Amidst the discussion about gun control and all the legalities that may ensue from that, there is an actual legitimate issue that many who oppose guns have: negligent discharges. It was only a little while back that we covered a story on a drunk concealed carrier in Washington state who allegedly dropped his gun and it shot through the back of a woman’s seat critically injuring her. These types of events are both tragic and reflect horribly on the concealed carry community. It’s one of the reasons why we promote responsible concealed carry so heavily and try to lean the conversation in that direction.
A recent Denver Post op-ed piece examined possible repercussions for concealed carriers if they have a theorized negligent discharge. In it, he postulates aloud whether or not concealed carriers should receive different types of punishments based upon the degree of negligence at stake. Here’s the thing: they do. When a round leaves the chamber of a legally concealed carried handgun, there will be consequences for it. Through training, maintaining a concealed carry mindset, and a good set of ethics, the vast majority of concealed carriers will have nothing to worry about. In fact, most of us have been carrying for quite a few years and have never had a negligent discharge.
Here’s the thing, though: complacency kills.
And in the case of the Washington state theater shooting, it’s both horrific and irresponsible. Why didn’t I mention that it was ‘accidental’ or negligent? Because, in the mind of the person who was shot and the people in that theater with that drunk concealed carrier it doesn’t matter.
Enforce Existing Laws Instead Of Make New Ones
One of the strongest counter-arguments against gun legislation surrounds the fact that we have a hard enough time enforcing existing laws governing guns and gun violence. We don’t need advanced training requirements before permitting or to write an essay on why we feel we need the right to defend ourselves. We need to hold accountable those who break the law.
In many jurisdictions, endangering the lives of others is called reckless endangerment. Discharging a firearm in a public place is similarly a crime. Drinking while carrying concealed is strictly forbidden in many states. There are state-by-state guidelines governing what is considered a criminal offense and those regulations should be properly cited by a county or district prosecutor when that errant concealed carrier arrives in the courthouse for sentencing.
Additionally, the vast majority of states do not even allow you to possess firearms if you have been convicted of a violent felony offense. If you’re under indictment, you can’t even purchase them.
Those two guidelines matched with whatever criminal charges are filed should be more than enough to convince anyone. And when they’re not — let the prosecutor do the work.
Responsibilities To Ourselves And Others Around Us
If we’re going to be law-abiding concealed carriers, then we have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us not to be complacent and lazy about how we handle ourselves. That firearm should stay in its holster until it is legitimately needed. If a person is out in public and needs to adjust a holster, he needs to seek a private to do that.
If you’re out in public even somewhat intoxicated with a concealed firearm on your person, you’re the problem. And if you get busted, not a single soul is going to feel bad about what happens to you. And, if you think you’re actually going to stop a violent felony in progress — you’re kidding yourself.