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The story of Rick Perry dispatching a coyote that threatened him and his daughter’s lab pup with his trusty Ruger has become a part of Texas legend. The incident will almost surely come up again in his presidential campaign, where opponents will likely use it to portray him as a typical wacko gun-packin’ Texas cow poke, too violent and unilateralist for polite politics. Whatever. The fact is, as David Kopel details, we’ve had presidents carry guns while in office before, including both Roosevelts and even the highly independent Eleanor. And those are just the ones we know about. Tom Coburn doesn’t seem to trust himself to have a piece on the Senate floor, given the opinion he has of some of his fellow legislators. But the question at the heart of Kopel’s piece is, given DC’s ridiculously restrictive carry laws, would a hypothetical President Perry be able to carry, if he wants to?

President Perry could ask the D.C. police to deputize him, in order to take advantage of the D.C. law allowing the police to carry guns, but President Perry would have no practical need to ask the D.C. police to use their discretion to grant him the ability to do something he can do without their permission anyway.

And why not? Sure, whomever occupies the oval office has the benefit of those guys with the earpieces and the mirrored shades watching out for him. But as has been demonstrated too many times, they’re certainly not perfect. Not that anyone could expect them to be given the CINC’s need and desire to shake hands and kiss babies. With President Obama exploring the wilds of Martha’s Vineyard this week, what would he do if confronted by his own killer rabbit? Everyone, even “the most powerful man in the world,” is responsible for their own self defense. At least to some degree. So…should the POTUS pack heat?

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  1. Would not have helped Lincoln, since he was ambushed from behind. That being said, it would be a huge boost for 2nd amendment rights if POTUS was known to be packing.

  2. With a bunch of Tier 1 types providing for his security, I don’t think he should carry. In a event where he is being targeted, his responsibility is to follow the direction, or SOP’s, that his detail has for what ever scenario, not expose himself by counter-ambushing the ambusher…Further, he would not be trained at the level his protectors are, making him a risk to others if he decides to engage a threat, while his immediate protection (closest) is trying to remove him from the “kill zone” so to speak. While other agents, LEO’s, not in the immediate protection ring of the president, will be the ones tasked with neutralizing the threat. The only way I could see a sitting President carrying is with the set-in-stone understanding that a pistol would be a last ditch go-to, if his entire detail was incapacitated and he were alone, God forbid. The chances of this happening are infinitesimal, but I’m throwing it out there for context of the argument.

  3. Yes, if it’s Gov. Rick Perry (the next pres. of the US). The current pres. doesn’t like guns so he doesn’t need one, but he allows the SS to carry. I guess he only likes guns if they can save his sorry ass. I’m sure he wouldn’t like the SS to protect him using only mace or some silly billy clubs.

    • I think anti-gun politicians should be forced to put their (metaphorical) money where their mouth is and only have LEO / SS protection that is NOT armed with guns. They think it’s just fine for civilians to be left to die, but they want to make sure that they’re OK.

      We could pass a “Equal Protection” amendment that states that if a politician does not vote in favor of the 2nd amendment and citizens rights to defend themselves, then they should not be granted the privilege of armed protection either.

  4. I could see Pres. Bush carrying a pistol with rat-shot while clearing brush in Crawford. That’s about the only situation possible. As Nemesis said, the primary responsibility in a SHTF moment is to duck and get the hell out.

    Joe M. – remember that liberals don’t hate guns, they just think that all guns should belong to the govt. That way they can enforce all the laws that the libs think are necessary. So an unarmed Pres. Obama surrounded by an armed SS is perfectly okay. As long as said SS put the guns in a govt. locker before they go home to be private citizens when their shift is up.

  5. Yes, definitely. I think it would help with bipartisan negotiations, not to mention making C-SPAN worth watching… “I’m sorry, Senator, I must be hearing things (stroking barrel) – did you just say you didn’t agree with my Balanced Budget Amendment proposal?” “Mmmm- kay, I didn’t think so…”

    Not to mention meetings with foreign heads-of-state, foreign trade negotiations, etc… “Ah, very well, King Abdullah, I’m glad you agree that gas should be $1.00/gallon – it’s always a pleasure doing business with you…”

    ‘Fraid Perry’s .380 might not be up to the job, though.

  6. While it would have negligible practical application in the everyday duty as a president, I think it would be great symbolically if he did carry.

  7. POTUS has to be the number one terrorist target in the world. Hence he’s got more layers of security than Shrek’s onion. But . . .

    If I were Prez, I’d carry. It would be my last line of defense. And yes, symbolically, it doesn’t get much better than that.

    • I agree. Last line of defense (it’s use extremely unlikely), and more importantly, for the symbolism. Part of the War on Gun Grabbers involves mainstreaming firearms. POTUS carrying every day without the babies he’s kissing getting shot might help in that regard.

  8. EVERYBODY old enough to drive and not having a criminal record should carry period. If everybody demanded there rights it would be very dificult to take them away. BTW that holster in the picture is a cool idea but you’ld have to be extremely careful doing a set of jumping jacks, or its “Off with his /her head!”

    • I don’t know about this. It’s a bit like saying EVERYBODY should vote. Now I do think everybody should have the RIGHT to vote, but maybe those people that don’t have a clue about the issues or what’s going on in the world should just take the day off instead. Same goes for carrying. Everyone should have the right to, but perhaps not everyone should.

