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Who owns the phrase “common sense” when applied to firearms-related legislation, or lack thereof? The gun control movement uses the term to convince firearms-ignorant folks to mindlessly support anti-gun legislation that looks and feels right, regardless of the facts. Gun rights advocates use the term to tweak gun control advocates, and repel the antis’ emotional “arguments” with selfishly practical philosophy. John Lott’s mantra “more gun less crime” is a perfect example of this anti-anti-gun common sense. So when Wisconsin talk show host Jeff Wagner deployed the CS gas, it was hard to tell which way he was gonna go. For a while . . .

Unfortunately, a small – but vocal – segment of the gun lobby is trying to get the Legislature to go beyond traditional concealed carry legislation.  The so called “constitutional carry”movement claims that the government has no business regulating the possession of handguns and that people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons without any permits, any training or any government oversight.  Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont and Arizona are the only States that allow possession of concealed weapons without permits.

First, “constitutional carry” is a misnomer.  The 2nd Amendment is not absolute.  That’s why felons and the mentally ill can’t legally own firearms.  It’s also why, as a general rule, private citizens can’t own machine guns or bazookas or silencers. There simply is no “constitutional right” to carry a concealed firearm under any and all circumstances.

Second, it strikes me as being absurd to legally allow someone to carry a concealed weapon without some basic assurance that they know how to use it.  After all, you wouldn’t take someone who has never driven a car and send them out on the Interstate at rush hour! Why would let someone legally stick a Saturday Night Special in their pocket without some basic assurance that they know one end from the other?

Wow. Talk about torn between two lovers, speaking like a fool. Alternatively, now I know why Ted Nugent fans are OK with him telling his critics to suck on his machine gun. I mean, if we’re going to drive down the road of hyperbole, let’s pedal-to-the-metal guys. Using a gun (especially a revolver) is eight thousand billion times easier than operating a car. And a LOT safer.

AND studies have shown that driver training does sweet FA to decrease accident statistics. I’m sure similar studies with firearms training would yield similar non-results. Hey! Why doesn’t someone actually measure the difference? Or should we just rely on common sense and force millions of people to jump over a useless—at least in the practical sense—hurdle?

Anyway, it seems that gun control advocates don’t have a lock on arrogant elitism.

A lot of the same folks who are pushing “Constitutional carry” are also pushing the “open carry” concept.  These are the people who, seizing on some language in a recent State Supreme Court opinion, have taken to wearing sidearms in public as an expression of their “rights”.

It seems to me that if you have to wear a pistol while you’re cutting your lawn, you need to move to a better neighborhood.  If you need to carry a gun into a coffee shop to get the attention of the waitress, you should tip better.

And if “open carry” adherents think pulling stunts like this helps win the general public to their cause, they’re dead wrong.

Walking around the streets with a gun on your hip is to the pro-gun movement what those folks who hang out on street corners and waive photos of aborted fetuses at passing cars are to the pro-life movement.

Unfortunately, the more mainstream elements of the pro-gun lobby have done little to rein in those pushing these more extreme ideas.  This isn’t surprising because most special interest groups get a ton of support from their more zealous and ideologically pure members.  Still, if we want to get meaningful firearms legislation passed anytime soon, it’s time for the grown-ups to come to the table.

And it’s time for OFWG media mavens to piss off. Present company excluded, of course.

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  1. I love the ‘move to a better neighborhood’ statements. Seems all the folks that have a grasp on what we should or shouldn’t do have no grasp on reality. Look at the economy. How many good neighborhoods are now bad neighborhoods? And who at this time has the money to just up and leave because ‘the town’ went bad? Another mortgage is far harder to attain then a decent sidearm let me tell you. For most folks it is the only option.

    The ‘move’ argument for neighborhoods does serve a purpose though. It reveals that the people that state that others should move, say so because they probably can themselves, and assume everyone else should too. Money and elitism and all that…

    • Jeff Wagner is a very (from my perspective) conservative radio personality. I believe that he comes at this issue from the perspective of his previous job as a federal prosector–on the whole, they seem to be a bit more concerned about increasing the number of guns on the streets compared to the average reader of TTAG.

