As most of you know there was an active shooter incident in Jacksonville, Florida on August 26th, 2018. It is still too soon to seriously discuss the motives, reasons… for the despicable act of scumbag #19. For the record, I never (directly) add to the infamy of the “shooter.” Infamy is often a major portion of their goal. They fantasize the acts of cowardice, depravity and terrorism to make their lives “real” or “meaningful.” It does not, despite the fawning adulation the mainstream media and others, provide them. If it were up to me, they, or their memory, would be treated with the same amount of respect General Pershing gave Muslim Filipino terrorists, at the opening of the 20th century. If you are unaware, look it up.
From several independent sources come reports that scumbag #19 purchased his weapons legally in the state of Maryland. I assume, if you are reading this blog, you already know Maryland is a not 2A-friendly state and has extremely restrictive gun purchasing and ownership laws. In 1966, the first mandatory wait law was passed. It required the citizen to fill out a permission slip to buy and have the state do a background check. This predated the GCA national background check by two years.
Assuming the check came back clean, a 7-day wait was required from the initiation of the process. In 2000, this was coupled with a mandated firearms safety class—at the customer’s expense—prior to taking possession of the handgun. In 2013, this was updated to require digital fingerprints, an additional (read as more lengthy) background check, and completion of a 4-hour state regimented gun safety course.
A new wrinkle mandated the course could only be taught be a state certified instructor. Maryland limited availability of instructor certifications, which acted as an additional bottleneck for purchasing. The gun safety course expires after 10 years. It must then be renewed, as well as the accompanying background check. Additionally, upon the completion of the purchase process, the buyer is barred from additional purchases for 31 days.
Up until two years ago, I lived in Florida. The rights of Floridians were hampered with a 3-day “cooling off” period (plus weekends / holidays if applicable) prior to the NICS background check being run. The check took from 5 to 60 minutes depending on sales volume in the state and the nation. If you had a current carry permit, the wait time was waived, but not the background check. I currently live in Tennessee. With or without a carry permit, when the background check comes back clean you leave with the gun, assuming the payment and paperwork are complete.
Tennessee has an imperfect, but well branched tree. Florida has a bit less vigorous growth in this regard. Maryland has a stunted twig that must routinely be checked for life.
I have not seen any information to indicate the onerous process imposed on Maryland residents decreases gun, or any other, crime compared to Florida or Tennessee. In fact, most independent studies link gun ownership by citizens and specifically the number of carry permits issued with a significant decrease in crime. Quite obviously, cool off or waiting periods lead to an obvious window of opportunity for domestic violence perpetrators to finish the job unscathed. They also act to dramatically decrease legal gun ownership in Maryland compared to Florida and Tennessee.
Legal gun ownership is a concern for the criminal class. By their own admission, it decreases the likelihood of targeting certain people and even certain areas of town because the additional risk of injury or death to the criminal.
The facts, scumbag #19 had a gun. Said scumbag was not a good fit for gun ownership, yet he passed the strict circumvention of The Second Amendment, known as Maryland gun laws. He used that gun to kill and injure people who were prohibited by corporate policy to have an effective means of self-defense with them.
From the Jacksonville Landing rules of conduct: https://www.jacksonvillelanding.com/rules-of-conduct/
“E. Violations of the law
Possession of a weapon, even if legally carried (except by law enforcement officers) is absolutely prohibited on Landing property.”
In Florida, this has zero power under the law, other than the Jacksonville Landing being able to ask the gun owner to leave the property. However, by putting it in the section of “Violations of the Law” they hope to intimidate customers into thinking carrying on the property is a violation of the law. In Tennessee, violating such a policy is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine.
Policies like this help to create an environment where only the criminals have guns. At some point, legislatures in Red states will pass laws shifting legal liability to the policy maker for removing the citizen’s right to self-defense. In the 2017 Tennessee legislative season, such a law was proposed. It specified strict liability for all non-governmental locations banning the carry of firearms on their premises. Anyone prohibited from carrying concealed or openly, would have direct standing to sue and the burden of proof would rest on the creator and implementer of the gun free policy. Of course, certain politicians gutted the bill and passed it with the reverse of the bill’s initial intent, thus reinforcing buffers against lawsuits.
When a citizen has the opportunity to self-defense with a firearm carried on their body, the response time is measured in seconds. When law enforcement must respond from a remote location, response time is, at best, measured in minutes. As we saw at the Pulse Night Club and Parkland, no Law Enforcement effort to engage the shooter was made for well over an hour. This delay in presenting a credible response only does one thing—increase the body count.
In the best of situations, the armed citizen engages and neutralizes the shooter within the first few seconds. Often, just the act of significant resistance causes the shooter to commit suicide. In less optimal circumstances, the shooter is engaged and must take cover or retreat. In any of the three situations the loss of innocent life is dramatically reduced.
The fact is, having freedom is a messy thing. Increasing liberty does not provide the ability or the illusion of stopping bad actions by evil people. It does grant the option for personal wards against those who abuse the concept of liberty. All freedoms come with costs. They also all come with responsibilities.
Our job as liberty-loving citizens is to always advocate and vote for more liberty while accepting the costs and responsibilities that accompany them. By actively shouldering these responsibilities, the costs can be minimized. When consequences to abusers are direct and immediate, the recidivism is greatly reduced.
Attempting to shift those costs and responsibilities to government and quasi-governmental actors limits liberties and only gilds us with the velvet-lined manacles of oppression. Remember, conservative estimates are that governmental agencies are at best 50% as efficient as private entities in any given task. This is in addition to the direct loss of rights by granting the government license. We see this manifests itself in the form of fewer gun rights, fewer property rights, and increasingly convoluted business regulations. Perhaps the most insidious proxy for this is an ever increasing tax burden to fund the nanny state “solutions” that increased liberty would cure, almost for free. Not to mention, all of which only gain us the illusion of safety and a stronger yoke.
Remember, our Founding Fathers fought a war of independence over the commandeering of gunpowder, the (perceived) onerous tax rates of Colonial America (less than 10%), a lack of representation and self-determination. Sound familiar? Share your answer in the comment section.
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