Does concealed gun advice come with responsibility talk?

By: - August 15, 2005 5:38 am

Henderson Daily Dispatch

Resting on the desk of Gov. Mike Easley, awaiting his signature, is a bill passed Friday by the North Carolina General Assembly.

The pending law would require local clerks of court to provide information to domestic violence victims on how to obtain temporary concealed weapons permits. The bill was approved by the Senate on a 43-4 vote, and also adds protective orders to the evidence a sheriff can consider when determining whether to issue a 90-day permit for a concealed weapon.

Domestic violence victims already qualified for such a permit. But now, it seems, the government is practically endorsing them.

This newspaper has in the past taken a staunch stand on the side of gun rights. We believe that responsible Americans are entitled to keep and bear firearms.

But it is potentially quite irresponsible to recommend firearms ownership to those who aren’t prepared for the responsibility. And that clearly might happen in the case of domestic violence victims.

There is no doubt these women – and the occasional man – need protection from their assailant. There’s also little doubt that law enforcement can’t always be there to provide that protection. And there certainly are known cases in which women have saved their own lives and possibly the lives of others, including their children, by wielding or even discharging a firearm when in danger.

So we firmly believe that women who are up to the task – who not only have some knowledge of firearms, but are psychologically prepared to responsibly use the gun when under pressure – should absolutely qualify for a concealed weapons permit.

But what percentage of women – or men, for that matter – fit that description? Should the government really be requiring clerks to notify every domestic violence victim of her right to pack a hidden gun, when common sense tells us that many of these women aren’t well-suited to carry concealed weapons? Doesn’t the state risk escalating the violence in some cases rather than abating it?

Domestic violence prevention groups didn’t seek this legislation. If the activists whose calling is to protect victimized women however they can didn’t ask for this law, then chances are it’s a law domestic violence victims didn’t need.

If clerks of court will be required to tell domestic violence victims of their right to seek a concealed weapons permit, then they also should be provided with information to give those women about where they can go for training with a weapon. And it wouldn’t hurt to mention to the women that "self-defense" isn’t always an air-tight explanation to law enforcement after you’ve shot somebody – even if it’s true.

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066