Salt Lake Tribune Wets Pants

In today’s STAFF EDITORIAL the Salt Lake Tribune argues that Open Carry of firearms is a bad idea for the following reasons:


  1. Open Carry is not specifically called out as legal therefore Open Carry is a gray area legally.
  2. Due to the law requiring that the gun be two mechanical actions away from firing, Open Carry is therefore of dubious value.
  3. Open Carry is dangerous because the police or criminals may shoot you.
  4. Open Carry may frighten the public.
  5. Open Carry only makes sense for hunters.

Sleeping is not called out as specifically legal, does that make it a gray area legally? No, that, by definition makes it legal. The reason Open Carry is not specifically prohibited is because such a prohibition would be unconstitutional. The law requiring a gun to be two mechanical actions away from firing is a fairly recent local development and I would argue an infringement of the Second Amendment. Roll back this useless law and the utility is restored to the firearm as well as the “shall not be infringed” clause. Additionally, not having a firearm at all is of far, far less utility than a firearm two actions away from firing.

Criminals do not carry openly so the police can breathe easy and somehow refrain from shooting anyone with a gun on their hip. Training and education for the police and the public seems to work well for Concealed Carry, why would Open Carry be any different? The worry should be for the criminal who has a concealed weapon and no regard for the law.

As far as frightening the public:  Utahn’s are built of sterner stuff, I am confident that a gun in a holster in a “compromised state of utility” as mentioned earlier, poses little threat. The fear may come from ignorance, but the cure for ignorance is education, not acquiescence. Additionally, is the need for public safety now so high that the potential of “scaring” someone is grounds for restricting the Second Amendment? Especially since crime statistics do not support this irrational fear.

The point of open carry has nothing at all to do with hunting and I suspect that the majority of Utahn’s can find the intestinal fortitude to deal with the free exercise of the Second Amendment. This editorial along with its companion “news” piece published the day previous strikes me as clumsy apprentice journalism. Perhaps Second Amendment articles / editorials are an initiation ritual for young green journalists?

The Bill of Rights is a complex topic that deserves a considered and professional treatment, not off-hand ill-considered sensationalism. I find it contradictory for a newspaper, a medium that lives and dies by a broad interpretation of the First Amendment, to be so eager to narrow the interpretation of the Second Amendment. How disappointing.


~ by Cram on November 20, 2007.

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