We don’t own the guns: the guns own us.

From the Denver Post yesterday morning:

LONGMONT — Police are looking for a .380 semiautomatic pistol that a resident reported he lost while riding a motorized scooter through a north Longmont neighborhood and along a bicycle path on Wednesday, police reported.

Cmdr. Jeff Satur said police volunteers and a police K-9 searched the man’s route along Mountain View Avenue, Pace Street along the east sidewalk, 17th Avenue west from Pace, to Alpine Street and the bike path along the Rough and Ready Ditch to Independence Drive, but did not recover the gun.

“He believes the gun fell out of the holster,” Satur said.

The disabled man has a concealed-carry permit and uses a motorized scooter to help him get around. Satur said the gun was loaded when it was lost.

Police are worried that a child may have found the gun.

“We’re reminding parents up in that area that it is not a toy,” he said.

Longmont police are issuing a call through an automatic system to warn residents that the gun was lost in the area.’

I’m beginning to think that the gun debate of 2013 is much like the sectional crisis after the passage of the Compromise of 1850:  one side (the a$$hole side) has managed to get all of the resources of the state on its side to work for its benefit, and effectively to enlist the time, worry, and resources of non gun-owners in the defense of their supposed “Second Amendment rights.”  Think about it:  someone goes out for a roll in a peaceful U.S. neighborhood–not Syria, not Mali–but in the U.S. with a .380 semiautomatic pistol.  That’s borderline nuts, but then he can’t be bothered to secure the pistol, so now the entire neighborhood has to be searched and everyone has to be on the lookout for this a$$hole‘s missing firearm.

All because ONE MAN decided he couldn’t leave home without his gun.  I’m actually more sympathetic to this guy carrying than a non-disabled person with a concealed-carry permit, because I can understand that many disabled people may reasonably fear predation more than able-bodied people, but honestly:  if you’re too disabled to secure your gun, you’re too disabled for a CCP.  (The print version of the story yesterday morning did not include the detail about the disability, but I’m still amazed by this person’s irresponsibility and the drag on public and neighborly resources.)

Does anyone else see the parallel here?  The non-gun owning majority’s lives are turned upside down for the sake of the gun-owning minority’s right to drop .380 semiautomatics all over town.  Law enforcement officers, volunteers, and even the damn police dog were enlisted to look for one man’s gun.  KDVR also reported that “[t]hree schools and the Skyline East Athletic Field are nearby, and police are worried a child may find the gun along the path.  Satur said parents should be on the lookout as well.”  That’s right–it’s up to parents and schools to be on the lookout for rogue guns littering the byways that the children might get their hands on–it’s no one else’s responsibility to make sure that guns aren’t dropped liberally from one end of town to the other.

14 thoughts on “We don’t own the guns: the guns own us.

  1. I honestly and sincerely don’t know what to write.

    In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen photos of some dude shopping in JC Penney with an assault rifle, read Josh Marshall’s piece about a group that decided to openly carry in Portland (Portland!) “just to show they could,” and read a Huff Post piece about a janitorial type who left his gun out in school by accident. And now, incredibly, this. If I did any of this with a bottle of malt liquor, I’d be in jail.

    But we live in a settler society, right? So it makes sense that we’re a little closer to South Africa than to France.


  2. In any version of the proverbial well-regulated militia, you lose you’re gun, you’re done. One and out. No reasons, no excuses. This is the “keep” part of the “keep and bear arms” text. Lie on it, sleep on it, store it between your legs or stuffed down the back of your shirt, but don’t let it go missing. The “bear” part reminds us that you’re always and by definition functioning as a subordinate with respect to this role. In the human condition, nobody “bears” anything except as a burden. There’s nothing whatsoever to hint about “carry”–with its seductive intimations of agency freedom–in the ancient constitution. You hang the f’ onto it, and then you walk under it upon receipt of orders and not otherwise. This bit of catechistical exegesis is not needed here, but if anybody could re-tweet it to the Supreme Court that would oblige…


  3. In a colonial Anglo-American militia–or at least in the well-regulated ones in New England–you’d be fined for not keeping your gun in good repair & at the ready for training days. But here in Colorado, anyway, losing a gun is not a crime.

