Saturday, May 3, 2008

Gunz, Yo!

I have recently become entrenched in a discussion regarding concealing handguns on Missouri State University's campus. My debater is a man who knows his guns, so I should have quite the discussion on my hands. Stay tuned, and I'll update this post whenever I receive a response.

I've placed our texts in green and blue. I figured something like red and blue would be too biased, and I want to try to differentiate our words easily. If anyone has any better suggestions on formatting, let me know.

Without further ado, here's Frank:

I have recently read your article about conceal and carry on Missouri State campus. I also viewed your discussion with the Brother Jed type person outside the library. It is hard for me to put up with a lot of religious intolerance from either those who don’t believe or those who believe too much. There is a balance to be had. I have not however messaged you to talk about religion. There is no sence arguing about such a heated and irrelavent subject.

The article you and your associate wrote seemed to be missing evidence and supporting facts. Missouri has a very stringent application and education process on firearms for a conceal and carry recipient. I do understand your view point that people who have no criminal record but plan on illegally using this right can do so. Those who wish to do such a thing don’t need to go through the application process, $220.00 processing fee, training class, and NICS (federal background check) to carry a weapon. People who want to do illegal things just carry illegally.

The young man who went on a rampage at Virginia Tech did purchase most if not all his firearm equipment legally. This was due to a lack of a criminal background not a failure to find one. If anything knowing that this could happen seems to reinforce the need for those qualified to carry a concealed weapon if they so choose. If someone chooses not to carry that’s ok too. I just think it should be a possibility. The Missouri State security are little more than parking attendants. They cannot carry a firearm or defend anyone in an emergency situation such as that of Virginia Tech.

Your statement about concealed guns on campus restricting the free flow of ideas also fails to make a good argument against the carry law. In order to carry in Missouri you must be 23 years of age. This generally keeps people in their first years at college who have less than great judgment from carrying a firearm. Not to mention in order to buy a pistol you must be 21 and a resident of this state.

I work as a range officer on a firing range in Springfield, and I also shoot for the Missouri State Pistol Team. I know all the Missouri laws surrounding the buying, carrying and shooting of any type of firearm. I also view CCW classes often, as the range where I work regularly hosts them. They involve several tests from knowing the Castle Law doctrine to accurately shooting and handling the firearms. Many people fail and even if they don’t fail the police department reserves the right to fail a person pending a stringent background check for both federal and local crimes not to mention those mentally unfit to carry. This web site shows the doctrine and its intended use. I hope you take a look and see why we all feel so strong about this right. Those of us who carry or will carry aren’t violent people we just want to have the option to protect ourselves against violent threats. We don’t live in fear and we don’t want to hurt people, but we do know there are people who want to hurt others and they are our concern. I also understand that there are people that support our cause that I don't even want to be associated with. This is unfortunate, but I hope you don't use the minority of these racially insensitive over zealous people to judge us all. We are not all like that. I know you have the same problem with those people who support your cause that don't really have your ideals at heart.

Don’t let criminals swing the balance of justice. Bad people will always get guns we just want to tip the balance back into the law abiding citizens’ hands. You of all people should support such a right due to the fact you share one of our most precious of rights attained by the use of force that of free speech. Thank you for your time and I await your reply.


First, let me say that I'm glad to see you taking an interest in both your local laws and what whackjobs like myself are saying.
Second, allow me to apologize for the absence of my response to your inquiry. It's no excuse, but I've been swamped by classes.

I'd like to discuss this issue in depth with you.

I plan to post this conversation to a public blog in the event of you responding to this. If you have any problem with this, let me know. I find people are generally more rational (both myself and others) if the conversation is public.

Let me start off by clarifying my position. I am not against guns. I like guns. I think that they are necessary for the security of a free state. Specifically, for a people to protect from government. I also support the right to have guns in our homes. Frankly, if I'm breaking into your house at 4:00 in the morning, and you pop me, I'm gonna say that I deserve it. I have no business being there.
So, to clarify, my problem is guns in the hands of others' in public places where I'm going to be.

Before we start this conversation, however, we need to know what our ideal goal is. Once we agree on this goal, I expect myself and my beliefs to augment whatever philosophical or logical reasoning we are able to draw from our shared experiences and well-documented evidence. In turn, I expect no less from you. Can you guarantee me, on your honor, that you are willing to change your convictions due to logic and reason, Frank? If you cannot, then there is no reason for this discussion to continue.

Further, I think that this discussion must encompass gun ownership in general, rather than just concealed carry. We can't well argue segregation without discussing racism, can we?

So let's jump right in.

What's the goal here? Are we attempting to protect "rights", either anarchistic or libertarian in nature? Are we attempting to protect the populace? Are we attempting to make our schools safer?

I hold that our goal should be ensuring the long-term safety of our society, but I am willing to look at the situation and argue it from any perspective you choose.

