What would you call a person who deliberately sets out to purchase a deadly weapon, fails to get any kind of training whatsoever, and then places other people, including children, at risk by carrying the weapon out in public? Ignorant? Dangerous? Irresponsible?
These are a few of the words that spring to my mind. Now add the additional fact that this person is not doing so out of a desire to defend themselves, or as a reaction to an attack, but to make a political point. Now how would you describe this person? Willfully reckless Arrogant? A huge safety risk?
Well, this is exactly what Heidi Yewman did as she sets out to write a series of columns about carrying a gun.
Others have already taken issue with her story, [link: http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2013/06/18/ms-magazines-my-month-with-a-gun-story-shooting-blanks/] and are suspicious that it is either a hoax, or that Ms. Yewman is fudging some of the details. She glosses over Washington State gun laws and makes it sound like she was able to get a permit and a gun in just a few minutes one afternoon, which is not the case. The link discusses the problems with her story in full detail, but I want to focus instead on another area of her article: the rules of her experiment.
Yes, I bought a handgun and will carry it everywhere I go over the next 30 days. I have four rules: Carry it with me at all times, follow the laws of my state, only do what is minimally required for permits, licensing, purchasing and carrying, and finally be prepared to use it for protecting myself at home or in public.
Why? Following the Newtown massacre in December, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, told the country, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I wondered what would it be like to be that good guy with a gun? What would it be like to get that gun, live with that gun, be out and about with that gun. Finally, what happens when you don’t want that gun any more?
First, there is the problem of the third rule, doing only the minimum necessary to legally carry. What does this have to do with her stated purpose of finding out what it is like to be the ‘good guy with a gun?’ How do you define the ‘good guy?’ Is it someone who would recklessly endanger the public by carrying a gun when they are unqualified to do so? Does anybody honestly believe that LaPierre would describe a woman so fearful of her gun that she flagged down a police officer during a traffic stop to get him to verify that the gun was unloaded as a ‘good guy?’ The answer is: of course not. She demonstrates no interest in being one of the good guys; instead she demonstrates what appears to be her true purpose: scaring people about the ease of acquiring a handgun. Ms. Yewman is, by her own admission, anti-gun and this article is just another expression of that bias.
But it gets even better: let’s look at her fourth rule. She says that she wants to be ‘prepared to use [the gun] for protecting myself and my home.’ Preparation is a wonderful thing. I don’t think there is a gun rights advocate anywhere that would support untrained people carrying and operating weapons. It’s almost universal among the people I know who own or carry firearms to seek out and just as importantly, give training. My state, Tennessee, requires a firearm safety class before issuing a Handgun Carry Permit. I took the course, and then spent a significant amount of time at the range, learning to fire my pistol accurately and safely, as did my wife when she got her HCP. It’s the responsible thing to do.
So what exactly did Ms. Yewman do to prepare herself to use the gun in self defense?
- Go to a class? Nope.
- Read the manual that came with the gun? Nope.
- Ask questions of the dealer about basic operation of the gun? Nope.
- Watch any of the hundreds of videos available on safe operation of a gun? Nope.
- Practice with the gun at a range under instruction? Nope.
With absolutely zero preparation, she strapped a loaded gun to her hip and went out in public. She broke her own rule. Why? The answer, once again, was to serve her agenda, which was all about scaring people. So let’s talk about her real agenda.
Her argument is simple; she wants to show that it is too easy for an untrained person to get a gun and that we need tougher laws to control guns. My response is equally simple. Why not rely on good old fashioned common sense and responsibility? We do this in other areas of our society. For example, I can get a driver’s license in Washington State without ever attending a single driving course. All I have to do is pass a simple written test and a road test and I get a license. I don’t have to have any experience other than that. I might not ever have driven in the dark, in adverse weather, in heavy traffic, or other common driving situations. But I get a license that allows me to operate any non-commercial motor vehicle, from a tiny smart car up through a street legal drag racer. I can even load up a passenger van and take the neighborhood kids to school if I want to.
And it is all legal. But is it responsible?
Of course not. I don’t have enough experience. If I were to get behind the wheel of a 400hp drag racer, I would be a deadly accident just looking for a place to happen.
Is there a law to prevent me? Should there be? Or should we be able to rely on my common sense and maturity to understand that just because the law does not mandate extra training and experience, in order to be a safe driver, I should work to acquire that training and experience. Getting a license is only the first step in becoming a safe driver. Just as getting a carry permit is only the first step in becoming a ‘good guy.’
Heidi Yewman fails to take the necessary steps, and instead of proving that the law is too easy, proves only that she is an arrogant, reckless woman who is willing to endanger others to score a political point.
She should be ashamed of herself.
Finally, I do want to point out that even in this worst case scenario, an untrained, highly emotional, nervous wreck of a woman carried a loaded gun into a public space, and nobody got shot. There were no children harmed in the making of her post.
Why? Because guns do not have volition. Unless the person wearing one decides to pull it out of the holster and pull the trigger, it will not go off. The gun is not the problem; the person carrying it, as so aptly demonstrated by Ms. Yewman, is.