      • But that Choice should come from the person themselves. I believe that the education system should include and cover the Constitution and from that knowledge then make the decision. But, the discussion seems to be taboo. Have you seen some the latest history books they seem to barely mention the Constitution.

        • Yes, agreed. There are people who can lawfully carry, but who would be a liability because they’re really uncomfortable about it (or not up to the responsibility of ownership). I can see a lot of accidents coming from that.

          The public education system is failing us spectacularly. American “world history” books read something like, “Hitler! Hitler! Holocaust! United Nations! Israel!” Public schools teach kids math all the way through trigonometry, but never bother to teach them how to navigate the all-important realm of personal finance. And they teach children nothing about firearms except that they’re scary.

          Notice that all of these areas of study are areas where we have serious problems in the U.S. The average American knows less than nothing about the nature of international affairs, handles money incompetently, and isn’t even aware of the “big four” rules of firearms.

          The only “education” most children get about guns is action movies, where the rules are fully ignored from start to finish. They walk around with their finger on the trigger, fire wantonly with civilians behind their targets, double-fist pistols and SMGs, and…shit, you name it. Then little Johnny accidentally shoots his little brother in the forehead and everyone wonders why.

      • I’m the opposite. I’ve seen enough of our fellow countrymen to say that not everyone should be allowed to vote, but those who are should vote.

        The problem is if you try to enforce any method of making sure only intelligent people capable of understanding the issues at hand are allowed to vote, the Dems will cry like a two-year old (even though plenty of Republicans would be barred from voting in that case too).

        • “I’m the opposite. I’ve seen enough of our fellow countrymen to say that not everyone should be allowed to vote, but those who are should vote.”

          couldn’t of said it better myself, one’s level of education is a reality that crosses the political divide (more like class).

        • All American citizens have the right to vote—except people convicted of certain crimes. Which is wrong. Just as it is wrong not to trust the common sense of the American people—if only because the alternative is unthinkable. Unless you’re familiar with history. And even if you are. Remember: gun control advocates are elitists. Those who support the 2a should never fall into the same trap.

        • excellent point RF, my only point of contention is the criminal F**** that take our god given rights only to abuse the crap out of them, (the video of the Ausssie cops from yesterday comes to mind, people that straw buy, for example). i do not advocate limiting the right for access to firearms or voting, for anyone, i simply feel that there are enough examples of the misuse of the freedoms granted to us by our constitution that are routinely abused by BG’s not to be cautious and analytical in this realm. My opinions might be influenced by my location in an urban country as illegal firearms use unfortunately are a REGULAR occurrence in my area. I just finished reading about at toddler that got hit by a stray bullet playing outside his house a couple of towns over yesterday, which leads me to question sanity of my fellow Americans regularly, which quite frankly sucks.

        • Pointing out that a particular person (multiplied to form a group) is an utter moron and incapable of making informed decisions is not “being elitist”. That is realizing the limitations of some people. Would you say it’s “elitist” to only want people who can pass medical school to be allowed to be doctors? What about when sports teams don’t hire people who are incapable of playing the sport?

          Now, if someone wants to make uninformed decisions and screw up their own life and no one else is affected – go for it, it’s their right. However, when it comes to voting it’s not just their life that they’re screwing up, it’s the lives of millions of others as well.

          You have the freedom to destroy yourself – but you do not have the freedom to harm others.

  9. If I were president, I would absolutely carry a sidearm as a last resort if all my security fails. Let the D.C. police try to enforce their unlawful handgun rules on me.

  10. The President is the Commander in Chief of the Army and the Militia of the United States. Article II, Sect. 1, Cl. 1. He has the inherent power to arm himself as he sees fit. Washington did so in the Whiskey Rebellion.

    Congress may have the power to specify what arms he should or must carry as Head of the Militia under Article I, Sect. 8, Cl. 16, but no one has the the power to tell him that he may not be armed.

  11. FYI – It was David Kopel at the Volokh Conspiracy, not Prof. Volokh, who wrote the post about President Perry carrying a gun.

  12. My wife and I were watching Salt the other night (terrible movie BTW) and I remarked that if I were the Kingpin, I would want to be strapped. I don’t like sitting in the passnger seat. I want the prez to carry, I jsut don’t want the Prez to be Rick Perry.

  13. President Theodore Roosevelt was known to carry pistols. He would often wear his M1895 .38 Colt revolver while at the Whitehouse and carry an M.1900 FN .32 ACP in his pocket when traveling. The M.1900 FN was also known to sit on his nightstand by his bed in the Whitehouse. Oddly enough, Roosevelt was not carrying a pistol when he was shot before a speech during his reelection campaign.

    But whether or not the President NEEDED to carry a gun becuse of the Secret Service, the statement made by the President carrying concealed (with a permit, even if it has no reciprocity in DC) would be invaluable for the CCW community. It might even be the first step in creating a nation wide, 50 state, full reciprocity CCW permit.

    Personally, if Rick Perry ran, I’d have to vote for him. And if he carried while Prez, I’d support that. My only wish is that: if he got elected and if he carried, that he would carry either a Ruger or an S&W – something made proudly in the good ol’ USA.

  14. Most any President would probably be more of a liability than an asset packing heat. Any President has a team of professionals ready to take a bullet for him/her, so an armed President is completely unecessary and could in fact be a problem. I can’t think of any President since Kennedy that I’d feel comfortable shooting with. Even that one is iffy, he could barely walk and was drugged up a lot of the time.


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