By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
One of the tropes that we like to repeat about ourselves as gun owners and concealed carriers is that we’re “law-abiding,” that we’re the most law-abiding folks around. Law-abiding, safe and responsible.
Now, for the most part, it’s actually true. People who legally own and carry firearms tend to not be criminals, because that’s who we’re concerned with when we buy one anyway.
In fact, John Lott found in a 2016 paper that concealed carry permit holders in Florida and Texas were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors at a rate of 22.3 convictions per 100,000 people, with a firearms violation rate of 2.4 per 100,000 people, which is one-sixth the rate of criminal convictions for police officers and one-seventh the rate of firearms violations of police officers in those states.
Also, if you start committing crimes, you get your guns taken away and then you aren’t a gun owner (or a legal one!) any more. Granted, potential loss of gun rights is not really what keeps people from not committing criminal acts; most people don’t commit crimes because it’s wrong.
But the thing is that a lot of us feel some aspects of or even all gun laws are wrong. Granted, this varies from person to person; some believe any gun regulation is inherently wrong or unconstitutional and others feel that some gun laws are probably warranted but current gun laws go too far or are in serious need of reform. That much is up to you.
And sometimes, gun rights activists – the people that purport to speak on behalf of all of us who hold our Second Amendment rights dear – are not law-abiding. In fact, some lapse straight into criminality if not outright lunacy as part of their “contributions” to the cause.
In Okalahoma, one Timothy A. Harper, 52, has been arrested for carrying an AR-15 rifle into a restaurant there, according to The Oklahoman. Harper has a history of conducting “Second Amendment Audits,” where he goes into restaurants and other businesses open carrying and often enough starting an argument when he’s asked to leave.
Harper was open-carrying his rifle, which is legal in Oklahoma, to celebrate the new constitutional carry law, when he entered the Twin Peaks restaurant in Oklahoma City. However, he didn’t leave when asked, preferring instead to wait for police. When police arrived, Harper was reminded that Oklahoma law prevents carrying a loaded rifle in any establishment where alcohol is consumed on the premises, and now faces up to two years in prison if convicted.
Where you can and can’t carry, under the law, is the sort of thing you need to know before you head out the door.
In April of this year, gun rights and conservative activist Kanda Calef allegedly flashed a pistol in traffic in Colorado Springs, Colo. The motorist she showed the gun to – but did not directly point it at – happened to be an off-duty US Marshal of all things, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. When a Colorado State Trooper located Calef in traffic, she had allegedly increased speed to 90 mph and was weaving through multiple lanes. She stopped when the bars were illuminated.
Calef is facing felony brandishing charges, and her carry permit has been revoked.
Adam Kokesh, a libertarian/anarchist activist, made national news when he loaded a shotgun while open carrying in downtown Washington, D.C. in 2013, according to a news report at the time in USA Today. Open carry of an unloaded long gun was not prohibited, but Kokesh wanted to make a statement and oh, boy did he.
His apartment was raided by police, who also found psilocybin mushrooms, which he claimed were planted. Kokesh eventually pleaded guilty to two felony counts related to the arrest.
Most of us likely remember the incident a few months ago in Springfield, Miss., where one Dmirty Andrechenko was arrested when he turned up to a Walmart wearing body armor and carrying an AR-15 to “test his Second Amendment rights.” Andrechenko was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats – a felony charge – for the incident, which – you might remember – occurred just days after a mass shooting at a Walmart in Texas claimed more than 20 lives.
Andrechenko lucked out, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune; he was able to plead guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge. He has to undergo firearms training and will serve 48 hours in jail and be on probation for two years.
Here we have a dilemma. On the one hand, gun ownership isn’t a privilege; it’s a right. Every American citizen, unless prohibited by virtue of felony conviction or other disqualifying criteria, has the right to carry and bear arms. And those rights are under assault by those who mean to curtail them in the misguided belief that it’s for the “greater good.” There is also a tradition of nonviolent resistance to oppressive laws in this country as there is elsewhere.
But there is also something to be said for not giving the opposition any help.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.