      Now, about his “move” comment. I do not think he lacks a grasp of the economic realities facing the US; instead, it seems that he is questioning those who openly carry. The majority of WTMJ listeners live in the affluent suburbs that surround Milwaukee. Those who listen to Jeff have no nicer neighborhoods to move into. It also seems that those who push open carry here in Wisconsin live in very safe communities, not central city Milwaukee (where I lived happily for years), which is seen by most Wisconsinites as a place of imminent death for whites who might accidentally get off the wrong exit ramp.

  2. There’s little we do or say to change the thinking and attitude of others. For the most part, I think it’s best we all just go about doing what we think needs doing.
    Whatever influence we have follows in the slipstream of what we do, and less, what we say.

  3. Jeff Wagner used to be a pretty conservative guy. Now I guess hes just trying to be like everyone else in the media. Thank god I dont have to listen to him in Green Bay.

    • Allegiance to a specific political party or ideology really has nothing to do with it. In fact I would go as far as to say that he IS being conservative in his views based on the literal definition of the word and the context of his argument. I know many so-called “conservatives” who would agree with his statements. Conversely, I also know many “liberals” who would scoff at them.

  4. I don’t know anything about this guy, but I couldn’t find much to disagree with… except for the abortion reference. He shouldn’t have gone there.

    “Constitutional Carry” is indeed a short-sighted and juvenile approach to gun rights. I don’t want open carry on my street for the same reason many of you are terrified to go to the range: too many idiots. Why do I want that danger brought into my neighborhood?

    I don’t want firearms “normalized.” I like the status quo — looking down my street and seeing no guns. If I do see a gun, I’ll have to assume that the bearer is either a criminal or one of you lovable knuckleheads. I don’t want to see either one. You are both a menace to civilization.

    • By every measure of every sort of every category, from practical standards to deontological considerations, everything you keep propagating is, quite simply, utter bullshit. With respect, pull your head out of your ass.

    • You must live in the one town in America in which cops are REQUIRED to response to criminal acts and there is no drugs or gangs violence. The menace I see is your lap dag assumption that your master (The Government) has your best interest in mind in all the decision it makes. The cold hard facts are that do to budget problems in the US, some cities have fired the local police and turn policing duties over to the county sheriff. This means that when they do show to the crime in your area it will be to fill out the paperwork, collect the body and hope that they still have a job in the morning and the 10 year old, 500,000 mile patrol car will make it one more day. It is a fact that criminals almost always carry concealed, if to use your example you see some one with a gun it is either a criminal committing a crime, in which case I ask you, what are you doing to stop/prevent the crime or one of us “lovable knuckleheads” who by the very display of the weapon must likely made the criminal move on to the next block where the citizens are not armed to prevent crime.

  5. RF says: “Using a gun (especially a revolver) is eight thousand billion times easier than operating a car. And a LOT safer.”

    Nope, using a gun properly requires far more judgement, maturity, and skill than driving a car, as my own father taught me so many years ago. I haven’t seen a thing since that would induce me to change my mind.

    Or maybe you are only referring to pointing it and pulling the trigger, which any idiot can do.

    Firearms are not “safer” than automobiles by any objective measure. That’s absurd.

    • I learned to shoot, disassemble, reassemble, clean, store, and carry (including the best moves of the hand to pull it out of your holster as quickly and safely as possible) my first handgun in one day. The kid of a family friend, aged 9, did the same – I was the one teaching him. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’d do a better job of policing Philadelphia, for instance, than the dipshits in blue over there do themselves.

      The only judgment necessary is the rudimentary distaste for hurting other people.

      Get over yourself.

      • I don’t want to be around people handling guns who think they can learn how in one day. It’s your constitutional right to carry a firearm. Now please go carry it someplace far away from me.

        After ignorance, by far the leading cause of accidental death and injury by firearm is arrogance/complacency. You learned how to handle a gun in a day. Imagine that.

        • I think you’re confounding terms and concepts. You can learn how to properly handle a gun in an hour–how to hold it in your hand, how to stand while shooting it, where to point when you’re done shooting, et al. There’s always room for improvement in efficiency and consistency, but that’s a universal truism. Nice try.

        • No, you can’t learn how to handle a gun safely in one day. One critical requirement is discipline, which cannot be learned, practiced, or attained in a day. By definition.

          Come on, you know this. It’s straight out of any decent text or course on firearms safety. Why are you arguing things you know to be untrue? What’s the point of that? Who you trying to BS here, me or you?

