Every argument I read from people who are either on the fence about gun control, or pro gun control seem to have this phrase. More times than not we see, “If we could only enact common sense gun reform” or something thereof. But what does it mean? It’s hard to say, because common sense seems exceedingly rare in today’s society. Since we can’t know what it means just by hearing it, we should examine what lawmakers and gun control advocates are asking for.
While magazine limits, ammo types, firearm features, and functions are hotly debated, they aren’t regulated in near the capacity that the gun control advocates want. I don’t think these topics are a good example of what common sense gun control looks like. Instead, let’s focus on something that is fairly similar between states, which happens to be carrying a firearm.
Believe it or not, states have more in common when it comes to carrying a firearm than you think. Sure, depending on which state you live in the rules and requirements for obtaining a license to carry differ. Some states even allow you to carry without papers, meaning you don’t need a permit from the local state government to either carry concealed or openly.
What does this have to do with common sense gun control? Because each state has imposed limits on where and when you can carry, either openly or concealed. This is the “common sense” approach, because everyone knows it is common sense to either carry or not carry depending on where you are. Let’s examine some of these places.
In Texas, any business with proper signage can prohibit a person from carrying openly or concealed into their establishment. In Arizona, any business can also prohibit you from entering with a firearm. Then there are states like California which have no verbiage about signs, but instead have a myriad of local laws which are enacted on a per county and city basis which can prohibit you from carrying concealed at certain places. One such example is the beach and many hiking trails in one of the major beach areas. This same area suffers constant attacks from coyotes against people including children.
However, I don’t think this is the best example of common sense gun control. Instead, I like to look at the school zone and school ground laws that we have at the federal and state level. These are really good common sense laws and here is why. A school is a place of learning where people need to feel safe. Guns are not welcome at these places because of this reason. Unfortunately this doesn’t stop people who break the law. They will still bring guns into school campuses and will still shoot innocent people. But what about the law-abiding? After all, these are the people who the law affects.
A law-abiding citizen, someone who has a license to carry a concealed firearm, which has done a background check for their permit and obtained state mandated training, is prohibited from bringing a concealed firearm onto school grounds in almost all states if not all. This means, a mother who is driving her children to school must park outside of school grounds, and then take off her firearm. She had to do this in plain view of anyone walking by her vehicle. Once the firearm is removed from her person, she needs to store the firearm somewhere. Vehicles are poor storage devices because they’re not secure. Even if she has a vehicle safe (which can be illegal in many states), it’s still not as secure as if she was wearing it.
Now she walks her children to their classroom, kisses them goodbye for the day, and walks back to her vehicle. Criminals know that anyone leaving the school or on the school are unarmed. This would be the perfect place for someone to take advantage of the situation, like say an estranged spouse or abusive boyfriend. These very well may be the reason she has a permit in the first place. But, even if we leave this part out, lets focus on what has and will be happening.
She has to park her vehicle outside of the school during a busy time when a lot of children are present. Even if you look around and think no one is watching, there might be a good chance that someone sees you removing your gun while you’re in your vehicle. Especially since a lot of states prohibit window tint on the front driver and passenger windows. There’s a good chance that someone would assume you do not have the gun legally, since they can see it, and would call the police.
But this isn’t really the point. The cops show up, you’re gone or you show your permit, explain you had to disarm yourself, and you’re on your way. But what about the bigger issue? The bigger issue here is that this common sense law forces people to handle loaded firearms in a place that is busy with children. Well, I can hear the gun control people screaming now, “Just leave your gun at home! Why do you need a gun to take your children to school?”. Well, as outlined above, it may be for personal reasons where a woman has an abusive ex-partner and her and her children could be in danger. But, lets look at it from a more simple view.
Disarming yourself to drive your children to school, for most people, means being disarmed the entire day. You don’t know what this lady does for work. Maybe she’s a pro-bono attorney that works in a shady neighborhood? Or a nurse that holds late hours in a downtown hospital. You’ve just disarmed her for the entire day because you think it’s better if she didn’t wear her gun to drop off her children in the morning.
This is what common sense gun control is all about. There is no common sense to it. Instead of focusing on real problems, they make up elaborate rules and regulations which only affect those people who are permitted and vetted who wish to stay permitted. Common sense would say that people should not handle a loaded firearm unnecessarily in areas which are not designed for it. Having someone remove and put on a loaded firearm in a vehicle while trying to hide your actions with hundreds of children around is not the most safe thing. It’s also not common sense. There are many things which can go wrong when putting a gun on and taking it off, depending on how and what you’re doing.
People who have carry permits are exactly the people who should be armed. They’ve passed their background check, they’ve passed training, and the state has deemed they’re not a threat to society. This is the one person outside of a police officer who you should want around. Instead, the common sense crowd focuses on one thing, the gun. They put everything else aside and focus on that one thing and scream they want “common sense” reform. People, you’ve lost the meaning of the word.
As I’ve said in some of my other articles. Gun owners, and specifically those of us who have carry permits, are the people who go out of our ways to help others. We see the value in being prepared, and often have many more tools than just a firearm. Common sense would be having people with permits get armed at home and stay armed all day, without having to handle a loaded gun. But we’re just letting facts get in our way now.