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A law-abiding peaceful American

Every year we will have another chance to make Minnesota a safer place. Take a look at the current proposals that would make it realistic for competent, law-abiding adults to defend themselves outside of home.

In talking to people, I have heard several questions repeated time and time again. Perhaps answering them here would save you the trouble of having to ask.


Q: Why would anyone want to be armed in the first place?
A: Police cannot protect everyone at all times and you may want to be able to help yourself, if need be.

Q: Can't we all just learn martial arts instead?
A: My friend Andrea advocated just that. However, she is young, strong, agile and has had a decade of training. Hand-to-hand combat against a mugger or a rapist remains an unprofitable option for an older person, or someone with a disability.

A life-saver

Q: Won't we have people just blowing away everyone in sight?
A: The only change in the law will be to prohibit arbitrary discrimination in the awarding of carry permits. All applicants will still have to take a course which includes legal aspects of self-defense. They will also learn about avoiding confrontations and conflict resolution techniques. In the thirty-one states where concealed carry is common, no innocent bystanders ever got shot by holders of concealed carry permits.

If it saves the life of one child

A personal defense weapon is for the gravest extreme only. It is a last-resort tool for saving lives when trying to avoid or outrun danger has failed. Even when a defensive shooting is justified, legal expenses would be in the tens of thousands...an additional strong incentive to keep that gun holstered and out of sight. Brandishing or reckless discharge of a firearm would, likewise, result in revocation of the license and possible charges.

In addition to the hefty responsibilities, personal sidearms confer the power to save lives. Amazingly, we do not question that banks and various elected hacks employ armed gurds to protect their money and themselves - all the while telling you and me to be unarmed, unable to protect our own families!

Would you bet your life on pepper spray?

Q: The "Campus Safety Booklet" I got at school suggests using keys or a flashlight or just scratching attacker's face. And what about pepper spray?
A: Police officers use pepper spray as an alternative to firearms, not as a substitute. Neither pepper spray nor improvised self-defense tools like car keys are effective enough for you to bet your life on them.

proven effective in 31 states

Q: If firearms are so effective for self-protection, why do Minnesota laws allow very few people to carry them?
A: Some people think that allowing competent, law-abiding citizens who have demonstrated proficiency to carry handguns would result in carnage and blood running in the streets. In reality, violent crime has dropped in every one of the thiry-one states where people can get permits to carry.

A friend, who preferred to remain anonymous, has suggested describing her situation, which is quite typical. It vividly illustrates the problem with the current law.

Dear Stalker, please write me a letter,

Remember when you started calling me two years ago? You told me how much you knew about me, my name, where I lived, that I did not drive and so had to walk to get anywhere. You kept calling me, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, always from blocked numbers.

I called the cops about you. Because they do not view stalking as "an immediate threat", I had to leave a message. they responded two days later and told me to write down the times when you called me. I learned how to trace phone calls from the phone company. If the phone company traces three calls to the same number, they would write a letter to my stalker. If my stalker called from different or untraceable numbers, they cannot even do that much.

Women have a right to self-defense

Now, my dearest stalker, I have a dilemma. You know, and you enjoy knowing, that you have intimidated me. I cannot safely go out at night to watch a movie or to buy a carton of milk. I dare not go anywhere alone. You can well imagine that this limits my life considerably, especially here, where nights are long much of the year and I do not get off work until after dark.

The police are of no help. They cannot station a cop by my door nor have one escort me everywhere. Since I am not a politician, the State does not provide me with a bodyguard and I cannot afford to hire one full-time. I hope you don't mind that I have solved part of the problem. I can now feel secure in my home, because I have means of defending myself here.

Yet another reason to own a gun

The other problem, how to survive outside of my home, remains. In our state, getting a permit to carry requires "showing a compelling need." That means that being a public figure or carrying large sums of money would qualify me for a permit. Being merely a law-abiding woman pursued by a stalker would not be a good enough reason from me to get a permit.

If I had physical evidence, perhaps a bullet hole or two in my windows, they would consider giving me the permit. So, my dear stalker, please write to me. A letter stating clearly who you are and when you plan to attack me would go a long way toward convincing my local Chief of Police that I deserve a means of self-protection.

A woman in Minneapolis


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