It seems ironic to me that in an age where there is increased pressure to allow both open and concealed carry, there is also an equivalent increase in the amount of people being killed while holding toy guns. I’m sure that everyone reading this piece remembers the iconic “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” quote from the move “A Christmas Story”, where there are numerous scenes showing just how “American” it was to play Cowboys and Indians, running around with toy guns. Somehow, now, in an age where we have segments of society fighting harder every year for their right to carry actual and loaded guns on their persons, it is also commonplace to assume that our children are wrong for playing the same childhood games that we, and our parents before us played at their age. We cannot have it both ways. If it is unreasonable for children to play with guns, and if doing so is somehow a sufficient reason for the police to kill them simply for having those toy guns, then it should be equivalently unreasonable for anyone not actively engaged in a law enforcement activity to keep and bear arms. If it is the inalienable right of every red-blooded American to keep and bear arms, then all citizens should be given the benefit of doubt that they are either wielding a legally obtained weapon, or a facsimile. Giving a 12 year old child 2 seconds to explain themselves is an insanely insufficient amount of time for them to do so. I would challenge any adult here to have a random voice at a random time to scream at them “Show Me You Hands, Show Me Your Hands, Show Me Your Hands”, and within the 2 seconds it takes for them to yell that to clearly assess the direction of the noise, the target of their attention, (You), and manage to both raise your hands slowly enough to not be making a sudden movement, and quickly enough to not be unresponsive to their orders, all while not flinching, being startled, or moving your head in a threatening manner. Two Seconds…
We cannot have it both ways. Either unassailable gun rights, and the assumption of innocence that comes with it, or the right to aggressively target anyone with a gun in public, and the necessary abridgement of gun rights that comes with that.
If we were to move to the direction of removing guns from the hands of the criminals, potential criminals, children, and innocent citizens, then we would actually be in the place that some police officers seem to think we are as it is, that ‘only criminals have guns’, that ‘if you’re not doing anything wrong, why do you need that gun’. Once we reach that place, the assumption will be true, only criminals will have guns. If a officer sees a gun, an actual gun, not a wallet of course, then s/he would have the publicly-sanctioned right to open fire. If we are not willing to go to that place, then we need greater controls on when police start shooting. They should be forced to always assume first that regardless of the race, or perceived social status of the individual that they may be in full compliance of their right to carry.
If we do not want to approach the gun-control avenue, then I would sugggest that we should drive that every citizen of America, no matter their race, creed, or socioeconomic status, who is able to do so, go out and get licensed to carry a firearm, get licensed to conceal-carry where your minicipalities allow it. Having the right does not mean that you actually ever have to actually DO so, you likely don’t even have to purchase a weapon at all, just obtain the right to do so. In any muniicipality where the over-riding majority of the citizens are registered on paper as having the right to carry, the authorities will have no choice to assume that the citizen they are approaching is legally carrying.