Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Welcome to the Wild, Wild West

I'm moving a little bit slower today.  I'm being weighed down by all of this body armor that I'm wearing--along with this steel helmet and shield.  It's also taking me a bit longer to walk out the door and down the aisle as I have to look both ways--dive to the ground and somersault into a crouching position before checking both ways again and then slide along the wall--staying low to the ground.

Why would I have to do this?  Well because the Carry Concealed Weapons law has gone into effect today--and I remember all the talk from opponents of the measure who predicted Wisconsin would turn into the Wild Wild West--with gunfights breaking out all over the place and bullets flying left and right.

Of course I'm being facetious.  Unless you live in certain parts of Milwaukee, there will not be any gunplay in your neighborhood starting today.  The sound of gunfire will not become a regular part of your life.  And people will not be dueling at 30-paces on Main Street or in the park.  We will all go about our daily lives without any greater fear of getting shot--and eventually, we won't even think about the possibility of the person next to us having a concealed weapon on them--just like residents of 48-other states have been doing for years.

That is, until the first case of someone accidentally discharging their weapons in a public place--or the first case where someone actually uses a weapon in self-defense.  Then the media circus will kick into high gear--with coverage of the incident topping all newscasts all across the state.  The same folks who predicted gunfire in the streets will be back out claiming they were "right" about the law.  But then there won't be anything like that again for several years--and life will roll on.

I don't feel any less safe or any more safe today than I did when I went to bed last night.  And there is a good chance that I won't feel any different the tomorrow, the day after that or this day a decade from now.  A couple thousand people will exercise their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.  Good for them.  Jefferson and Monroe would be very proud.

The one thing I do find disconcerting is the number of bars and restaurants that have been quick to place signs on the doors and walls alerting everyone that concealed weapons are banned from their establishment.  Many of these are the same people who fought tooth and nail to keep cigarettes legal in their businesses--when those things are a thousand times more likely to kill their employees and customers than a woman carrying a handgun in her purse.  Apparently gun owners don't drink as much as smokers.

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