Using Water As A Weapon Of War

Herschel Smith · 03 Aug 2014 · 9 Comments

Next City: In a war, anything can be a weapon. In a particularly ruthless war, such as the conflict that has been raging in Syria for more than three years, those weapons are often turned against civilians, making any semblance of normal life impossible. Such is the case, experts say, with the way the nation’s water supply is being manipulated to inflict suffering on the population. According to an article posted by Chatham House, a London-based independent policy institute, water…… [read more]

The U.N. Small Arms Treaty

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

David Bosco at Foreign Policy wonders if the proposed U.N. small arms treaty is worth the trouble.  Naturally, he assumes that some kind of good will come out of it.  Eric Sapp at Huffington Post is so self assured that it’s a good thing that he has invoked religion to prove his point, although he commits the genetic fallacy, i.e., aligning supporters, as if the fact that someone agrees with him makes him right.

More clearheaded, Ted Bromund writing at Heritage makes the case that the treaty isn’t what they claim it to be.

There are quite a few reasons to be concerned about the U.N.’s pending Arms Trade Treaty. It poses a number of risks to the Second Amendment and, more broadly, it is based on the completely fallacious belief that all the world’s nations are actually serious about controlling the illicit arms trade. If they were, of course, no treaty would be necessary. What the treaty will end up doing is making the arms trade more dangerous, by giving the world’s dictator states an internationally-recognized right to import and export all the guns they want to.

[ ... ]

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the arms trade. One is that lots of nations supply arms to terrorists and dictators as a matter of policy, or because they simply want the money. Another is that many of the world’s nations do not control their own borders, or their own territory, and so are in no position to control the arms trade. Neither of these problems will be addressed by a treaty that, according to its own draft text, is supposed to be “non-discriminatory.” In other words, the treaty is at once supposed to encourage nations to be more discriminatory in their arms exports to other nations, and to be applied without discriminating against anyone. The U.S. is not going to leave the Second Amendment issues aside, but even if it did, the treaty’s internal hypocrisy is an excellent reason to believe that it’s not worth backing.

Bromund is being kind.  The treaty is a monstrosity and shouldn’t even be considered for ratification.  The treaty wants to distinguish between civilian and military weapons, a notion that went out more than twenty years ago, a problem which also undermines the usefulness of the gun control act of 1968 and related ATF studies.  The treaty authors also want to control ammunition, want a national gun registry (which Canada finally rejected and jettisoned), want ballistic fingerprinting and microstamping of all firearms, desire un-transferability of firearms, and so on.  The problems are too numerous and extensive to outline.

Not only does this treaty intrude on the second amendment rights of American citizens, and not only is it hypocritical in its intent, it would target the very country who abides by its laws and allow the perpetrators justification for their own actions.  The treaty is just one more progressive, micromanaging, over-controlling, statist solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.  We’ve seen ten thousand like it, and as long as the U.N. gets funding and a home from the U.S. government, we will see many more instances of this kind of busy-body meddling into the affairs of American citizens.

DMB: A Good Way To Spend An Evening

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

It was a great concert, and a great playlist.  They were all great charts.  It was nice to have Joshua, Devon, Ashley and Juston with me.  It would have been nice to have Joseph and Daniel too, but they are in Austin, Texas, and Wyoming, respectively.  Perhaps another time.

But the only thing that would make the Dave Matthews Band better would be to hear a trombone with the horn section.  That would allow Jeff Coffin, who is a musical genius, to put down his Bari Sax and pick up his tenor or alto Sax more often.  And I thought I would point out that I have played trombone all of my life.

I’m just sayin’, you know?

Words That Will Get You DHS Scrutiny

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

Here is the scoop on keywords.

The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as ‘attack’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘dirty bomb’ alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like ‘pork’, ‘cloud’, ‘team’ and ‘Mexico’.

Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The words are included in the department’s 2011 Analyst’s Desktop Binder‘ used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify ‘media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities’.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organisations for comments that ‘reflect adversely’ on the government.

However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.

Hmmm.  Reflects adversely on DHS and response activities, huh?  The words in the long list include terror, response, al Qaeda, organized crime, Mexico, Hazmat, North Korea, Sinaloa, gangs, trafficking, and so on.  All of these are words I use regularly, and I know I get regular visits from the DHS.

