Back in November, Club Class passenger and New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey [above right] wrote a piece about guns-on-planes called Knuckleheads and Worse, Bringing Guns in Carry-ons. Needless to say, TTAG took him to task for participating in the Gray Lady’s anti-gun jihad. After I emailed the scribe the link to my post Gun Owners Am Stupid, we spoke on the ‘phone about the issue. A month later—a blink of an eye in New York Times time—Sharkey’s backpedalled and penned a semi-mea culpa: Owners Argue Merits of Firearms on Airplanes. “The subject of guns is complex and emotional,” Sharkey writes. Translation: maybe I shouldn’t have characterized gun owners as stupid, idiots and stupid idiots. But wait! There’s more! Or less. More or less . . .
“Look at how many guns already get through,” said Kurt Amesbury, a director of a gun owners group called Keep and Bear Arms. Mr. Amesbury was one of the activists who objected to my column about more guns turning up at airport checkpoints. (Guns can be legally transported in checked bags after a passenger declares them.)
Mr. Amesbury and some other gun rights supporters I spoke with say they believe that airline security can be enhanced if more passengers were armed. I don’t agree, but their positions deserve to be understood.
In essence, they say that gun owners with appropriate licenses should be able to carry weapons after making themselves known to security officials and the captain. Federal air marshals on board would also know which passengers are armed. “I present my permit and say that I’m carrying,” Mr. Amesbury said. “Why wouldn’t that work?”
Of course, there are other implications, including dangerous felons circumventing permit procedures and legally carrying weapons.
And he was doing so well! Even when they get it, the anti-gun guys don’t get it—despite our Bruce Krafft’s detailed and data-driven destruction of their deeply flawed logic. Assuming a “dangerous felon” is also a convicted felon (right?), they can’t legally buy, possess or carry a firearm. If they circumvent the law, it’s still illegal.
Truth be told, gun laws don’t do anything to stop lawless people. Ipso friggin’ facto. As we’ve learned time and time again (or not) a “gun free zone” is a killing field for madmen whose lack of respect for the law is only matched by their lack of concern for the sanctity of human life.
Disarming Americans in the name of protecting them against black swan terrorist attacks does little more than create a false sense of safety (a.k.a, security theater). Worse, the TSA and their ilk perpetuate the culture of dependency that undermines this nation’s greatest strength: a collective belief in individual responsibility.
Legal concealed carry on planes would create a balance of power between legally armed passengers and terrorists, with all they “Hey we didn’t have nuclear war after all!” deterrence that implies. Or, more to the point, it would have created a “Put down that box cutter or I will kill you before you kill 2,752 people” scenario.
It’s worth thinking about. I mean really thinking about; not lip service. Which is Sharkey’s m.o. here, witnessed by the fact that he goes for the common sense, common ground close.
Still, I’m happy to say that even as I was being denounced on gun rights Web sites as participating in a “jihad” against the Second Amendment [NB: TTAG], at least some agreement was achieved on the subject of “knuckleheads,” which is how I referred to those who claim they simply forgot they had a gun in their bags. Some supporters of gun rights who objected generally to the column did agree that a right to carry arms probably also includes a responsibility to remember where your gun is.
Asked about this at the gun show, Mr. Schechter handed me a Citizens Defense League refrigerator magnet and pointed to rule No. 5, which stated: “Always maintain control of your defensive tools.”
Probably? Let it go, Joe. Show a little respect to Americans who carry guns lawfully, protecting your ass, even if they screw up at the airport. You knucklehead.