The New Gun Debate

      2 Comments on The New Gun Debate

This past week, there was a very sad story in the news about a deadly school shooting in Germany where over one dozen people were killed. Over the past few decades, America has had it’s own share of grief over fatal school shootings such as Columbine, Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech, and many more. While many countries have used gun violence as a rational for tightening gun laws, for the most part, the debate in America continues. While many can hardly deny the validity of the rights given from the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution (the right to bear arms), there are still various heated arguments about how gun laws should be structured in the US. These issues are constantly a part of election platforms, pro/anti gun campaigns, and news stories and may continue to be for years to come.

In the US, most states have some sort of law which allows private citizens to carry a concealed weapon or handgun. This law requires that citizens obtain a permit which allows them to legally own the weapon and carry it in a concealed manner, such as under clothing. Currently, only Vermont and Alaska have laws which allow their citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit. The majority of states, including Florida and Washington, have what is called a “shall issue policy, which means that they cannot arbitrarily deny someone a permit. Yet, other states require that the person applying for a permit show why they need it. Without the appropriate permit under that state’s laws, any gun possession could be considered illegal.

The concealed weapon permit laws will vary by state and, as such the type of weapons carried, or who is allowed to carry the weapons can vary. For example, some states may only allow private citizens to obtain permits for one handgun, while other states allow for the carrying of multiple concealed weapons. Some states also expand their definition of concealed weapons beyond handguns, and also allow for other weapons, such as martial arts weapons. The age where a citizen is allowed to carry a concealed weapon can also vary from 16 to 18 to 21. The structure of these laws are often at the center of the gun debate.

Over the past few months, another gun issue has sparked heated debates in America. This time, however, the argument centers around public records. Depending on the public records laws of a state, concealed weapon records are likely public records. However, recently, some states such as Tennessee and Oregon have been attempting to limit this information. In Tennessee, the issue became very heated as a local newspaper printed the names of permit holders. Although obtaining a concealed weapon record may not always be available online, if you contact the agency responsible for managing these records (likely a Sheriff’s or Police Department) and request the record, they could be required to give it to you under the state’s public records laws.

Many who are permit holders may question why such information should be made available. There are concerns about privacy, discrimination, and community backlash against the permit holders. Yet, on the other side of the argument, some may want to know whether their neighbor, co-worker, or future business partner is a gun-owner. The argument certainly begs the question: If we have a right to review someone’s business records, criminal records, and birth records, under public records laws, why should a gun permit record be kept secret? What are your thoughts?

If you want to uncover what type of records are public in your state, try viewing The Free Public Records Directory. There is information by state and county, as well as links for online access to many records.

2 thoughts on “The New Gun Debate

  1. N. R. Ringlee

    First, your illogical connection of lawful gun ownership to the following is flawed:

    “The argument certainly begs the question: If we have a right to review someone €™s business records, criminal records, and birth records, under public records laws, why should a gun permit record be kept secret? ”

    Why is gun ownership, a constitutionally based right, categorized with criminal activity? I see no logical connection, and see no justification for making that information accessible to the public just as I see no need to make my voting record public information. Nor do I see any need to make my medical records public information.

    One might better ask, referring to the possibility that someone might be a danger to the public, about mental health histories, drug and alcohol abuse histories, records of domestic violence and discord, records of child protective services agencies, etc. These records would have far more valuable information regarding the relative danger of a person to the public. But we respect the right to privacy in these cases. What about legitimate firearms owners?

    The tragedies to which you appeal, such as the incident in Germany, Virginia Tech, and Columbine, all show clear connections to mental health issues either ignored or unresolved, and subsequent access to guns by those suffering from mental illness allowed by those who should be responsible. In these cases, I will be the first to sit on a jury to convict these irresponsible gun owners. But do not punish a class of people collectively for the transgressions of a few. That obnoxious 14th amendment deters that.

    We don’t have a gun problem in this country in re legitimate firearms ownership by responsible gun owners. That extends to CCW permit holders. We have an epidemic of untreated mental health problems, and irresponsible people who allow the mentally ill and criminally inclined people access to firearms, dangerous chemicals, chainsaws, sharp knives, automobiles, etc. Does banning gasoline deter an arsonist? I think not.

    The prohibitionist mentality to treat serious, complex problems is the easy way out when confronted with difficult social issues. It is easy to take your rage out on redneck gun owners like me, but it does nothing to address the problem of violence in our society. And targeting people who see then need to have a CCW does nothing to advance the goal of reducing violence. Quite the contrary. Many people in our society have a legitimate need to carry a concealed firearm. Please quote for me the statistics on the percentage of gun homicides committed by CCW Permit holders, NRA Life Members, and NRA and State Hunting Education Instructors. The brady bunch and many others love to speak in wide generalities but they never seem to get around to specifics as to who, what, when, where, why and how. Please name for me one of the aforementioned convicted of murder or homicide with a firearm in the last 3 years.

  2. AngelGroup

    Per the constitution we are afforded rights and liberties…guns being one of them. I’m an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and violence and firearms go hand in hand; however, guns and self defense can go hand in hand as well.

    If the people lose the right to bear arms, we will be an easy takedown for TPTB. No one needs to be subjected to abuse, whether that be family violence or tyrannical oppression.


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