“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The second amendment as written and intended, died years and years ago. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could restrict firearms ownership. Machine guns now require a federal license. Fighter jets and tanks are tightly controlled and always unarmed.
Last year, Arkansas passed a law intended to clear up the language in the law allowing carrying a firearm in a vehicle. It has & is legal to transport if unloaded & the ammo stored separate where it cannot be loaded quickly or easily, and you are on a journey. (or any other lawful reason to have a firearm) (1) Poor wording of the revision led many county attorney generals to interpret it as allowing open carry as a constitutional right. The Arkansas State Police have issued their own opinion that open carry is not legal and they will arrest any and all that make that attempt.
Sadly, I find myself conflicted. I lean libertarian & want as few laws and restrictions as possible. I am a strong supporter in the second amendment and especially the right to defend yourself. But I do not want to see open carry expanded. Arkansas, along with Texas, South Carolina and Oklahoma restricted open carry during the post-Civil war Reconstruction era. About a dozen states allow open carry of handguns without requiring a permit. Another dozen allow with a permit similar to a concealed carry permit. Some states also allow open carry of long guns such as shotguns or rifles.
Notice, I do not ask for any restrictions or new laws be passed in these open carry states. I simply do not think it wise to push for more open carry. My concern is it will be used to commit a crime. Be it a terrorist, foreign or domestic that parades into a crowded event, heavily armed, and attempts a massacre. Or peaceful protesters, such as in Ferguson, are infiltrated by armed thugs, intent on violence. If open carry is legal in that state, any attempt by police to ascertain the legality of the armed individuals will be decried racist. And after blood is shed, they will blame the police for failing to protect the public.
And my fear is some on the left want such an occurrence to promote more restrictive national gun laws. Ronald Ritchie,(2) the “witness” who reported John Crawford to 911, insisting he was a threat, later recanted his story. Anti-gun activists are advocating reporting of any open carry. (3) Was John Crawford “Swatted”?
And some will say, why insist on restricting our freedoms on what if’s? I will agree they have a point. I will also point out, in the 90’s, a man was wondering “what if” I can get some of my followers to hijack an airplane and fly it into a skyscraper…. So what if we all agree there are threats in today’s world. What is the best way to combat them while allowing the most freedom?
And just now, a terrorist attack in Paris. France has very tough gun control laws. “They were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and are also believed to have had a rocket-propelled grenade.”
1. How did they get their weapons?
2. What other laws would have prevented this?
3. Would open carry help or hinder the police & government?