But this issue of reflecting adversely on the DHS is really bothersome and scary.  So let’s cover our positions again.  As long as we:

Continue to seek negotiations with the Taliban, the very enemy who harbored al Qaeda, and as long as we allow the porous border with Mexico to potentially allow Hezbollah fighters to ensconce themselves in America after crossing …

And as long as we:

Send in fat ass agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Gibson Guitar (led by a noted Obama critic) wearing Tru-Spec tactical pants and drop holsters, and send in DHS agents to raid flea markets, release Taliban fighters, raid the Department of Defense budget as a piggy bank for social programs, let our Secretary of Defense worry over anthropogenic global warming

And as long as we:

Ask our TSA agents to feel up little boys and girls, and investigate old women’s sanitary things, and as long as we want the TSA to be a federal jobs program for goobers, hicks, rednecks and other incompetents, well then …

We aren’t prepared for Taliban / al Qaeda / Hezbollah / Iranian Mullahs versus America.  There are even some very basic homeland threats for which are are ill prepared.  But the list goes on, and we’ve discussed all of this before, haven’t we?  Is the DHS listening closely enough?  Was I clear enough?

The Body Count Foreign Policy: Civilian Casualties in Syria Force U.S. Hand?

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 4 months ago

Here we go again.

In this article, we are told that the U.S. is now warning Syria of possible military action.

Is it because the U.S. has finally determined that Syria’s support of terrorist outfits like Hamas and Hezbollah is inimical to vital U.S. interests and pose a threat to national security?  Is it because the Assad Regime is the linchpin to Iranian aggression in the Levant?  Is it because the stockpile of biological weapons may find their way into the hands of Islamists to be used against Western targets?  Has the U.S. determined that the replacement of the Assad Regime by an even tepidly pro-Western government would be a game changer in the Middle East?

No.

It is because something like 100 non-combatant civilians were killed by artillery and tank rounds fired indiscriminately by Assad’s forces into the Syrian city of Houla.

I do not for a moment condone this rightly-termed massacre of women and children by the Assad Regime.  It deserves all of the condemnation that can be delivered (although it is somewhat hypocritical of the Russians– who used an absolute, scorched-earth assault to suppress rebellion in Chechnya including artillery barrages– and China– which routinely tortures and kills its civilian population).

Nontheless, as I argued in a prior post :

U.S. foreign policy cannot be dictated by logarithms of civilian casualties.   Instead, the U.S. must enter into a complicated calculus of risks and benefits in seeking to topple Assad and the methods necessary and appropriate to the task.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration seems to be engaging in this very type of body-count calculus in weighing military intervention.   From The Guardian article:

The US’s top military officer has warned Syria it could face armed intervention as international outrage grows over the massacre of women and children by tanks and artillery in Houla.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said that following the UN security council’s condemnation of the slaughter – in which more than 100 people were killed, many of them children – there needed to be increased diplomatic pressure on Damascus. But he added that the US would be prepared to act militarily if it was “asked to do so”.

“There is always a military option,” he told Fox News. “You’ll always find military leaders to be somewhat cautious about the use of force, because we’re never entirely sure what comes out on the other side. But that said, it may come to a point with Syria because of the atrocities.”

The entire world is filled with governments committing atrocities against its own people, and all too often on a scale far larger than the massacre at Houla.   Sudan and its Islamist allies have been slaughtering and enslaving tens of thousands of largely Christian South Sudanese civilians for the better part of a decade.   U.S. response (both Bush and Obama):  Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwn.  North Korea’s forced starvation and Nazi-like concentration camps are legendary and indisputable.   U.S. response for 50 years:  too bored to bother.

Why should civilian deaths in Syria trigger any kind of threat of military action?  Determining foreign policy based on civilian body counts like this is absolutely bass ackwards.

If intervening in Syria is in the U.S. national interest, including all the factors that must be weighed and considered– and can be articulated as such to Congress– then that is all the reason we need.   If it is not in the national interest, then no body count should precipitate military action.

