Wednesday, August 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Anti-Gun People

Recently, a hunter was arrested in Denver during the Democratic Party Convention. A number of blogs mentioned the story, but the first time I saw it was on Bitter’s site, which includes a link to the newspaper article.

In short, a man checked into the same hotel that Nancy Pelosi was in. He was preparing for a hunting trip in Africa and carried cased rifles and had handguns in his luggage. The Secret Service and Denver Police arrested the man on concealed weapons charges, took him to jail, and let him out on a $10,000.00 bond. Pelosi congratulated law enforcement for their quick action.

There’s no evidence in the article that the man presented any sort of threat to Pelosi. Not only that, there’s no evidence he broke any laws. (I will grant you, that we’re talking about a newspaper article and they don’t always get the story straight.)

His guns were unloaded and in locked cases or suitcases. That’s exactly how the TSA lets gunowners transport guns in checked luggage. It’s how gun-fearing states like Massachusetts says we must transport guns to a range. He was following the law.

He was arrested because of arbitrary law enforcement. Granted, the Secret Service has to take executive protection very seriously. But, given the facts as we know them, did they have to arrest the man? Couldn’t they have interviewed him and suggested the hotel lock up his firearms?

Unless there’s some unreported fact, he won’t be convicted of anything. He will need a lawyer, probably cancel his hunting trip (possibly losing money), and he suffered the indignity of arrest.

Let me explain my chagrin in a way that even the most ardent gun hater will understand. Let’s imagine you’re driving 63 mph in an area clearly marked 65 mph. It’s a sunny day, there’s no construction, and traffic’s light. A cop pulls you over and gives you a ticket for speeding. He tells you that he thinks the speed limit should be 55 because it’s safer and saves gas. You fight the ticket and win, but you lose time in court and at least some of your trust in law enforcement.

Law-abiding gunnies by definition follow your laws—some of which make no sense at all. Even when we do that, we still get arrested. Is it going to get to the point where we can be arrested for even thinking about a gun? Is that what we’re coming to? Do we really want to allow cops and federal agents to arrest anyone on a whim?

I thought we were a nation of laws agreed to by our representatives. I thought that if we followed those laws we could have freedom within those well-defined limitations. I hope I’m not wrong, because if I am, then tyranny or strife lies ahead.

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