I look forward to this conversation.

Have a good day, Frank.

-Ryan Culbertson-Faegre

Ryan I can agree on the changing of an idea. I don't think changing ones mind makes anyone less a person. I wouldn't say that my argument isn’t as large in scope as overall gun rights. I already have gun rights. As soon as I turn 23 I will have the right to carry. Since those rights are already present for me to enjoy I don't have any argument with them. Unless my rights are being threatened, which is an entirely different issue, I don’t feel the need to discuss them. The use of gun rights in the discussion shouldn’t be discontinued however. I agree that gun rights on the whole will give evidence and supporting facts both ways thus neither argument should be penalized for the use of this evidence.

I would say that the issue for me is making college campuses more secure. Schools on the whole can't be considered in this issue because schools with grades preschool through 12 have an attendance of students that don’t legally apply to the issue. Protecting the populace for me is not as important an issue. It is important only for me to protect myself and those I care about in my home or out. The populous can defend themselves in any way they see fit. If however it is an important issue for you to put in protection of the populous I will not deny that request. Gun rights and rights that fall under that umbrella are wide and sweeping in scope. If as we go through this discussion we decide to open more arguments into the gun world I won’t disregard any of the issues. I just think starting with safer college campuses is a good place to begin.

I understand that with finals approaching the discussion may stretch until they are completed and that is fine with me. I also don’t mind the exchange of our ideas being public. I would ask that the forum for the discussion be relatively scholarly and that no other input be recognized by either of us during our discussions. I would also ask that the place where the discussion will be posted be made available to me for my viewing. With these outlines I don’t see why we can’t make some headway in our debate. With this in mind I await your response to my first posting and any other important outlines you’d like to add to the discussion.

I'm glad to see your response. The blog is at
Before we get started on the actual meat of the post, I'd like to clarify, if I may. I am concerned that we are starting from an impossible premise. Is your proposition that you should be able to protect yourself and your loved ones anywhere you go, or that we should all be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones anywhere we go?

If it's the first one, then I concede the debate.
As a starting foundation for an argument, it would be hard to figure out a way that you having a gun would be detrimental to your safety, if that's all that you're concerned about. I could probably pull out statistics about how you're more likely to shoot yourself than somebody else if you have a gun, but we all know that's hokey, since they usually include suicides, and you're a responsible gun owner.

The thing is, we're not cowboys out on ranches; we live in a society. Societal living means that we're trying to do what's best for all of us. While it may be beneficial to you to carry around a concealed weapon, we may find it extremely detrimental to the rest of us to allow others to do so. Since both you and I are benefiting from living in this society, and opt to stay here rather than live in the wilderness somewhere (at least for now), I believe that we must look at it from a societal perspective, rather than a selfish one.

Therefore, I believe that we should try to find a way of dealing with carrying concealed handguns that suits everybody.

If you are able to argue your point from a perspective other than "I should be able to protect my family," then we can get somewhere. Otherwise, we cannot.

I look forward to addressing your initial points as soon as we work out what we're arguing for.

-Ryan Culbertson-Faegre

That’s fine with me. I don't mind where the debate starts from. The Public at large has the right to carry as well. We all have to pass the same criteria in order to conceal and carry so including everyone is fine with me. I just wanted to begin with CCW on campus due to the fact that I or the rest of the public do not have the right to carry there.

Excuse me for the absence. I've been busy cranking out term papers.

I'm glad to see that we agree on a starting preposition: that we are looking out for the good of society.

Let's start by talking about a myth: that regulating handguns has anything to do with the constitution.
Now, I'll be the first to agree that we need an armed civilian populace. We, as a nation, would be much more secure if we could protect ourselves, in the case of an overly repressive government, with assault rifles, sniper rifles, and Rocket Propelled Grenades.

I fully support your right to keep whatever combat gear you want stored away in your house. In the unlikely but very real chance that it will ever be useful, I wouldn't want you without it.
However, the right to keep and bare arms is very plainly intended to allow the people to maintain some semblance of a free state. It's in the very wording of the second amendment. Our founding fathers never intended for people to walk around with loaded 1911s stuck up their jackets.

Let's talk about another myth: the regulation of concealed carry is strict enough to bar any immature, crazy, or mentally unstable people from the right to carry a gun around.

A friend of mine was standing in a Taco Bell parking lot smoking with a drug dealer who was sitting there with his friends. The drug dealer pulls out a derringer and shows it to everyone, who is clearly impressed. When my friend tells him that he probably shouldn't be carrying that on him, he replies that it's cool, because he has a Concealed Carry permit.
Now, you're probably thinking, "Hey, that's just an unconfirmed anecdote! That doesn't mean that a damn thing!"
And you're right.

