9 hours, 2 minutes ago
Answer Man! I was sitting in Mr. Smith’s Fast Lube on Sunshine Street, waiting while I was getting my oil changed. A man entered with a holstered handgun on his hip. He was getting his oil changed, too, and sat next to me. He seemed nervous and I was concerned about the gun. Is this legal in Springfield? — Joey Pulleyking, of Springfield
The short answer, Joey, is that in Missouri the man had the legal right to openly carry a firearm into the business.
The answer is nuanced. Since there’s such great interest in guns in the Ozarks, I’m going to explore your question further, Joey. For example, I interviewed two Springfield men who openly carry. I’ll get to them later.
Over at Mr. Smith’s, I learned the owner is not a Mr. Smith. The owner goes by the name of Earl, although he is not an Earl, either.
His name is Scott Mather. When I walk into his business, he recognizes me: “Hey, Answer Man, need an oil change? Mr. Smith’s Fast Lube loves your car as much as you do.”
I tell him my car appreciates the love, but no thanks on the oil change.
Instead, I ask how he feels about customers bringing firearms into his business. In Missouri, you don’t need a permit or firearms training to openly carry (but you do if you conceal the weapon).
First, he says, rarely does he see anyone openly carry in one of his shops.
“If people want to do that, they can do that,” he says.
That’s why he does not post a “No Guns” or “No Firearms” sign at his businesses.
According to state law, business owners who don’t want guns on their property must post a sign at least 11 inches by 14 inches in a conspicuous place. The letters on the sign must be at least one inch in height. (Business owners cannot prohibit people from leaving their guns in their car in the parking lot.)
A business owner who prohibits firearms — and then spots a customer with one — must then ask the person to leave and return without the weapon. If the person refuses to exit, the owner can call police, and the person with the gun can be charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor.
[ … ]
Jim Arnott, Greene County sheriff, first wants to make something clear.
“I don’t want it to come out that I am against open carry,” he says.
He’s not. But … “I am a big advocate of concealed carry.
“If they open carry to defend themselves or to intervene in a situation — the first person that the bad guy is going to take care of is the guy with his gun on his hip.”
Arnott says most people he knows conceal carry to maintain the element of surprise.
“The coach of a football team is not going to give up his plays to the other team,” he says.
If you open carry, Arnott says, there’s also a chance people will see your firearm and quickly call police.
So with this in mind, I have a number of things puzzling me. Let me get right to it.
First, I hear that all the time, i.e., this meme that the first person an active shooter will seek out is the person who is open carrying. I monitor news reports all the time, as you can imagine of a gun blogger. I have never seen a news report of an active shooter, robber, criminal, or other ne’er-do-well entering a building and seeking out people with open carry weapons. You spoke with such authority on the matter, I assume you have some evidence of your claim. Can you share that evidence with us?
Second, if you believe that, I assume that you have a department policy that your officers conceal carry and wear plains clothes, except for the badge on their belts so people can identify them? I mean, so active shooters won’t seek them out and so they can hide their game plays?
Third, you say you aren’t against open carry, but in fact you seemed to spend a good deal of effort to dissuade folks in your area from openly carrying. Why did you do that if you’re not opposed to open carry?
Fourth, is it a good thing if I ensure that I’m the last person an active shooter seeks out? I have given it some thought in the light of John 15:13, and I have concluded that it would be fairly unseemly, cowardly and dishonorable of me to sit back and say, “Crap, I hope he takes that woman or kid over there instead of me! I wanted to watch that show on TV tonight!” I’m not sure I could live with myself if I decided to slink away and retreat in the face of danger to women and children around me. In fact, I’m not sure I mind the fact that I’m the first one he confronts, since I’m likely the only one in the vicinity who has planned for this and thought about it a great deal. I try to keep my head on a swivel, as I’ve discussed many times before.
Do you agree, or would you advocate being the last one to die?