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The Holster On My Hip

To the Editor:

There is one other town between my home and Newtown. Through the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Newtown/Sandy Hook community, through friendships, work, shopping, dining, and socializing. I too, have personal connections to victims of the senseless tragedy that a madman committed that day.  My prayers, condolences, and best wishes have been, and continue to be offered to those that are suffering from that unthinkable act of  evil and violence.

I am also a gun owner. A legal, licensed, law-abiding, responsible gun owner. I belong to several firearms related organizations. Before now, you wouldn’t have known that though, as firearms issues have always been a matter of contention, and I had felt that it was a private matter for me. I’ve frequented Newtown’s businesses,  dined in their restaurants, built some of the more affluent homes in the community, and spent countless hours drinking coffee – all with a legal, concealed firearm.  You didn’t know that I carried a firearm, I didn’t advertise it, and we all got along wonderfully. You welcomed me, accepted me, shook my hand, and asked me to keep coming back. You didn’t call me a “gun nut” or  “militant” or  “crazy” or “a terrorist,’ or anything else.  I felt respected, and welcomed.

Recently however, in light of the relentless and undeniable attack on  our Second Amendment rights, I’ve made a decision to be more vocal and open about my beliefs.

I wore my holster on my hip.

Instantly, the community viewed me differently. And while I understand the emotions that fuel those feelings, I believe they are misdirected. I am not Adam Lanza. My firearms have never committed any crimes. I am still the same sane, responsible, upstanding, law-abiding member of the community that I have always been. Nothing has changed, I am the same man I was before.

A gun did not cause Newtown’s tragedy that terrible day. A madman did. He murdered his own mother before lashing out at the community’s most innocent and defenseless members. Insanity was the catalyst that fueled those horrific events, not firearms. The failure to adequately address a young man’s obvious and apparent mental health issues allowed the unthinkable to occur. It wasn’t the rifle’s fault. It wasn’t the fault of my firearms, or those of my friends. It wasn’t the fault of the millions of other responsible gun owners across our nation.

Judging me, categorizing me, and vilifying me for my firearm is narrow minded and unfair. I am not the cause of your grief. A gun is not the cause of your grief.  That is the uncomfortable truth that we all need to face. As with other recent tragedies, firearms didn’t kill that day, a madman did. The answers that will make a difference lie in adequately identifying, treating, and caring for those that don’t have the ability to think and behave as responsibly, and as rationally, as the rest of the community, there is where we can realize a measurable and lasting impact.

Lou Carpenter

Shelton                              August 14, 2013

More stories like this: 12/14, guns

Comments

Holster on Hip

That was an excellent letter and much appreciated by many (including many in Newtown)! To those that refer to us as gun zealot's........If a gun zealot would protect their family or yours upon being confronted by a madman, then I am one! If a gun zealot has a gun on his hip to protect themselves and others from evil, then I am one! If my wife has a gun to protect herself from madmen with evil intent, then she is one as well! Our weapons are not on our hip to cause alarm! They are there to protect ourselves and others from many criminals with pure evil in their heart! The police can't always be there in time to prevent evil people from committing tragic crimes (if they could be these tragedies would never happen)! As a Police Officer I was trained in the use of my gun and then had to qualify yearly! Most of the "zealots" I know practice on a weekly or monthly basis! Far more than most Police Officers! The "zealots" that I know will be the first ones moving in to help others in any kind of tragedy! They are our outstanding citizens! And like Lou Carpenter, most of the time you pass by us not knowing we are "zealots"! I am proud to be one and give my utmost respect to all the others who are respected members of their communities!

The Latest ...

Serioust backgorund checks and tight paperwork...

""This investigation of one of Connecticut's largest gun dealers revealed hundreds of record-keeping violations, improper sales, shoddy inventory procedures and seemingly non-existent store security," charged Acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly." ... Guns in public go way beyond police officers off duty and retired officers. Not all are "outstanding citizens".

http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Lanza-gun-seller-pleads-guilty-475...

Follow the story

If you follow this in the News times, Hartford courant, etc., you will see that there is a plea bargain for no jail time and he is allowed to quietly close his business.

So for all the tough new gun laws passed by Gov Malloy and the legislature and the promises from President Obama and Attorney General Holder to get serious about gun crimes and enforcing the law, once again nothing happens.

This is like the man caught with 11 machine guns last December in Greenwich who was plead down to one misdemeanor (so he could keep his license).

Insteadof restricting legal responsible owners (who will obey the laws anyway) enforce the laws you have on people who break them.

Help!

Most people want increased attention on Mental Health Issue and less on Arming with Weapons ... See the reaction to Georgia
Elementary School .... http://dailynightly.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/21/20122475-even-more-dete...

Another one - Same Day

"... The father is the suspected shooter and has been identified as, 52-year-old Jim Edwards.

Police say Edwards grabbed two .44-caliber revolvers and attempted to kill his family.

“The children were in the respective rooms and he went room to room, for lack of a better term, and shot at all the people,” Allegheny County Police Lt. Andrew Schurman said."

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/08/22/deadly-shooting-in-shaler/

Another One!

"... At this time there is no evidence that Torres’ gun was illegally obtained. The police have not charged him with any crime in relation to having the weapon. So we can assume he was a registered gun owner. Another ‘responsible’ gun owner blindly firing a weapon and a child is the collateral damage. Too harsh? Tough."