So I present to you the story of Zachary Ourada. Zachary was 26. He had a Concealed Carry permit, and he was drinking in a bar with some friends. He was pretty wasted, and, being a drunken young chav, he started bragging about his Concealed Carry permit, waving it around like a badge, and harassing women. A bouncer asked him to leave, and his friends drove him home. Shortly after, he returned with a handgun, shot the bouncer in the back four times, and then attempted to flee the scene of the crime by jumping in the Mississippi River and swimming away. Needless to say, his clever escape did not work. When the police dragged him out of the river, he exclaimed, "I didn’t do nothin’ wrong, man! I got a permit to carry that bitch!"

Now, the thing about Zachary is, he wasn't a first time offender. He had lost his driver's license for a number of driving offenses, including drunk driving violations. According to a Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions (BCA) report, people have been issued Concealed Carry permits who have been convicted of domestic assaults and firearms violations.

Okay, so how do we fix CCW? Deny more people?
The problem is, if I'm psycho, and don't have a record, I'm probably going to be issued a permit. There's no way of knowing if somebody has a temper that will flare up and cause them to draw on you. Especially if you're a sanctimonious asshole like I am!
Just the other day, for example, I had a crazy man threaten to hit me and pray for my demise to his god for about 15 minutes. As far as I know, that man has no prior criminal convictions, and he still wants me dead.

Now, the argument is: you don't want criminals to be the only people possessing firearms, do you?
No. And I'm not saying most Concealed Carry permit holders are immature or nuts. Most of them aren't. But there are some people who are angry or crazy, and who wouldn't tote a pistol around if we didn't let them. Those people don't usually have a reason to carry a handgun around, especially secretly, besides "self defense". When we let anyone who doesn't have a criminal record and who can shoot straight carry a secret gun around, we're only asking for trouble.

So here's my proposition for fixing CCW: you want to carry a secret handgun, great. You need three things:
1. A reason. Have a dangerous job where you have to deal with shady people (landlord, private detective, etcetera)? Maybe you walk home at night? Great. You can carry a handgun while you're doing whatever it is you do. Just want one to shoot people if they mess with you? No.
2. A mental evaluation. You pay for a full mental evaluation, and if you're deemed fit, great. Any anger problems or messianic complexes? No carrying guns for you.
3. Proper training. This seems to be the only thing CCW's got going for it. People with Concealed Carry permits are generally pretty safe about their guns.

What about keeping us safe at school? That's the main concern here, isn't it? Well, let's just get more security, train 'em, and let 'em keep Glock 23s in their offices. It'd be a little bit more expensive, sure, but I'd readily pay a few bucks extra every semester to have a safer campus.

So, Frank, that's my proposal for a more ideal system. I'd love to hear your take on it.

-Ryan Culbertson-Faegre

I understand the want of better regulations for CCW. That is a step that many gun advocates agree on. We do end up having one problem with the regulation aspect of the government. The more regulations occur the easier it is to document who has what type of firearm there by making it easier for them to be taken away. This same issue has started in a similar fashion in many other countries including Britain, Australia, and now Canada is very close to having firearms removed. The main point being that regulation is the first step to having guns disappear.

I know this has little to do with CCW but I’m going to connect the two I promise. CCW is regulated fairly well throughout the country in the states that have it. The problems stem not from the federal NICS background check but from the local department check. These departments are supposed to go through and have any documented case of violence down to petty theft staked out in the files of people who aren’t supposed to carry. Problems occur however when friends do other friends favors or police do shoddy jobs on the background checks. You can guess how often a pencil pusher officer screws up. This is how the licenses hit the streets legally that aren’t supposed to be there. No matter what happens with regulation there will always be accident due to the fact that no government organization is flawless.

As far as mental fitness that is another story. I see people with firearms everyday that have absolutely no business having them. Working as a range officer I’ve seen every type of poor and dangerous handlings with firearms I can imagine. I’ve even had someone who was mentally deficient come in with a 45 Smith and Wesson M&P. This however brings doctor patient confidentiality into play, which is unfortunate for people like me who have to defend my right to carry everywhere I go. As you said you have people yell that they want to kill you when you and your organization are doing what you do best. Those people that are yelling at you are the people that are a little off balance and tend to take my side of the story. I don’t want them to take my side of the story because they are idiots. You see I don’t want them to have guns any more than you do, but when you start denying more and more people the right to own or carry then you end up tipping balances and causing riots.

The point is that when you allow everyone who hasn’t gone to jail carry a weapon the playing field is level. In actuality more people stay in line when CCW laws are in effect because they don’t know who might be carrying a weapon. Criminals even act a little more sheepish. We know they are going to have guns no matter what, but when laws allow others to have guns they have to think a little more about their targets. The little old lady walking home from the store may not be so easy a target after all. The reason for CCW is to make your self a hard target. Criminals are everywhere and they thrive on easy targets because they themselves are cowards.

