The good guy with a gun is gone

by | Mar 11, 2022 | Politics/Government, Pop/Life

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“The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” is the mantra I have been listening to for years from guns rights advocates. It’s a silly little quip that looks good on a bumper sticker or a t-shirt, but really has no logical place in an adult discussion about community, policing or human behavior. My standard response to it over the years has been, “a good guy with a gun is only good until he’s not.”

With the passage of House Bill 1296 by the Indiana General Assembly this week, which creates a “permitless” or “constitutional” carry framework for handguns in the state, Hoosiers have basically declared all guys “good.” It’s sort of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for anyone in the state who would otherwise be allowed to carry a gun if licensing still existed. What I mean by that is that this bill slightly refines what state law will be in determining who can legally carry a gun, but eliminates the state’s determination that any of those details are actually true. Why shouldn’t we just assume that every eighteen-year-old is entirely compliant with the 34-page bill that defines his or her compliance?

I don’t remember my eighteenth birthday, but I remember being eighteen. I had some qualities then, and there were definitely moments when I was undeniably good. But in the length of time it took me to reminisce while writing this paragraph, several regretful lapses in judgement have peppered that idyllic memory lane. The long hair and earring I wore in the small town I lived in then gave the adults working at the grocery store reason to ask what my deal was when I was buying a six-pack of Coke. I can only imagine the conversations if I had been trying to buy a SIG Sauer P365, winner of the 2019 NRA Handgun of the Year award.

Getting to the point, there is no logic behind the argument that more guns with less regulation or information on those possessing them will make our community safer. Community is the important word there. Guns rights folks can yell and scream all they want about how their own personal safety is enhanced when they are armed. But this is a public policy debate, not a personal choice one. The personal choice to become armed was already available. The Indiana General Assembly had already made licensing free-of-charge a year ago, which quite possibly is more ludicrous than House Bill 1296 because of the obvious cost that the mere presence of guns cause.

The author of the original language to establish the permitless carry policy is Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn). The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported that he surveyed his constituents before the legislative session on the issue, asking them: “Do you believe Hoosiers who are legally permitted to possess a handgun should be able to carry a handgun in public without first applying for and obtaining a state issued license?” 64% of them responded with “no,” while only 31% said “yes.” Similar responses were gathered from the surveys of other legislators who supported the measure. In a time of super majorities in the Indiana Statehouse, it appears the minority is in charge on this one.

Let’s not forget the police. Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter spoke to a Senate Committee in February, stating: “It’s often so easy to talk about your support for public safety. But if you choose to support this bill, you will not be supporting us.” Carter is a Republican and a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Lafayette Police Chief Pat Flannelly commented about the bill this week, adding, “This isn’t going to end well, I’m afraid,” as reported by Dave Bangert of Based In Lafayette. Law enforcement officials across the country commonly take this position on the matter.

Sadly, like constituents and communities, legislators can also easily ignore law enforcement experts when it suits them. It begs the question: “why does it suit them?”

There is no measurable way to conclude that this law makes Indiana a safer place. Or a more inviting and attractive place. Or a well-governed place. Not that any of that matters. It only makes Indiana another example of how the influence of the dying NRA and other gun industry organizations is more important than the rational citizenry. You know, “good guys” with a voice.

And those good guys will be good until they vote to reelect people who have already ignored them.

Once the good guys in the super majorities stop listening to their voters and experts, they are no longer good either. On Election Day, they should be treated accordingly.

4 Comments

  1. Matt Reardon

    Total number of jobs created by this law…zero

    Reply
  2. Carol Neaville-Wright

    As the owner of 3 hand guns, that are properly permitted, They are properly maintained and stored I resent this no permit law. As a retired 28 year Department of Correction can tell you Criminals rarely have permits.
    The passage of this law not only endangers all law enforcement officers you and your family are in in more danger
    In a state that demand an ID to Vote and does not enforce the red flag laws about guns , NOW any fool can have a gun. The ignorance of this legisatures knows no bounderies.
    Please vote in the May 3, 2022
    mid- election 2/3 of your state and federal congressional seats are up for reelection .Make your voice heard at the Balott box.

    Reply
  3. Sean

    From someone who considers himself “rational”, “adult”, “logical”, and not “ludicrous”, your article sure reeks of a lack of sufficient logic, rationale, research, and effort. Your article is even riddled with logical fallacies (ad-hominem, slippery slope, among others). Here are some points you failed to research:
    1. The fact that there is no statistically significant effect on the murder rate in 21 states who have had constitutional carry for at least a year.
    2. The fact that hunting and fishing permits have almost doubled in cost since the CCW permit was made free, which definitely results in no net loss of income for Indiana.
    3. Your inane presumption that it was better for the CCW permit to cost money – do you really think those many, many good people of a lower socioeconomic status should be denied the right to a permit just because they cannot afford it? Do you think carrying is only a right reserved for the middle-class/wealthy?
    4. Criminals, by definition, break the law. The armed felons out there already carry. They don’t care whether or not they have a permit. It is seriously laughable that you think a piece of plastic or any other law is going to stop felons and other criminals from carrying.
    5. Police have this magical little tool in all of their cars called a laptop, which enables them to run a person’s information before they encounter them face-to-face, to see if they are legally allowed to possess or carry a handgun or not based on their criminal record.
    6. A supermajority of gun owners take their gun ownership seriously, like Carol who previously commented. By far, most of them want to receive training so they are safer. Most of them have permits anyways so they can carry in other states. Also, even in a constitutional-carry state, having your state’s permit ready to present to an officer during an encounter with one shows that officer that you care about their safety and time, and most gun owners know this fact. A lot of gun owners even purchase specialized insurance and keep it updated.

    Even I agree that there should be extra-thorough background checks performed to even purchase a gun (absolutely no private sales should be allowed). Additionally, a lot of the laws we have need to be better enforced.

    Honesty, you make a lot of ignorant and offensive presumptions about gun owners, which is unprofessional and teenager-like. Your doomsday predictions are likewise irrational and aren’t helping anyone. Therefore, please leave the researching to those of us (namely, but not limited to those with doctoral degrees) who are trained to do so, thank you.

    Reply
    • Michael Leppert

      The column you are responding to made no presumptions that have not been researched. I’m sorry if you believe you are more capable than I am to research, but you aren’t. Congratulations on your apparent doctoral degree.

      Additionally, the 750 word column I published last week is not comprehensive of my knowledge, research and perspective on the issue. As I am sure your 440 word comment on it is not entirely representative of yours. Disagreeing with you doesn’t make my writing “unprofessional” or “teenager-like.” And if your credibility on the issue is so beyond reproach, I recommend you write more extensively on the topic and find someone to publish your work, whoever you are.

      Thanks for reading.

      Reply

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