        • You’re not getting what I’m saying. At all. You can learn how to handle a gun, and pretty safely too, in one day. Period. Experience makes you better at it, reduces the likelihood of accidents or mishandling, and imparts an instinctive feel for how the gun works and how best to use it, but extensive experience is unnecessary to be familiar with a gun’s operational details – you’ll be drawing from knowledge rather than instinct for a while, but unless you’re a careless moron, you’ll be fine.

          That’s from my experience with guns, and the experiences of pretty much everybody I know. The fact that discipline, gained over time, makes you better at something does not mean it’s needed – it’s highly advisable, but it isn’t needed.

          Here’s some definitions of ‘handle’ for you:

          –verb (used with object)
          to touch, pick up, carry, or feel with the hand or hands; use the hands on; take hold of.
          to manage, deal with, or be responsible for: My wife handles the household accounts. This computer handles all our billing.
          to use or employ, especially in a particular manner; manipulate: to handle color expertly in painting.
          to manage, direct, train, or control: to handle troops.
          to deal with (a subject, theme, argument, etc.): The poem handled the problem of instinct versus intellect.
          to deal with or treat in a particular way: to handle a person with tact.

        • Firearms accidents are rare enough that they should not be a centerpiece of any legislation, what with the Second Amendment and all.

        • “Magoo says:

          May 23, 2011 at 8:02 AM

          No, you can’t learn how to handle a gun safely in one day. One critical requirement is discipline, which cannot be learned, practiced, or attained in a day. By definition.

          Come on, you know this. It’s straight out of any decent text or course on firearms safety. Why are you arguing things you know to be untrue? What’s the point of that? Who you trying to BS here, me or you?”

          Hey! Sounds like Magoo is saying that the only way to safely and efficiently handle a firearm is if you have A LOT of experience with it. Okay, I will carry it at all times. Oh! Wait. You don’t agree with that do you, Magoo? But yet you state you want everyone around you to be a ninja with their gun because you don’t feel safe (afraid). Well, I agree with you Magoo. Much like driving a car, the fundamentals can be learned in one day, but to be really good with a firearm it has to be in constant use with the right attitude and use of respect for the weapon.

          Thanks for approving of my right to carry and have my firearm on me at all times. I am happy you finally came around, Magoo.

  6. Jeff Cooper’s four rules of gun safety:

    1. All firearms are always loaded.

    2. Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy.

    3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless your sights are on the target.

    4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

    Really, how long would it take to learn gun safety–about twenty minutes?

    • It took me and a friend (we were both being taught by his brother) a day to learn those rules and how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble our handguns. That’s it. He just doesn’t get it.

  7. Every day here at TTAG you can find people breaking Cooper’s four rules, or the NRA’s three rules for that matter. Proudly and defiantly breaking them, actually. How long have these people been using firearms? More than a day, we can presume.

    This is why I say you guys can’t hear yourselves. You say you are qualified and responsible gun owners, while constantly demonstrating that you are not.

    Don’t a) try to tell me that you can learn how to use a firearm safely in ONE DAY while b) telling me you know anything about firearms. That’s a flat-out non sequitor, a non-starter for me. You need to go peddle that BS somewhere else.

    And don’t try to tell me that a) you understand the danger of firearms while b) insisting that guns are safer than automobiles. All you are saying is you don’t understand, recognize, or appreciate the danger of firearms.

    • Didn’t, like, every pro-gun post/article/book/statistical database ever written expressly discredit this bullshit? Yeah, pretty sure it did. Back to being a non-redneck rube redneck!

    • Who the fuck are you talking about? Who is demonstrating that they are not “are qualified and responsible gun owners”? Who is “[p]roudly and defiantly breaking” the rules of gun safety?

  8. The 2nd Amendment is not absolute

    that’s not how it reads……
    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

    uh…seems pretty DAMN “absolute” to me….in fact, you’d be struggling to get any bit of “legislation” or “proclamation” or “constitutional article” any more absolute!

    That’s why felons and the mentally ill can’t legally own firearms

    who sez they can’t?

    not the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, that’s for damn sure!

    and….how is a “felon” or a “mental illness” defined and wtf defines it?

