April 19, 2005

Shoot first, answer questions later

Reader Mike Hunter, in a thoughtful comment to a recent Plains Feeder post about Nebraska's long road to adopting a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit, points out nearly all of what is wrong with the Beef State's current concealed weapon law.
The problem with an "affirmative defense" is that it is something YOU have to prove in court AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN ARRESTED. Concealed carry laws make you innocent until proven guilty, the opposite way that an affirmative defense works.

As a retired police officer I can tell you that without a concealed carry law, when you are caught with a concealed weapon, the officers may not ask you any questions. Rather they may cuff and stuff you and take your weapon, search you and your effects, jail you if you cannot post bail (and sometimes it is a felony so that no bail is available until you go before the judge - in the morning).

You may end up taking a deal of some sort to be sure there is no conviction. Alternative plea bargains may include forfeiture of the firearm, "just" a fine, etc. Meanwhile your local paper has you labeled as a criminal (arrested with an "illegal" firearm), you have legal fees, and you may end up doing community service.

Remember, just because you have an affirative defense does not mean that the judge (or jury) will buy it. Have you noticed that some judges do not think you should be carrying a firearm concealed no matter who you are? Think about it.
Mr. Hunter is correct in his analysis of Nebraska's affirmative defense. (With the exception of the 'not innocent until proven guilty' part, which is patently wrong. With the possible exception of the IRS Code, we are ALWAYS inoocent until proven guilty in the US.) Our hoary carry law is redolent of the code of the Old West, while permits are so 20th century.

But you are right, Mike, the woes associated with the affirmative defense are myriad, but I expect similar troubles with the actual operation of any CCW permit system. Like everything else in government, it will be administered by people with biases, prejudices and opinions.

The point I wanted to make is simple: no matter what the law du jour says, I won't be a victim and neither should you. Deadly exigencies wherein your life and/or the lives of your friends are at risk is no place for legal niceties. I won't let possible embarassment, expense, or even the threat of a conviction on my record deter me from exercising my right to self-defense. In short, it is always better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.