Asking to see ‘open carry’ permits makes everyone safer

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Open carrying images from Ohio, Virginia and Colorado.

With respect to John Stoehr’s March 23 piece titled “The ‘open carry’ debate is about privacy, not guns,” I understand his point of view but cannot fully support it for the following reasons.

Scenario 1: Suppose a state game warden is patroling the woods and happens upon a person with a rifle or shotgun during hunting season. The warden asks the person to produce a valid hunting license to prove that he is hunting legally.

Scenario 2: Suppose that a town police officer spots a car being driven by someone who appears to be underage. They direct the car to be pulled over and subsequently ask the driver to produce a valid driver’s license.

Scenario 3: This one is the one regarding Dontrelle Brown that Stoehr uses in his argument.

Note that in all of the above scenarios, the person being asked for a hunting license, driver’s license, or carry permit may be entirely innocent and in compliance with the law.

However, suppose they are not? Does Stoehr believe that in the first two scenarios, that the right to freedom is also being abridged, and if not, why not? The situations are essentially identical, yet no one would question the right of the warden or police officer to ask for proper credentials in the first two instances.

I submit that if a person has the proper permit to open carry in this or any state, they should also be expected to produce the valid permit to do so when asked by a law enforcement official.

That isn’t too much to ask of a reasonable person who abides by the law, and it makes the state safer for everyone. Unfortunately, in the third scenario, Brown chose to put other carry permit holders in a bad light because of his actions and a poorly written law.

Mr. Stoehr wrote,  “You have the right to conduct business without agents of the government asking to see your papers.” On that he is absolutely wrong. If that were true, he would never get to take a vacation in Europe or anywhere else in the world because he’d have to show his passport to re-enter the country. Is he against having to do that too?

Craig Hoffman lives in Cheshire.

What do you think?

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