Friday, June 17, 2011

Right to Keep and Bear Arms = awesome responsibility

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

Ohio’s concealed carry law was in the news again this week. Legislators passed a bill that will allow those with a concealed weapon permit to carry their firearm into bars.

The new law will allow weapons to be carried into establishments that serve alcohol, as long as the person carrying the firearm does not drink.

Let me start by saying that I could probably be the poster boy for the Second Amendment. I firmly believe that Americans should have the right to bear arms.

I do, however, have doubts about this new twist on Ohio’s concealed carry law. One of the many things that I learned as a young boy who grew up around guns was that guns and alcohol do not mix. The best intentions of someone who is sober can be lost when mixed with liquor.

I know that the law reads that you can enter the establishment with your firearm if you are not drinking. Let’s be realistic. Most people who go into a bar, do so to get a drink. I have no problem with that. I love a cold beer, myself, from time to time. The bottom line is that if you are going into the local corner bar for a drink, common sense should tell you to leave the gun at home, or at least in your car.

My biggest fear from all of this is that every time some moron shoots someone, the anti-gun establishment immediately begins crying that all guns are bad and all gun-owners are looking for a shoot-out.

I would be far more happy if our learned legislators would start passing laws that come down like the hammers of hell on criminals who use guns in the commission of a crime.

There are common sense answers to the issues but, for some reason, our lawmakers have a habit of ignoring common sense. Heaven forbid that a criminal’s rights might be tread upon.

True, there are criminal acts where there is truly a question as to the guilt of the accused. These situations should be sorted out, taking whatever amount of time is necessary to get to the truth.

More often, there is little, or no, doubt as to the guilt of the accused. When the situation is cut-and-dried, and someone has used a weapon to inflict injury to someone, they should be thrown in a cold, dark cell. No phone. No television. No computer. And no appeals. From my perspective, the minute they pulled the trigger, they forfeited their Civil Rights.

Only when we pass, and begin enforcing … repeat, enforcing, laws that hurt offenders, will criminals think twice before committing a crime.

It can also be argued that those who prey on others should begin thinking twice before committing a crime against another individual, for the intended victim could be lawfully carrying a weapon and just might ruin the day of the predator.

I know that there are requirements that must be met before one can be issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm. I urge those who have such a permit, or are contemplating acquiring one, to please, become proficient with your sidearm. Learning just enough to pass the course is not enough. Continued familiarization and practice is a necessity.

Arming one’s self carries with it an extraordinary responsibility. While a gun, by itself, is a tool, an inanimate object, it affords the person wielding it the power to end someone’s life. We owe it, not only to ourselves, but to those around us, to learn to be safe and accurate with the weapon.

The early leaders of our country, in writing our Constitution and Bill of Rights, made decisions that, I am sure, weighed heavily on their shoulders. As we execute these rights on a daily basis, it is our responsibility as Americans to perform in a manner that is in keeping with the principals set by our Nation’s Founders.

Principals and responsibility … two things which are sadly lacking these days.

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