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There is an amazing lack of originality in the arguments that the anti-self defense crowd use each time a new state takes up the issue of legalizing the concealed carry of weapons. The following crop of bromides was harvested in Wisconsin.
"I'm all for the right to bear arms," said Lisbon, WI police chief, Patrick Clarey, "but there has to be a balance, and the way this law is written, it would not benefit society."
The first tip off that an anti-gun statement is coming is found at the very beginning of the Chief's statement, where he tries to wrap his anti-gun view in the Second Amendment. To say that there has to be a balance in the area of our liberty protected by the Second Amendment means that he has not read the amendment nor read what the founders had to say about it. When they said that the "…right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," they were not talking about balance. They were telling Chief Clarey to keep his hands off our guns.
Butler, WI police chief, Mikel Olson, likes the idea of a 22-hour training provision in one version of the CCW legislation before the Wisconsin legislature. He thinks this will "weed out a lot of unqualified people" because, he thinks, many would drop out before finishing such a ridiculous requirement.
Chiefs Clarey and Lanon police chief Mark Flessert don't think the training goes far enough. They point to the more extensive requirements imposed on police officers. It seldom occurs to police bureaucrats that people using a gun in self-defense do not need the training a police officer should have. The intended victim will be involved in a shooting at typically less than 20 feet. A police officer is almost never that close to the scene of the crime, and he often has trouble figuring out who is the real bad guy in the crowd. The chiefs are using unnecessary training as a way to accomplish what they really want - as few citizens as possible who are able to protect themselves with a gun.
And it would be interesting to ask Chief Olson if he believes that bad guys and careless jerks who get guns (in disregard of the law) will bother to practice. Evidently the Chief does not get out on the street very often - a typical problem for police bureaucrats.
Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher thinks guns should not be concealed in cars in order to protect the safety of officers during traffic stops. What kind of criminals does this DA deal with? Does he really think a ban on CCW in an automobile would be obeyed by a crook? How many good guys with guns pop officers during traffic stops? I doubt he has prosecuted one. This does not mean that guns were not illegally in the cars for the defense of the owners who were stopped for unrelated traffic violations. But the good guys do not consider shooting a cop during a traffic stop as a legitimate defensive gun use.
Has the DA checked out the experience of other states? If he were to do so, he would find that his concern is groundless. Of course, maybe cheeseheads are uniquely dangerous when guns are around them!
DA Bucher explains further that, "I don't know why anyone would want a gun in the car anyway. There isn't any real self-defense issue inside your own car." Amazing! Wisconsin has no carjackers. Congratulations!
Chief Clarey does not think crime would be lowered following a CCW law in Wisconsin because the state is already very safe. Another amazing feature of this state -there are no murders and other violent crimes? Well, he "knows" that things would get worse if decent people could defend themselves: "I don't want to go back to the days of the wild, wild West with people settling their disagreements in a shootout at the mall."
Chief Clary's ignorance of history is matched by his ignorance of the contemporary experience of other states where carrying concealed firearms is legal. The wild west was only dangerous in the movies, and the states which have adopted CCW laws have uniformly experienced declines in violent crime.
Chief Flessert adds that CCW would be dangerous because: "The average nice guy will sometimes take drastic steps when put under pressure." Well, tell us what has been the problem in other states, please. You know folks like Flessert would point to such problems if, indeed, they existed. But they don't.
Chief Clarey warns that "If you're not properly trained, your gun can be used against you or your loved ones." That, of course, would be an argument for disarming police officers, since sometimes their service weapons are used against them.
Chief Olson lets the elitist cat out of the bag with this statement: "If you don't have a uniform, you shouldn't be carrying a gun." In this immoral view, self-defense should not include the use of guns by mere citizens!
Finally, a priceless piece of advice from
Chief Clarey: "Citizens can fight crime more effectively by learning
to become excellent witnesses." How they can do that from the
morgue is something the Chief did not explain.
© 2003 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved
Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.
GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.
Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.
He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.
Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
"Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher thinks guns should not be concealed in cars in order to protect the safety of officers during traffic stops. What kind of criminals does this DA deal with? Does he really think a ban on CCW in an automobile would be obeyed by a crook?"