When Getting to the Super Bowl is Not Enough: Republicans, Grow Up

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 5 months ago

Hat tip Hot Air.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) expressed profound regrets about the four years during the George W. Bush presidency when Republicans had control of Congress:

“During the Bush administration, they had four years where the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the executive branch. We had a great opportunity to do great reform to fix what was wrong with this country. We didn’t do it — that’s where careerism comes in,” Coburn told TheDC.

“Careerism isn’t just a problem for Democrats. It’s a problem for Republicans too. When the number one goal is to make yourself look good at home, rather than fulfill your oath and fix what the country needs to have fixed, you’re actually adding to our downward spiral, and so I think it was a missed opportunity of tremendous proportions that the Republicans didn’t embrace what they said they believed in during those times.”

***

In his new book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America,” Coburn writes about a phone conservation he had with President Bush.

“The night of my victory in 2004, I received a call from President Bush. After he congratulated me, I said, ‘Mr. President, I’m looking forward to helping you cut spending.’ There was nothing but silence on the other end,” Coburn writes.

“By the end of 2004, Republicans were becoming increasingly agitated about President Bush’s excessive spending. I was determined to follow through on my campaign promise to go after earmarks and wasteful spending even if it meant clashing with my own party.”

Good of Senator Coburn to express these sentiments some eight years later.  Better late than never, I suppose.  But Coburn does not quite capture the essence of those times.   The problem then (as now) is not politicians trying to “look good” to the voters back home.  The problem is much deeper and more parasitic.

The problem, first and foremost, is the overwhelming power that has been invested, over the last 100 years, in the central government in D.C.  Our Founding Fathers could never have imagined the sheer size and scope of the Federal Leviathan today.   If so, it is doubtful that they would have proceeded with the Constitution as written.  This enormous power hopelessly corrupts all but the most invulnerable persons who spend any length of time in the Capitol.   It is not about looking good, Senator Coburn, it is about wielding power and influence that garners great wealth, special treatment, exemption from the laws that apply to the rest of us citizens, incessant flattery from hordes of sycophants and an almost irresistible temptation to hang onto to this power at all costs.

If there is anything like a glimmer of light at the end of this long, dark Debt Tunnel, it may be the election of principled conservatives to Congress who will not cave in to the “careerists” in Congress already infected with the power disease.

The danger is that new Congress Critters may fall into the same psychological trap that many an NFL team has fallen into when they make it to the Super Bowl: Just Happy To Be Here.

It is fine to talk about changing Washington and restoring the Constitution while on the campaign trail and let’s grant that all the talk is sincere and deeply authentic.   Nonetheless, like those hapless NFL teams that struggle against all odds to appear in the championship game only to be trounced by a veteran opponent, it is an open question whether freshmen in 2013 will be awed just to walk the halls of Congress and forget all about playing for keeps.

Afghan National Army Feels Disrespected!

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

They even sound a bit mad.

They say their M16s are dust-prone antiques. Their boots fall apart after a couple of months, they complain, and many of their helmets are cracked and patched. Yet they set out on patrol.

They are the men of the Afghan National Army, the critical part of the huge machine being built to protect Afghanistan’s security after the NATO alliance is gone in less than three years.

With Afghanistan topping the agenda at a gathering of NATO leaders in Chicago on Sunday and Monday, an Associated Press reporter and photographer traveling with Afghan army forces in Logar and Paktia provinces are hearing a mix of messages from dozens of officers and enlisted men.

The foreign forces are leaving too soon, the men say. Why then are attacks by Afghan soldiers on NATO forces increasing, killing 35 last year and 22 so far this year? Because the Afghans feel disrespected, the soldiers say. Handing out inferior equipment is disrespectful; burning Qurans, however accidental, is disrespectful; urinating on dead bodies, even Taliban, as video that emerged in January showed U.S. troops doing, is disrespectful.

Washington spent more than $20 billion in 2010-2011 on training and equipping a 352,000 strong army and police force — one of the costliest projects ever undertaken by the Pentagon.

Yet the foot soldiers don’t have night-vision goggles to go after the Taliban under cover of darkness.

At the rock-strewn firing range of the 203 Thunder Corps in Paktia province, Sgt. Said Aga recalled his M16 jamming in the middle of a fierce firefight with the Taliban, and grimaced as his young charges aired their gripes about the Vietnam-era firearm.

