The death of Trayvon Martin has started a renewed conversation about gun laws in America. At the heart of the debate is the controversial self-defense law in Florida called Stand Your Ground, and others like it either already in use, or pending in other states. Florida Senator Chris Smith, who initially opposed the law when it was first proposed, is now leading the official review of Stand Your Ground. In the time it will take for the law to be either abolished or revised, the prospect of new gun legislation and self-defense laws favored by groups like the National Riffle Association, could make guns even more prevalent in our society.
When I visit a bar, the most pressing concern on my mind is usually whether I’m going to order a Newcastle or Guinness draught. I may pick my pub based on what athletic contest or franchise they cater to with respect to what’s going to be aired on their tube. Maybe even the waitresses have something to do with my decision. After all, what guy doesn’t like the company of beautiful women when he drinks. But the last thing I want to have to factor in my decision on which waterhole to settle on, is the possibility of some half-assed cowboy accidentally shooting himself in my presence because he couldn’t hold his liquor. God forbid he accidentally shoots someone else. So when there’s talk of legislation that could make carrying a concealed weapon in places like bars, churches, and colleges (any one remember the Virginia Tech shootings?), I have to wonder how this can be good for our country.
That being said, I get the second amendment to the Constitution. We have the right to “bear arms.” I get self defense laws. If you’re in danger of bodily harm or death, you have the right to defend yourself. (And I’m not yet convinced that someone pursuing someone else can reasonably be assumed to be in danger of bodily harm and/or death). But where we bear arms can have a significant impact on the safety of our citizens. Outside of security officers at colleges and churches, I cannot really think of a logical reason why students or parishioners would need to carry a firearm.
And while bars can attract the occasional low-life, creepy perp, justifying the need to be on guard; most of the time they are filled with happy drunks, peanut chomping sports fanatics, and ever-optimistic Dicks and Janes looking to get lucky. If we don’t want intoxicated people operating motor vehicles, I think it’s safe to assume the same could be said for automatic weapons. What do you think?