The following is Open Carry Advocate Tom Lambert’s response to Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell’s Pro-Gun Control statement to the City Council, in which Hizzoner said that Lambert’s appearance in the Chamber made him “anxious and frightened.” . . .
Mayor Heartwell, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to some comments I heard you made earlier today in relation to gun related violence and open carriers. I feel your excessive use of distortions, duplicitous fallacies and ad hominem underscores the lack of strength in what you are attempting to convey.
I have been working for quite some time now to educate, not only those in this chamber, but also the people of Michigan. Much of my focus has been on the lack of the ability of police to protect everyone. As you adequately pointed out, harm can come to someone even with a watchful officer standing ready in this room. Of course, once we expand on that notion we are led down the frightful path of understanding what would happen if a potential victim had to wait even mere seconds, or God forbid, minutes longer for said assistance. So if calling 911 is okay for people out in the city, why is it not okay for this room?
Though I doubt you will admit it, you have already acknowledged the crime-deterring effects of not just guns, but carrying them openly. It is after all why the GRPD carries their guns openly and why you have an officer openly carrying his firearm at this very meeting, is it not? As they say, actions speak louder than words and nothing detracts more from your notion of too many guns than this officer sitting back there at your behest and thanks with yet another openly-carried firearm.
Furthermore, in your statements, you pointed to a number of shootings that have occurred so far this year. However, what you failed to mention is that nearly all of them occurred in a “Gun Free Zone” much like what you wish to turn these chambers into. You also failed to mention all the lives, or some of those lives, were saved by lawfully-armed responders. No one watches a leopard chase down a gazelle and denies that the gazelle has the right to defend itself, but you would seemingly deny that same right to other human beings. You seem to think that the way to stop the leopard is to the cut the horns off the gazelle – that by somehow making it easier for the predator, the predator will somehow go away. This is folly. When you make it easier for the predator, you get more predators, as your “Gun Free Zones” have clearly demonstrated over the past few decades.
On the other hand, we have a very clear inverse trend of the number of gun owners in this country and the number of violent firearm-related incidents. You pointed to the number of firearms in the county that has gone up almost double in the last 20 years while the number of violent firearms-related incidents has gone down by almost two-thirds over the same time: Extreme uptick, extreme down.
I have said many times that the facts do not concern you, and once again you have proven me right. In referencing a recent road rage incident in Ionia, you attributed it to “lax and irresponsible gun laws.” The truth, if you had bothered to pay attention, is that one man defended his family from someone who wrongfully had a CPL because a prosecutor did not charge him properly and the gun board let the man slide. Would you have preferred the defender leave his family to defend themselves?
When I sat in front of you in your office I specifically mentioned proper prosecution using the laws we already have, yet you ignored me. I reached out to you with something I thought we both could agree on and it became abundantly clear that it was not public interest that you were putting first and foremost.
My message is and has been one of education and understanding. Your message is and has been a message of confusion, fear and bigotry. I want more people to know the laws and understand them, where you want others to be confused about our laws and afraid of people such as me without first attempting to understand us. You tell me who the bully is there and where the righteousness lies. Next time Sam Jones Darling (an LGBT advocate who frequents commission meetings) is here, why don’t you ask him how righteous his detractors claim to be.