“The Americans have really much better equipment than us,” he said. “Our vehicles and weapons are very weak compared to theirs.”

A soldier named Abdul Karim said he’d prefer a 30-year-old Russian-made Kalashnikov to an M16. The Americans “are giving us old weapons and try to make them look new with polish and paint. We don’t want their throwaways,” he said.

In Kabul, Lt. Col. Timothy M. Stauffer, U. S. Army Director, Public Affairs, rejected the complaints about aging weapons, saying the Afghans get basically the same firearms that U.S. soldiers have. “I am not sure their complaints are valid,” he said. “The equipment they are asking for and are being issued is sufficient to meet the current threat.”

Most American troops in Afghanistan carry the M4, a shorter version of the M16. Both models have been criticized by some in the military for jamming in harsh conditions and requiring greater maintenance. The Kalashnikov is known as an easier-upkeep, all-conditions weapon, fueling its popularity in the developing world.

Meh.  My rifle, a Rock River Arms Elite CAR A4, has had thousands of rounds put through it without any failure to feed or failure to eject.  It is in a competition with my Springfield Armory XDm .45, which, above all of my other handguns, could sustain a beating with a sledge hammer and still keep functioning.  My rifle (think M4) is one of the most well-functioning, precise machines I have ever owned.

It takes a little bit of effort, and instead of smoking hash and laying around while the coalition troops do the work, they might actually have to maintain the weapons.  Their precision makes them needful of attention.  My son, who operated an M249 SAW in Fallujah, Iraq, would take along a paintbrush with him on patrol, and during breaks he would clean the [open] bolt and other accessible components of the weapon, while he also removed and reseated each, individual round in the belts (sometimes the motion of running or walking jiggled the rounds loose in the belts).  At least partially as a result of his efforts, his SAW never malfunctioned in Iraq – not even once (perhaps prayers of his father also had something to do with it).

Just give them AKs and don’t pretend that precision or accuracy matters.  The problems are much larger than what kind of weapon they tote.  This scene below depicts some of them, and we have covered it and many other examples in Afghan National Army.

So as you see, discussions like the one we had above aren’t really relevant, are they?

Supreme Court Justice Breyer Robbed: Should He Have Had A Gun?

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

This is just rich.

Less than three months after he was robbed at his vacation home in the Caribbean, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has been targeted again — this time by burglars at his Washington, D.C., house.

Breyer’s property was raided May 4, The Washington Post reported Thursday, with cutlery and candlesticks worth about $3,500 taken.

Unlike the February robbery in Nevis — where Breyer and his house guests were threatened with a machete by a gardener who took $1,000 — no one was home during the Washington robbery. A housekeeper discovered the crime scene.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman said no court documents were taken.

The robbery comes a month after Congress allocated nearly $1 million to hire 12 new Supreme Court police officers, according to The Hill.

Breyer had been among the group pushing for that greater protection after U.S. District Judge John Roll was among six people killed in a gunman’s rampage at a Tucson shopping mall last year, which seriously wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 12 others.

We’re talking about the Supreme Court Police who are specifically designated to protect the court.  So Breyer, who dissented in Heller v. D.C., and McDonald v. Chicago, and who doesn’t believe that the second amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms, wants more police protection at the taxpayers expense, because, you know, “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Just rich.

The Mask Over Defeat in Afghanistan Slips A Bit More

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 5 months ago

The Obama Administration and its Statist Media enablers have been bravely trying their best to disguise the unfolding calamity that is Afghanistan today.

A few weeks back we had the Administration crowing about a “strategic agreement” that had been signed by the U.S. and Afghan governments, even though that agreement did not provide any specifics about the type or level of commitment Afghanistan would receive from the U.S.   It was simply an empty agreement to someday come to a specific agreement.  Maybe.

This article in The New York Times dealing with logistical issue and a related article dealing with the withdrawal of combat forces, however, show that the mask is slipping.

CHICAGO — President Obama was struggling to balance the United States’ relationship with two crucial but difficult allies on Sunday, after a deal to reopen supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan fell apart just as Mr. Obama began talks on ending the NATO alliance’s combat role in the Afghan war.

