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Careful where you point that


Brandon Wertz May 23rd, 2012

“Locked, loaded and legal” (News, Peter Wright, May 9, Oklahoma Gazette) sounds like a gun guy’s wet dream, but it may present more problems than solutions. Concealed carry offers no indication to criminals that they are in for a fight, and thus the public presumption is that open carry is a deterrent. But there is a caveat.

With no means of immediately identifying at a distance whether a person has a valid concealed carry permit (authorizing an open carry), anyone can open carry without being questioned. So how long before criminals become audacious enough to wear their firearms openly?

From a legal standpoint, there are almost no circumstances where a private citizen can unholster a firearm in a public place and not be charged with something. This fact alone should discourage any smart person from exercising this “right.”

But if that’s not enough, this law will undoubtedly increase the number of businesses that post “no weapons permitted” signs. That, coupled with existing prohibited locations — such as state and federal buildings/property, bars and school zones — will only serve to make open carry more of a hassle than concealed carry.

The only time a private citizen has the right to use deadly force is when there is an immediate threat to one’s self or another. If an assailant ceases and withdraws, the legality of using lethal force no longer exists. Juries often frown on entry wounds in the back.

Let me say that I have previously lived in an open carry state and have open carried in the past. I’ve even worked in a private occupation which required the use of a firearm. I’ve had extensive training, and I can assure you the horrors of litigation are rather sobering. I understand the hero complex many gun carriers have, but before pulling that trigger, they need to understand they’ll be held accountable for any and all collateral damage, as well as the justification for shooting.

I sincerely hope that Oklahoma’s concealed carry weapon training isn’t a rubber-stamp process. Diligent training is the only thing that can prevent this from becoming a potentially tragic debacle.

—Brandon Wertz, Oklahoma City

 
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