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February 6, 2014

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Officer Alex sets us straight on concealed carry

So I made a new friend yesterday. By friend, I mean a complete asshole that threatened to fistfight over a disagreement regarding the rules for concealed carry of handguns in the state of Tennessee—of all things.  

What brought this about is an interesting and thought-provoking story that I felt strongly about sharing with you because not only does it make one think, it also educates one on a very serious subject (legal weapon carry in this state). That, and I also find dumbasses to be highly entertaining more often than not, and this guy definitely made the cut.

A cop had made a remark to someone carrying a gun on their hip in public implying that it was overkill, or at least unnecessary, unless they had enemies or a mountain of money. The cop, after all, had never had to use his own gun the entire course of his career, so why should some “regular guy” need one?

The person in question let a moment pass, and very politely pointed to his two young children and said “That’s why I need it. For them.”

Personally, I thought that was a hell of an answer and I wholeheartedly agreed. By the cop’s logic, if you’ve never been in a wreck before, why should you wear a seatbelt? If you don’t have the flu yet, why should you get a vaccination against it? As far as smart things to say go, that just wasn’t one of them. It happens. And speaking as a guy who has had to carry a pistol every day since Clinton’s first term, it was nice to have a new spin on an old rule.

Another gentleman, however, took great umbrage at this and instead suggested the response should have been to tell the cop, “It was none of his business, because technically it’s not and technically you don’t have to answer him.” He felt the officer was sticking his nose into the guy’s personal life where it just didn’t belong.

Now, I didn’t know the guy but he was clearly stupid, and I feel that human beings that are not stupid have somewhat of an obligation to help the ones that are. I’m like that: A complete “helper”. I’ve been stupid before, and smart people helped me, so this is kind of like paying it forward.

“Relax,” I told him. I explained to him that putting a gun on your hip and then getting defensive when asked about it (not to mention being insulting) sounds like someone is asking for a fight. I mean, really, my judgment is often clouded by being a frequent smartass, but does that sounds so wrong? I also threw in the words, “For what it’s worth, you actually DO have to show a permit to carry if requested by an officer, so you may want to be careful when getting defensive about the pistol is asking you about.” That’s it.  My sin, verbatim.

Sadly, this apparently made me a smartass and the guy suggested we “go toe to toe,” as I believe he put it, because I was “jaw jacking.”  The corners of my mouth raced my eyebrows to see which could get higher on my face first, and I laughed while putting my weight on the foot that was slightly behind the other.

In the space of 90 seconds I was astounded at the shallowness of the unnamed initial cop, the profundity of the response, and now the blithering idiocy of this suggested response all capped off with a threat to fight over it. And to beat it all, the guy giving the bad advice didn’t even have a permit to carry or know how to get one. Real life always has been, and always will be, better than cable television. No one believes me.

For the educational component of this week’s feature, Tennessee’s handgun carry permits are recognized in 26 other states. You can carry concealed or open (something most don’t know, but concealment is encouraged to avoid episodes like the one above), you can’t carry in court or on school grounds, but you can carry in a bar or restaurant so long as it’s not posted to not do so—and so long as you don’t have a drink. Not a single one, mind you.  (Leaving it locked in your car is also legal and appropriate at these times. Not that I would know.) There are more rules, but not many and they’ll teach you in that mandated class, I promise.

And as far as the Marshall Mathers wannabe I spoke of above?  For his educational component I’d recommend lithium, Zyprexa, or a permanently mounted football helmet.  (A Broncos helmet specifically, after last Sunday.)

We’re all smarter now. Enjoy.

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