***

American officials said the main sticking point was the amount NATO would pay for each truck carrying supplies from Karachi, on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast, to the Afghan border. Before the closing, the payment per truck was about $250. Pakistan is now asking for “upward of $5,000” for each truck, another American official said.

Considering the huge proportion of supplies that had previously flowed through Pakistan to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, this is no small matter.

The fact that Pakistan is now demanding twenty times the previous amount for each truck is an obvious non-starter and shows just how hostile the Pakistanis are at this point.

In the NYT article by David Sanger, Obama is playing a political game with the lives of U.S. forces:

By early 2011, Mr. Obama had seen enough. He told his staff to arrange a speedy, orderly exit from Afghanistan. This time there would be no announced national security meetings, no debates with the generals. Even Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were left out until the final six weeks.

The key decisions had essentially been made already when Gen. David H. Petraeus, in his last months as commander in Afghanistan, arrived in Washington with a set of options for the president that called for a slow withdrawal of surge troops. He wanted to keep as many troops as possible in Afghanistan through the next fighting season, with a steep drop to follow. Mr. Obama concluded that the Pentagon had not internalized that the goal was not to defeat the Taliban. He said he “believed that we had a more limited set of objectives that could be accomplished by bringing the military out at a faster clip,” an aide reported.

After a short internal debate, Mr. Gates and Mrs. Clinton came up with a different option: end the surge by September 2012 — after the summer fighting season, but before the election. Mr. Obama concurred. But he was placing an enormous bet: his goals now focus largely on finishing off Al Qaeda and keeping Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from going astray. Left unclear is how America will respond if a Taliban resurgence takes over wide swathes of the country America invaded in 2001 and plans to largely depart 13 years later.

None of this is a surprise to TCJ readers.   There has never been a doubt that Obama was essentially going through the motions in Afghanistan.   Nonetheless, it is surprising to see the Statist flagship paper stating it so plainly.

EOD Operations: Clearing Route X

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

G4 television recently had a documentary on Army EOD platoon 342 clearing what they termed “Route X.”  A simple Google search on clearing route X will send the reader to various online discussion forums, videos and other sources on this mission, and so it isn’t my point to recapitulate those sources here.

Neither is it my goal to disparage the hard work and bravery shown by this EOD team.  Each man is serving our country as his mission rules dictate, and as the specific military branch allows.  A hearty congratulations goes out to each member of the team who participated in the mission and returned to the FOB safely.

But there my accolades end.  This is a sad, sad tale that depicts exactly why we have lost Afghanistan.  Clearing the route (the portion of it that actually got cleared) took days, and they team went at the rate of hundreds of yards per day.  Terrain they cleared was later found to have been revisited by bomb emplacers, and so “safe” checkpoints weren’t really safe.

By the time foot patrols got to the insurgents controlling the IEDs, they were gone.  The domiciles from which they operated, vacant at the time, were simply left in place.  After the partial clearing operations, it likely took only a matter of hours for the Taliban to have completely littered the route with IEDs again.

This frustration, I admit, is perhaps attributable to the difference in the way the military branches do business.  This frustration is also captured here.

I just found this show and have only seen 3 episodes. just watched the road of blood / route X episode. I gotta say as a former Marine who has seen my share of bullets, bandaids and bad guys there has to be a better way to clear route X. Here is my observations / comments from the comfort of my reclining couch. 1) the Army tried to clear the route two times before and failed. In my opinion each time the Army pulled out it emboldened the Talibafoons. 2) the military has come a long way in technology since i was in from 87-93 but sometimes you just got to get boots on the ground and take the fight to the enemy. As i was watching the Army and Navy try to clear route X at a snails pace i remembered a route clearing device i saw used in Desert Storm. I dont know it name but it was a bunch of bangolores attached to a rocket. The rocket was shot out, the string of bangolores was detonated and voila insta-path. I get polictical correctness and trying to play nice with the locals but if route X is such a hard nut to crack then order up 20 of these bangolore snakes and clear the route one rocket at a time and march right into the taliban summer resort city at the end of the road. I am sure the goat herder who uses the road to tend his opium poppy fields will be upset we blew his road to sh&%, but oh well. 3) there is no mention of air support and/or predators providing eye in the sky support. I understand the show is to spotlight the EOD unit but i would get a warm, fuzzy feeling if i knew they had some air support. 4) at the beginning of the mission the locals seem to get the message to clear out and take cover, presumably they got the signal from the taliban. This gives the taliban the initiative to dictate when the locals should clear out. Instead when we arrive we should have our Afghan translator get on a loud speaker and tell the locals to clear out. Mentally this puts us in control and shows we dictate the next course of action. In wrapping this up i understand we dont get the full story due to TV show editing, I dont know the rules of engagement from my living room, and EOD and the Army may not want to show all there trade secrets but there has got to be a better way to clear that road and send a message that we will come knocking at the front door of the talibafoons summer resort city.

