Letter: Does society want people to carry guns in fear of fellow citizens?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 20, 2022

Two weeks ago at the U.S. Post Office, I witnessed a young woman with a pistol in a clip-on holster meant to be worn inside the waistband of one’s pants, but she had it hung on the outside of her back jeans pocket. I overheard her tell a postal employee she was worried about the people “hanging around” outside the Post Office.

Does our society really want someone who has an unwarranted fear of their fellow citizens, even those in a heavily trafficked public place, carrying a gun? If she were to panic and shoot at someone she felt threatened by, would she kill that person or would it be you or me hit by an errant shot? Even highly trained police officers miss. Some may remember the case of Amadou Diallo in NYC in 1999 when four officers fired 41 shots from less than 15 feet away and struck the unarmed victim 19 times. Those other 22 shots could have killed a bystander just as surely as a misplaced shot from this woman’s weapon.

Beyond the direct risk this young woman poses should she opt to use her weapon, what is equally scary is that given the insecure way she was carrying her weapon anyone could have grabbed the gun and holster and run away with it. A former Charlotte police chief told me most guns confiscated in connection with crimes are stolen. I wonder how she would feel if someone killed a person with her gun?

Finally, gun owners are frequently described as “law abiding citizens.” Federal law prohibits firearms and other weapons on postal service property. Law abiding citizens don’t ignore federal law when it suits them!

— Tom Strini