In case you don’t follow the Oregon Legislature, the state’s concealed handgun licensing laws have been in the news this spring. I won’t bore you with those details, but instead I’ll bore you with some general thoughts on the matter:
– First off, I am neither anti-gun nor a gun nut. Guns are just kind of part of the deal of being an American, and I believe responsible, law-abiding people have a right to own them, though not a constitutional right; the Second Amendment has been widely misinterpreted in my opinion.
– I think our approach to concealment/licensing is at best backward. If we’re going to require a license for anything, it ought to be for wearing a gun Hoss Cartwright style while walking around town; that’s going to generate some attention, but if the pistol is concealed, no one is going to be alarmed because no one is going to know.
– What exactly do concealed handgun laws accomplish? I mean, the criminals aren’t going to bother getting licenses, so aren’t we mainly just putting another clerical and financial burden on lawful gun owners?
– If Oregon feels it important to license those who want to carry concealed weapons, then as a matter of public records openness I or anyone else should be able to get the names of those who hold the licenses. Not any other information, just the names. The state is issuing these licenses, I should be able to know to whom. Just like I ought to be able to call the DMV and ask if so-and-so has a driver’s license.
– Lastly, my co-worker Joy Pariante, an Army veteran who served in the Middle East, raised a good point Saturday. She figures everything regarding handgun ownership — safety, licensing, concealment, etc. — ought to be wrapped up at the point of purchase. That is, if you’re cleared to buy one, you should also be cleared to carry it hidden and have proven you know how to use it properly. That makes a lot more sense than the way we currently do things, I think.