Semper Fi

The frustration is answered as well.

You are refering to APOBS.The Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) is an explosive line charge system that allows safe breaching through complex antipersonnel obstacles, particularly fields of land mines.

They actually used this system in one episode. However, they are apparently only used when “absolutely necessary”. You would think cost would not be a prohibitive factor in such a dangerous mission. My guess is that Air is not being used because of the proximity to civilian targets. We wouldn’t want to kill an innocent in a man-dress, now would we?

There was a stark difference in how the Marines went into Sangin with its IEDs and how 342 took on Route X.  In Sangin, heavy foot patrols were involved, the people were engaged, it was essentially non-stop route clearance, there was no hesitation to use heavy ordnance or APOBS, and after clearing the route(s), the adjacent domiciles were bulldozed to the ground to prevent close quarters emplacement of IEDs.

I would also point out that when the 2/6 Marines took on Fallujah in 2007, even more heavy tactics were used.  In order to clear Route X, more troops should have been used, the route AO should have been cordoned in order to prevent the escape of insurgents, Army snipers should have been emplaced, doors should have been kicked in and homes searched, domiciles bulldozed if found to be involved in IED making or other insurgent activity, and biometric information should have been taken of all MaMs.  All of this should have been combined with census operations of the AO.

As it was, in the end, in spite of the hard work and bravery, nothing was accomplished.  But we followed the stipulations of FM 3-24 and conducted population-centric COIN.  That’s what’s really important.

Civil Rights Update: Open Carry In Oklahoma

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has just signed Senate bill 1733 into law allowing open carry in the state of Oklahoma.  More specifically, Oklahoma is now a licensed open carry state.

The measure, Senate Bill 1733, allows those who are licensed to carry a firearm under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act to openly carry a weapon or conceal it.

It also allows a property owner to openly carry a handgun on his or her land. No concealed carry permit would be required.

To receive a license under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act, applicants must take a firearms safety and training course and submit to a background check by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors may not receive a handgun license.

The measure takes effect Nov. 1.

Oklahoma is the 25th state with either “permissive open carry” laws, or no permit required, or “licensed open carry,” which requires a permit. Oklahoma now joins Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Massachusetts as a “licensed open carry” state.

“As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a gun owner myself, I’m happy to sign this bill into law and grant law-abiding citizens the ability to openly carry firearms,” Fallin said. “Senate Bill 1733 sends a strong message that Oklahoma values the rights of its citizens to defend themselves, their family and their property. It does so in a responsible way, by requiring those citizens who choose to ‘open carry’ to undergo both firearms training and a background check.”

As I have discussed, I both conceal and open carry, and still prefer the way it is in my home state of North Carolina.  I must have a concealed handgun permit to conceal, and open carry is legal without a permit (and we have no “stop and identify” statute).  However, this qualifier to open carry in Oklahoma is minor, and doesn’t trouble me.  In North Carolina as in every state, a background check is necessary for purchase of a gun anyway, and the only additional requirement to open carry in this case is the day-long class.  Every gun owner should take such a class whether s/he carries or not.

As with those of us who already recognize these civil rights, Oklahomans will find that women and children don’t run in fear, screaming for their lives once they see a weapon.  And the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police smile and wave at me when they observe me.  Your state won’t turn into the Wild, Wild West, and the only real requirement is that the Police departments be properly educated on the new law so that they can recognize these rights.  On rare occasions, dispatchers might have to inform callers that it is legal to open carry.

So with those stipulations, Oklahoma is hereby welcomed to the club as a “free” state.

Related: The Open Carry Debate


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