some casual shooting once a year and calling it a day.