I do like your idea about giving guards on campus guns. I was going to say campus security now is nothing more than glorified parking attendants. Keep in mind though police officers much less security guards only fire their weapons once maybe twice a year when they have to qualify for their job. That’s right most police officers are terrible marksmen. I have fun taking them into the range and out shooting them. This is another main reason why I would rather have my own weapon to protect myself because I know that I have the ability with the firearm to use it correctly.

I have seen everything on campus from you Spaghetti guys to old Jed and I know that everyone is a little crazy. I for one am a conspiracy theorist. Many of which you might find not so far from being true. Many very liberal portions of the government are doing everything they can to have all ammunition bar coded or creating gun powder that expires after three years. These are things that stem from more regulations. In my mind we are never to far from a “Red Dawn” situation.

If we could have a properly trained person in every building on campus that could neutralize a threat I would feel safer, but that as we can tell from our money stupid school is not fiscally sound. A few students getting killed would only fuel government funding to improve security so why improve it now when they can get paid to do it after. I just think that you, myself, and every other law abiding citizen should carry some kind of firearm on their person at all times provided that they are of age and not a felon. Look at Sweden everyone there has a fully automatic weapon and that seems to be the happiest place on earth.

I know people are going to have CCW that shouldn’t and I know not everyone with a gun should have one but that makes it even more important for those of us that can have them to have them. I am glad that we can agree on the fact that our campus is not even close to being secure. I think that is a step forward in this debate.

My Proposition

1) Going through a training course and law study session about CCW laws. (already exists)
2) Making sure all applicants have no mental defects. (hard, but needs to be done)
3) The federal and local background check preformed correctly putting the officer in charge of check legally responsible for any misdeed done by the new CCW holder. (that will get the desk jockeys in line)
4) Once these criteria are met those then legally allowed to carry can do so anywhere they deem fit.

This is my proposal. Fairly similar I know. In fact it’s a little more stringent, but in the end I still think those passing the credentials should still be allowed to carry anywhere.

Your Take

Once again, sorry about the absence.

We're obviously in agreement regarding a lot of things. Specifically, our views on the right to keep guns, and our views about some of the people who want to walk around with guns: that they are idiots. Our main difference of opinion seems to be whether or not people should be allowed to carry their guns around all the time.

First, I'm going to address the slippery slope argument that you've presented. You say that once you start regulating guns, they'll start getting banned and restricted.
This same argument can be applied to anyone. I could just as easily say that if you restrict alcohol, soon you'll end up with prohibition. Obviously this is not the case. Or that if you let homosexuals marry, next you'll have babies marrying common household appliances. These are obviously ridiculous assertions.
I believe that if you're seeing trends favoring regulation and then illegalization in other countries, it has more to do with a general consensus shifting towards regulation than it does legal precedent.

Fortunately, we don't have to argue about that, because I'm on your side regarding the regulation of guns. I don't want anyone (not the government, not you, and not anyone else I don't expressly inform) to know whether or not I have guns, ammunition, grenades, or anything else. I believe that there's a historical precedent favoring populations that are heavily armed when it comes to occupation (see Iraq). Now, I'm not saying that there's GONNA be a revolution, an occupation, or anything of the sort in my lifetime. But you can't blame a guy for wanting to be ready just in case.

See, the only problem is, I don't want people to shoot me. This isn't a problem if people are keeping their guns under lock and key in their homes. I'm probably not going to come over for dinner if I don't trust you not to shoot me. And I certainly wouldn't blame you for shooting me if I was takin' your stuff at night. I don't rob people, so it's not really a concern. So there doesn't seem to be any reason that I wouldn't want you to have guns. However, I do go around campus pissing people off (who sometimes think that they have God on their side, and that he's willing them to kill me). This is a Constitutional right to free speech that I'm invoking, and I don't want that put in danger by some guy with a gun. Right now, I'm not too worried about getting shot, 'cause we're not allowed to have guns on campus, and most of these crazy people are actually pretty law-abiding. However, I wouldn't put it past one of these guys to get pissed off and cap me for God if I said something blasphemous and he was carrying.

My solution to the problem is to limit Concealed Carry to people who are in dangerous situations, and to increase police activity and accountability. Further, I think we should let security guards on campus get trained and keep weapons in their cars, just in case.
I completely agree with the increases in regulation that you want to attach to the Concealed Carry permit. I only fear that allowing everyday people access to weapons in public places is asking for trouble, and arming even more people is not a particularly enlightened solution. You can test for severe mental instability, but it's much more difficult to test for a hot, and deadly, temper.



LArtsy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LArtsy said...

'Protecting the populace!....protecting the populace!'

Good lord, if I read that phrase one more time I will bitch slap someone.

Anyhow...Officer John McClane didn't need a firearm to 'protect the populace' and he has saved entire cities FOUR times! YEAH!