Last year, I was looking to open a state-of-the-art gun range. The cops were on board. And why not? The Providence po-po need a world-class training facility (i.e., one that doesn’t close in winter) to hone their firearms skills with simunitions, a 360-degree live fire shoot house, separate cleaning and storage areas, classrooms, the works. And then Sandy Hook. The gun range project died on the spot. The post-Newtown push for civilian disarmament claimed another victim. Throughout the country, the Sandy Hook slaughter’s blowback is making us less safe, both as a society and individually. Check this tale from a commentator john B in Warwick, RI . . .
Well, nothing has changed in Warwick, Rhode Island. Last night I went before the Committee on Public Safety to be interviewed about my application for a concealed carry permit. Within a couple of minutes it was eminently clear that the committee had NO intention of approving my request. I was told to “avoid dangerous situations” “modify my behavior” and “call the police” if threatened. I was also all but accused of trumping up the letter of need I had written to support my request. I was then given the opportunity to withdraw my application but, perhaps foolishly, wanted the Committee on record as having denied the request in the event I decide to seek legal redress.
I am a physician, an honorably discharged Air Force officer well versed in firearms and do not have so much as a traffic ticket on my record. If I can’t be trusted with a firearm in the City of Warwick (a “shall” issue city BTW) I wonder who DOES qualify.
No one. My sources tell me that Warwick is turning down all applications for concealed carry permits. (You might say “save for those people with enough political juice to get it done” but I couldn’t possibly comment.)
The Providence police recently denied a concealed carry permit application from a top-notch criminal lawyer of my acquaintance, an active member of the National Guard who’s played in the sandbox for Uncle Sam on several occasions. He has the need, the experience and—never mind all that—the right to keep and bear arms.
Before Newtown, Warwick and Providence issued CC permits. You had to jump over hurdles: a criminal background check, a letter describing your reason(s) to carry a concealed firearm, three references (all interviewed), a personal interview, a shooting test, exorbitant fees ($250 in Providence) and an extra-legal wait (more than 90 days). But issue they did.
After Newtown, at least two cities have denied two law-abiding Americans their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms; enshrined in both the United States AND Rhode Island constitutions.
Obviously, it’s worse than that.
Thanks to the post-Newtown backlash, over 100 new pieces of gun control legislation are wending their way through local, state and federal governments. None of them—“assault rifle” bans, magazine capacity limits, universal background checks, etc.—will make us safer as individuals. None of them will make us a safer society. All of them put all of us in harm’s way.
Two days ago, my FFL guy and I journeyed to Essex Rhode Island [top and above] to watch the town council defy some 200 gun owners.
Under the watchful eyes of seven law enforcement officers, by a margin of five to one, the council voted to kick the permitting process to the “may issue” bureaucrats at the Attorney General’s office. This despite a RI Supreme Court ruling mandating that RI cities and towns must process applications in accordance with the State’s “shall issue” provisions.
The Essex council claimed they didn’t have the expertise to investigate applicants’ suitability for the “privilege” of carrying a loaded weapon in public. Huh? Three minutes with the FBI’s instant background check system and you’re good to stow—at least in places where politicians respect citizens’ natural or human rights.
Here’s the thing: the diminutive town clerk said that no one—no one—had ever applied for a concealed carry permit in Essex. My experience gives credence to the claim. When I applied for my Providence permit I was one of five people who did so that year; two of whom were turned down.
As Joni Mitchell sang, sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. If 100 of those two hundred Essex protestors had applied for concealed carry permits before Newtown, if the town had been in the habit of issuing permits, local residents’ gun rights wouldn’t have gone bye-bye.
Now that the backlash has begun, now that The People of the Gun have woken from their political stupor, it’s time to take a stand. To protect and preserve what rights we can and then fight to reclaim lost ground.
Both men above—all free men—must man-up. We must appeal, resist, protest and fight the government’s unconstitutional rules and regulations that deny us our human or natural right to armed self-defense.
Meanwhile, the NRA and other gun rights organizations should encourage people—especially inner city minorities—to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. Their apps should flood the Powers That Be with concealed carry permit applications. They should appeal every single denial.
These are dark days for constitutional rights. For our own safety, for the safety of the American way of life, we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to those who would sacrifice our founding principles for their dystopian vision. If we ever could.