Read more: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/08/22/responsible-gun-owner-grandfathe...

How do you know ?

How do you know who the person carrying the gun on their hip is? I have been in law enforcement for 25 years and carried a pistol in uniform and out of uniform the entire time. Never once has anyone either noticed it or questioned me on it. For the last 10 years I was in a non-traditional uniform assignment. Normally I wore a jacket but in the summer often just a polo shirt and again I was never challenged nor told I made someone feel uncomfortable.

Exactly

Exactly! I have no idea who that person carrying a gun on their hip is, or what they might be prone to do with it in any given situation.

No Challenge!

Most people would hesitate to approach an individual who is openly carrying a gun holstered on their hip!!! Perhaps that is why no one has told you that your gun makes them feel uncomfortable.

We need to deal with the

We need to deal with the warnings before the shots, not just shoot. ---->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://gma.yahoo.com/brother-suspected-georgia-gunman-felt-something-stu...

RAE I cannot even believe you

RAE I cannot even believe you equate carrying a holster to being a terrorist. I, for one, would feel safer knowing there are good people with guns out there willing to defend us from nuts like Adam Lanza. Do you feel the police are terrorist too? To say gun carriers are zealots ready to kill just exposes your own irrational fear. Stop hiding behind 12/14 and grow up.

Believe

Police are trained professionals sworn to protect and serve. Of course they should carry and be ready to respond. Our safety is predicated on law and order and trained professionals. Citizens who holster on hips are not the police! I am not assured that they are "good people", or of their competence. If gun carrying zealots are not ready to kill, why open holster? Why carry a gun in any manner in public?

Far from hiding under 12/14, I embrace reasoned approaches to public safety and mental health, and not the rationalizing of arming every John and Jane Doe with a weapon to brandish openly in public or undercover. I have no irrational fear, but a sense of reality. Guns carried by a non-law enforcement officer in public settings may help testosterone levels of the one who brandishes, but are not peace makers or protectors.

The reaction of many to weapons, holstered or otherwise, by non-law enforcement individuals, in public in Newtown, is terror and a sense of disgust.

Believe but cannot except

Reasoned approaches to public safety? If you think the police are for public safety, you are misguided unless you plan to hire your own to follow you around. They are a reactionary force. They are rarely there when crimes are committed, especially by criminals with guns. They come after the damage has been done. If these shooters were aware that the people they intended to harm were armed, they would certainly think twice. This has been proven out in towns across this country where they have high rates of gun owners and crime is much less. If you go back in history, one of the reasons Hitler couldn't take the Swiss was because they are required to have guns in their houses. If you, in your mistaken judgement, believe only law enforcement be armed. We have no way to protect ourselves from the criminals who won't care about the gun laws. We would no longer be citizens, we would be subjects, but I'm sure our government appreciates your stance. Look at Chicago, the poster child for gun laws and see how that's working for them.

Holster on Hip in a school

Bringing a gun into a school ... Is it OK to walk in with a Holster on a Hip?

http://www.wfsb.com/story/23191257/police-at-mcnaie

Holster on Hip

If you feel you need to carry an weapon in Newtown, after the massacre on 12/14/12, you are a terrorist bringing fear into the open in our community. There is no purpose served, other than to beat the chest of the NRA and gun owners, and strike fear into the hearts of those still trembling from the loss of precious 1st graders and dedicated staff to gun violence. I know not the person holstering a weapon in the Diner while having coffee or Supermarket while shopping, but I know they are a gun zealot, ready to kill.

To RAE

To RAE: how about this. I AM a police officer. I have been a police officer for over thirty years. Under the terms of the federal Law Officers Safety Act I am empowered to carry a firearm not only throughout the state but throughout the nation, on or off duty, even after I retire. Why? Because the lobbyists who fought for that bill felt that after a career of arresting bad guys, I might make some enemies and they might want to say "thank you." And they might even retire to the same community I do.

Interestingly, no one is telling ME that I have to do the best I can with no gun and wait for the local police once I've retired to wherever that may be - because the people who lobbied for this bill (representing associations of law enforcement officers) know darned well what you are unwilling to admit in your posts even though it has been pointed out to you. Police aren't everywhere, and we usually can't get there in time to stop something awful from happening. All we can do is pick up the pieces afterwards, call for ambulances or hearses, and try to catch the bad guys after the fact. If you are accosted by a bad guy with a gun or a knife or a bat who is intent on killing you, you'd better be armed yourself or hope there's a good guy with a gun around. You can argue all you like but that's simply a fact. One of those armed citizens you disdain so much will be much more likely to save your life than I will - because they are more likely to be there than I am.

Statistically speaking, law-abiding gun owners are the most honest and law-abiding around - purely on statistical evidence they're more law-abiding than police officers. That too is simply a fact. Do people use guns to commit crimes? Sure they do. But guns are used overwhelmingly more often to STOP crimes than to commit them. Does that come as a surprise? That's because the anti-gun crowd only counts a gun as stopping a crime if it is FIRED. But most of the time, merely displaying a gun stops the crime in its tracks. In order to skew the statistics in their favor, the anti-gunners don't count those incidents.

So you might feel uncomfortable around people with guns, but you have no moral or ethical right to demand a reduction in their ability to defend themselves and their loved ones. People have been carrying guns in this nation since its founding because the founders enshrined in the Constitution the idea that every human being is born with the right to self-defense. Taking that away is a cure that is significantly worse than the disease.

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