    It’s also why, as a general rule, private citizens can’t own machine guns or bazookas or silencers

    again…wtf sez they can’t own “machine guns or bazookas or silencers”?
    NOT the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States….the intent of the framers of which was, quite clearly, that the government should NEVER have “a monopoly of force” on the ordinary citizen….when that happens….well….you only have to have a quick look @ the dismal record of the twentieth century to see the horrendous results….USSR (60+ million state-sanctioned murders), Communist China (100+ million state-sanctioned murders), Pol Pot (5-10 million state-sanctioned murders), North Korea (unknown millions of state-sanctioned murders), Cuba (hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of state-sanctioned murders)…..&c…..&c…..&c

    There simply is no “constitutional right” to carry a concealed firearm under any and all circumstances

    as abv….sez who?

    • Actually, the primary purpose of the Second Amendment is not about preventing a monopoly of force in the hands of the government. That is a practical outcome of the Amendment. The Second Amendment is about provisioning the nation with an Army in time of war or other emergency that requires the use of the Armed Forces.

      The Militia is not the National Guard. The Guard is the replacement for volunteers raised by the States for Federal Service prior to WWI. The Guard has become a permanent force of US Volunteers. The Militia is body of armed citizens who may be called to Federal Service in time of war. It is the constitutional basis for the military draft. If you wish to take a strict constructionist view of the Second Amendment it would not result in the outcome favored by the gun control movement. It would legalize the possession without restriction of full automatic infantry small arms. One could argue that in today’s terms the only firearms that merit constitutional protection are the M-16/M-4, the Remington SPS 700/7.62 tactical, Barrett 50 cal sniper rifle and the Beretta M-9. These are standard infantry weapons used by the US military and the armed body of people should be familiar with their operation prior to their entry into active military service.

  9. Used to be a time when people openly carrying weapons were presumed to be of upstanding character with honorable intentions. Sadly the fearful among us convinced those who make the rules we live by believe that hiding our weapons like scoundrels and assassins, or worse going unarmed completely would make us safer. To this day they continue their fearful bleating even though their fears are proven unfounded every time the lawmakers don’t listen to them.

    • DesertRat
      I think you have that backwards; it was the rule makers that convinced the fearful that open/concealed carry were a bad thing and that if only the government as the weapons will you feel safe. They pandered for their vote and are, to the day, using to their fear to enslave them.

  10. Cars are much more dangerous than guns, and a hell of a lot more people break auto laws everyday that cause more deaths than guns.

  11. Desert Rat said:

    Used to be a time when people openly carrying weapons were presumed to be of upstanding character with honorable intentions.

    And when, exactly, was this time?

    To my knowledge, there has never been a time in US history when it was “normal” for ordinary citizens (i.e. people who are not soldiers, lawmen or outlaws) to carry handguns openly. The stereotype of every man packing a colt on his hip comes from 1950’s cowboy movies, it is not an accurate depiction of life in the 19th century. With very few exceptions, handguns were rare in the American West and were most often used by cops and criminals. Long guns were plentiful, of course, for a variety of reasons (providing for the family and protecting against bandits/indians/wild animals) but not handguns.

    In a nutshell this is my objection to the OC movement: They want to “restore” American culture to an imaginary fantasy world that only lives in John Wayne movies and Robert Heinelein novels.

  12. I believe in the constitution. I believe in my right to carry a firearm. To many a firearm is a scary thing because it is automatically assumed the person carrying it is out to kill someone. It is to the average person what a strong military is to a nation. It is a display of ability to defend yourself. It has the same affect today as it did when the constitution was written in 1787. It mostly causes people to become civil and respectful to each other. Some ideas are timeless.
    Should everyone carry a gun? I would have to say probably not. Should the government be the one who decides? I would say absolutely not! That is the job of the individual to talk with friends and family and decide for themselves. If we were actually a responsible people you would consider it an individual responsibility.
    If everyone is allowed to carry guns at their choosing will there be more gun violence? Probably for a short period, then I would imagine the number of violent crimes would slowly decrees to a much lower number than we currently see.
    Would the balance of power return between the overseeing all powerful government/gangs and the citizen? Maybe, I sure would hope so, because at the rate we are going citizen slavery is way to close to becoming a reality for my comfort level.
    The age when the government used to work for the people has come and gone and may never come again if something doesn’t correct the balance of power. Do I advocate violence? Absolutely not! Do I advocate taking responsibility for your personal protection and being capable of doing something to end an assault on your person should the occasion occur? YES


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