NRA has had a longtime policy of lobbying for state laws that require local government buildings that prohibit good citizens from carrying self-defense firearms to do two things. One is to provide reliable screening measures in order to ensure to the extent possible that bad guys don’t make it inside with weapons to prey upon the forcibly disarmed good guys. The other is to provide storage of firearms for good citizens during the time that they spend inside the facility so that they are able to protect themselves as they go to and from the venue.
A basic truth in life is that any policies or laws that strip human beings of their natural right to self-defense are inherently immoral. Some will say that the judgment of whether certain things are immoral is subjective. This is true most of the time, but there are instances when it is not. A basic truth in life is that any policies or laws that strip human beings of their natural right to self-defense are inherently immoral.
Imagine a law that requires you to perform the most sinister act you could conjure in the darkest recesses of your mind. You would know without doubt that the law is immoral. There are few things more sinister than tying the hands of the good in order to allow the evil to do as they please. Doing this in a literal sense is a serious felony in every state and will lead to a decades-long prison sentence. It is the thing of horror films.
Unfortunately, there will always be government officials and entities that do just that. They act immorally. NRA does the best it can by enacting screening and storage requirements in order to mitigate the negative consequences associated with government building gun bans. The local elected officials who, as a general rule, tend to be more radically anti-self-defense than the officials in state legislatures scream bloody murder. Back when I lobbied storage and screening bills in state capitols, their screams were music to my ears. They tended to be so exceptionally irrational and emotional that they were something to behold!
They want to place “No Guns” signs on every door of every building in their jurisdiction, but when you ask them to actually try to make the policy somewhat effective by incorporating measures such as electronic screening, they lose their minds. They are apparently either sure that someone set on committing murder would be turned back by a simple sign threatening relatively minor sanctions or they weren’t all that serious about ensuring that the environment is safe in the first place. There is a reason that courthouses, airports and important facilities like the White House rely upon more than mere signs. They at least make an actual attempt to protect the disarmed innocents by screening at entrances.
Most of these local officials who irrationally believe “No Guns” signs save thousands of lives every year are the same ones who say they are consistent advocates of the “little guy”—until they aren’t, apparently. These are the officials who complain about NRA’s storage requirement in this two-pronged approach. They just don’t seem to care about the hard-working person who can’t afford a personal vehicle but must make it to the city administration building to acquire a zoning permit for his boss. He doesn’t have a vehicle to store his firearm in while he’s doing his required business. If there is no storage area in the building for firearms, his only option is to spend his entire day unarmed and defenseless because one small government building along the way prohibits firearms. These frauds don’t really care about the little guys. The NRA does. Most of these local officials who irrationally believe “No Guns” signs save thousands of lives every year are the same ones who say they are consistent advocates of the “little guy”—until they aren’t, apparently.
These politicians opposed to providing storage options to citizens don’t think of the true implications for most gun carriers. They tend to have their own vehicles. While storing firearms in vehicles is sometimes inevitable, it should be done as infrequently as possible, and certainly should not be effectively required by the government. Theft is a real concern, and no one wants guns falling into the hands of criminals. The best and safest place for a handgun in a public setting is for it to be in the immediate custody of the owner in a belt holster, purse or other means of carry. The sooner all government officials accept and understand this, the better off we all will be.
Opponents of the NRA legislation often ask why the NRA doesn’t seek similar provisions for private property owners who prohibit firearms on their property. There are a number of reasons, but the most important is that customers of restaurants and stores can usually find alternative businesses that are respectful of self-defense rights. Conversely, in many cases citizens are required to conduct business in government buildings because it’s the only game in town. There aren’t other places that issue vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses, professional licenses and event permits. Private property owners have a right to make a bad decision and allow only the bad guys to carry firearms on their property. The government has the power to do dumb things too, but if a decision to prohibit carry is made, there is a price to pay.
Speaking of price to pay, one of the most obscene lines of thought from local officials when these debates arise in state capitols is that storage and screening requirements are “unfunded mandates” on local jurisdictions imposed by the state. Either their understanding of mandate is different than everyone else’s, or they are lying to try to prevail in a debate.
The fact is that the local jurisdictions don’t have to pay a single penny for screening and storage if they simply decide to trust the same citizens who elect them to office and pay the taxes necessary to build the very government facilities in question. If they allow the law-abiding to carry, they don’t have to pay for storage and screening equipment and personnel. It’s that easy. Countless jurisdictions throughout the country allow carry and don’t experience problems. There is no unfunded “mandate.”
We will continue to hear these silly arguments from local officials who fear the armed citizen. While NRA has passed laws in some states prohibiting public building gun bans (with some limited exceptions), the next best thing is the passage of storage and screening requirements. When legislation like this comes to your state for consideration, you are now armed with the facts so that you can appropriately deal with your untrusting city and county officials.
It’s fun to see them sweat.