And here's my reply to the editors: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to the Opinion: "Go figure - Loaded guns are legal where people get loaded" dated March 30, 2007, I submit the following rebuttal:
The answer is not to ban guns from anywhere, but for anyonewho carries or uses a gunto be held responsible under the law equally.
I am an"Open Carrier" and prefer to OC wherever I go unless otherwise prohibited. I only Conceal Carry (CC) when I can't otherwise OC. I and my friends who also OCare fully aware ofVirginia laws regarding carrying a gun, both OC and CC andoften times better than the Law Enforcement Officers (LEO's)we encounter! Would you recommendwe get "dumber" or would you rather the law enforcement officersget smarter regarding the law? We're also committed to educating our fellow citizens on their right to OC, safe gun handling and the responsibility that goes along with it.
I and my fellow OC'ersare not only fully aware of our surroundings when OC'ing, but many are are trained in weapon retention techniques as well.And to date, not one person I've asked has been able to provide me witha single example of where a citizen who was legally OC'ing, had their weapon taken away from them. It just doesn't happen to citizens but it makes a great anti-gun argument. Why? Becauseanti-gun arguments are all based on irrational and unjustified fear. Fear is a great and powerful tool for swaying opinionand controlling the population, but isn't that what their agenda is all about?There is one greater tool than fear and and it's called THE TRUTH.I chose not to live in a nation that is controlled byfear, but one of law abiding, responsible citizens.
In your opinion you stated:
"The potential for tragedy was illustrated by an incident in Hampton some years back. An agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency, off duty but armed, got to drinking in a restaurant and shot two customers in the parking lot." The key words there are "got to drinking".
Although thatDEA Agent isexemptunder Virginia Code ยง 18.2-308and allowed to conceal carry in a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol, the real question here is should theybe completely exempt? Whileoff duty he (or anyone authorized to carry a gunin a bar) should be held to the same high standard as the rest of us responsible citizens.That standard is simply that if I'm carrying open OR concealed, I'm not drinking - PERIOD. Carrying a weapon is a HUGE responsibility not only for yourself, but for those around you, and not one to be taken lightly.
The Virginia Code is quite clear for the rest of us responsible citizens:
You askif that "sworn officer of the law - trained in handing firearms and, presumably, conflict - couldn't restrain the impulse to start shooting, what can we expect of the general populace?", I would say you should instead be asking why LEO's are held to a different standard than the rest of us? Are they better people than us? Should we have a new class of people that are above the law and deserve greater privilege than just us common citizens? That is precisely the kind of Police State that we should be fearing, not responsible citizens carrying guns.
J1. Any person permitted to carry a concealed handgun, who is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while carrying such handgun in a public place, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Conviction of any of the following offenses shall be prima facie evidence, subject to rebuttal, that the person is "under the influence" for purposes of this section: manslaughter in violation of ยง 18.2-36.1
, maiming in violation of ยง 18.2-51.4
, driving while intoxicated in violation of ยง 18.2-266
, public intoxication in violation of ยง 18.2-388
, or driving while intoxicated in violation of ยง 46.2-341.24
. Upon such conviction that court shall revoke the person's permit for a concealed handgun and promptly notify the issuing circuit court. A person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be ineligible to apply for a concealed handgun permit for a period of five years."
This agent violated the public trust and his oath and perhaps should not have been an agent.The problem there wasn't the gun, or the availability of one since I'm sure that right now THOUSANDS of LEO's are carrying off duty and perhaps even drinking. The problem was his lack of better judgment. He should not have had a single drink while carrying. As stated, it was in the "heat of passion". Passion, being what it is, had he not had a gun, he likely would have used something else as a weapon.
I completely agree with you and the Judge in that case that alcohol and firearms don't mix. I practice what I preach. Perhaps so should those we trust to protect us. If they cannot, then perhaps either we should change the law so they are not exempt or they should find new vocations.