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Voices / Letters from readers

Keep the guns right out in the open

Why is it that we tolerate all these concealed-firearm laws that allow people to carry guns hidden on their bodies into schools, churches, shopping centers, and other public places in the name of the Second Amendment?

Whether I agree with the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates, I believe that better laws ought to be enacted — laws that would keep us better informed and, in the end, safer.

Those laws are open-carry laws.

After all, who benefits most from concealed-carry permits, and the laws that extend such permits to allow concealed carriers to bring guns into all public spaces?

Not those who do not like or use or own guns, certainly. No, they benefit only gun users and gun owners.

They get not only to bring their death machines into public spaces, where they can be brought out and used in any “declared” emergency, necessary or not, but they get to bring them there in stealth and secrecy.

They can do so because no one is brave enough to insist that what we really want and need are open-carry laws — laws that not only allow gun users and owners to carry openly but, in fact, force them to do so.

Open-carry laws would force gun carriers to reveal when they bring a gun into a restaurant or church or shopping mall. If doing so brings consequences for the person with the gun? Well, they would have to deal with those consequences.

I frankly believe that if bringing a gun into a restaurant results in people moving away from your table or other gun-shy patrons not wanting to stay in that same building or other consequences, well, perhaps then certain laws would eventually be changed to favor protection from guns, at last.

But at least we would see what actually results when gun users bring guns into public spaces if they are made to do so out in the open.

Now, they have the benefit of doing so under cover and with the benefit of necessary secrecy, but this is not to the public good.

Let’s face it — if more gun users actually want to be outed, they would acquire open-carry permits. The thing about secretly carrying deadly weapons, of course, is that when you do so, no one really knows, so they can’t condemn or stop you or stigmatize you.

Let’s call for all-open-carry-firearms laws now. Stop allowing gun users from keeping us from knowing just who has a gun in public.

Pamela Spiro Wagner

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Originally published in The Commons issue #377 (Wednesday, October 5, 2016).

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