Friday, July 22, 2011

Developing thoughts.

This is actually two posts from Google+ that I felt belonged together. Something of a realization on my part, as well as a demonstration of the types of people and policies that exist out there in the world.

Originally posted on July 17th, 2011.

I went to visit a friend last night at their hotel. I got there just at sunset, and had to park a good distance away. The walk to the hotel in question took me through two extremely narrow, isolated alleys. In both of these alleys I was watched by several people from a distance, though no one approached me. I got to the hotel, and low and behold, on the door is a sign that says "no firearms on property".

NOTE: taking a gun into such a place could result in a criminal weapons change. Simply being arrested for such a charge WILL torpedo a person's security certifications and their CWL status in the state of Oklahoma. Peace officers (police, federal agents, sheriffs, ect.) are not bound by such rules.

So, I walk to the front desk (just inside the door), and without saying that I actually have a firearm, I asked if the hotel would honor a Concealed Carry Permit. The manager said that they would not, and that they could prosecute if a guest knowingly walked on property with a gun.

(This is the right of the hotel since the building is private property. Just as any of you may elect to deny me access to your home for the same reason.)

So, I walked back to my vehicle, through the same two alleys, secured my weapon, and then walked back to the hotel, again through the same two alleys, this time watched by even more people. Many of my observers were clearly not part of the local festivities, though I didn't see any overt gang colors. Finally, I made it to the hotel, unbothered.

Once I was back inside, I walked up to the uniformed (unarmed and completely unequipped) security guard and asked him what procedures they had in place if someone were to attack someone else there at the hotel.

"We would just call the police." He said.

I nodded. "Just out of curiosity, what happens if someone were attacked between here and their car?"

"Well then, that's not our problem."

"Okay." I nodded politely. "What happens if someone came in here with a gun and started shooting?"

"That wouldn’t happen, there's a sign up front that says 'no guns'."

I smiled, nodded, and added, "Okay, cool." And then walked off before I actually said what was on my mind.


Now, a few days later, I had a chance to think about it some more, and I decided that I wasn't thinking my situation through to the fullest that time.

Originally posted on July 22nd, 2011.
You know, last week I posted a complaint about having to leave my sidearm in my car due to a hotel policy. Simply put, I was compelled to walk through two narrow alley's, under observation of several suspicious people, without the benefit of my sidearm because the hotel reserved the right to prosecute anyone who knowingly took a firearm onto their property.

Well, I got to thinking about that, and I have decided that I made some major mistakes as well in that process.

First of all, however, let me be clear; I fundamentally disagree with the idea that prohibiting firearms in a location automatically makes it safer. Each case should be considered individually, but the idea that a sign on a door and an unarmed, unequipped private security guard will make your place safer is flawed on several levels.

However, the law that lets me carry a concealed firearm does not trump the right of a private institution or person to control what is allowed on their property. In the end, they are exercising their rights just like I am. To tell them that they are wrong would infringe on the same power I have to control who walks into my home. You see, the proverbial blade cut's both ways. In good conscious I can say that the time to debate this was not, and never will be, after-hours on the front steps of a hotel. On top of that, a lot of hotels have this policy, and I should have considered that before parking my car. At the very least, it should have been a noted possibility.

Also, while firearms are heavily regulated, I own and am trained in the use of expanding batons and a can of OC spray (aka, pepper spray), which are not so heavily regulated. I should have just traded out my 9mm for my 24" expandable baton and/or my OC can. Sure, it's not a firearm, but even a gun doesn't offer you an absolute. More to the point, in my anger over the issue, I failed to improve my situation above being completely unarmed.

You see, these are important points because the same laws that let me carry a gun let others say they don't want them on their property. The truth be told, if I don't learn to respect those laws, and work within them, I'm really not much better off than I was before I had my CWL or even my sidearm. 

In the end, the most dangerous weapon I own isn't strapped to my hip, or trucked away in a pocket, it's between my ears, and as long as I remember that, I'm better off than a lot of people.


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