    Lance mentions something that Josh Marshall posted. I am no longer a regular reader of his work, but I should have mentioned this essay in the above post. I read it last night after drafting the post–it’s all about his right NOT to live in conspiranoid nation.


  4. One of the most disturbing aspects of the events of the past week is that nothing that Obama proposed would have stopped the Sandy Hook shooting, and few of the proposals will make anyone safer. Despite this, the gun control lobby is in full self-congratulation mode and the gun lobby has entered into predictable vituperation. Semiautomatic weapons bans, required title for guns, or required liability insurance for gun owners would all have real impact. The rest is theatre.


  5. I think that’s right, Profane, for the most part. I see less self-congratulation among gun control proponents than full-on conspiranoia by the gunnies. One side is threatening not to obey the law and rather to start another Civil War, and it ain’t the people at MAIG or the Brady Campaign–and this is before any actual legislation has passed and any laws have changed.

    On whether or not Obama’s executive orders and calls for prospective legislation would have prevented Sandy Hook or not: I don’t think that’s the best test for good public policy. The important thing to remember is that recent mass-murderers were using guns that were legally purchased. Adam Lanza’s mother appears to have been a very law-abiding citizen, so I’d assume that she bought the semiautomatic weapon he used after the assault weapons ban expired in 2004. Had it not expired, Lanza’s rampage might have been less deadly.

    I think we have to approach gun safety from a public health perspective of mitigating harm not preventing all attacks, which is probably impossible.


  6. And this ain’t the only case — and I’m shocked that the right-leaning management of the Post let this columnist’s snark be so obvs

    “A seventh grader went to see “The Hobbit” at a movie theater in Tillamook, Ore., last month.

    He found a Beretta semi-automatic pistol under his seat. There was a bullet loaded in its chamber. Its safety was off. It was ready to fire.

    It reportedly belonged to a man who had owned guns for forty years — 61-year-old Gary Quackenbush.

    Quackenbush had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, which requires a firearms safety course to obtain. But he got bored during the movie, wiggled around in his seat, and the gun slipped out of his holster.”


  7. We are not dealing with a “tribe” that needs/loves/lives with guns. Concealed weapons and automatic rifles actively threaten peaceful citizens.

    No, with hundreds of millions of guns out, Obama cannot prevent multiple killings. Stopping the open threat of the concealers and sprayers from increasing and growing will do good in 2020 and on.


  8. Historiann, I mostly read and don’t comment here. But I wanted to say thank you for posting the link to that TPM essay. I’d missed it, and it does a great job of capturing some of my thoughts. I live in California, but grew up in Arizona, and go back to visit now and then. We were there over Christmas. Here is the post I wrote when stopping for milk on Christmas Day reminded me of the difference between the two states: http://www.wandering-scientist.com/2013/01/my-last-post-about-guns-here.html– I tried to express a lot of the same things Josh Marshall did, but nowhere near as eloquently.

    So anyway, thanks, from a reader who is a lot more to the political center but appreciates what you write. (I read some people to the right of me, too… part of my “don’t live in an echo chamber” campaign.)


  9. Thanks, Cloud. There’s an entire family (save the gunman) dead now in New Mexico because his parents kept a home arsenal and kept it in a “closet” rather than a gun safe.

    I feel the same way you do about people carrying guns. It makes us all less safe.


  10. My goodness.

    The gun-induced stupid: it doesn’t quit.

    I’m glad that no one who really shouldn’t have a gun found it. But this gun owner and apparent CCP holder doesn’t inspire much confidence among the population of local gun owners.


  11. Pingback: Wrung out. | Historiann

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