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Robert Houk

Opinion Page Editor
rhouk@johnsoncitypress.com
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As I See It

Let’s do away with permits and wear our guns proudly

December 10th, 2012 8:47 am by Robert Houk

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey caught higher education officials off guard last week when he told them he wants to allow gun permit holders to take their guns on college campuses. That’s a good start, but it’s not enough.
Ramsey should pass a bill to allow people to carry their guns — without the state’s sanction — anywhere they want. There’s nothing in the Second Amendment that says an American must get a government permit to carry a gun, so why does the state of Tennessee think we need one?
I know there are some folks who say the permit is needed so that people will get the proper training in how to handle their guns. Poppycock! Everyone knows that a true American is born with gunpowder on his fingers.
The only people who might need training in handling their guns are liberals (because everyone knows, aside from Atticus Finch, liberals can’t shoot straight).
Ramsey could do us all a big favor by abolishing the permit process altogether. We should be able to strap on our six-shooters — without a piece of government paper — for a trip to the grocery store, post office or church.
The fact is you never know when trouble will raise its ugly head, so it’s best to be prepared. Having a 9mm in a glove compartment of a car in a parking lot is no help when a desperado starts mayhem inside an office building. Having a weapon on your hip at all times is the only way to keep evil at bay.
Which leaves me to my next point: Guns should not be concealed. Bank robbers carry canceled weapons, so do hired assassins, terrorists and foreign spies. If you are packing heat, I want to know. Heroes wear their guns for all to see.
Law enforcement officials are opposed to people carrying their pieces in public. That’s wrongheaded. Guns are a great deterrent to mischief, and having more guns on the street can only help curtail violence. It’s like during the Cold War, when this nation kept communism in check by having more nuclear warheads than the Soviets.
I believe the reason so many cops are opposed to citizens carrying guns is that it would do so much to reduce crime that they fear it might put them out of a job.
I know there are some nervous nellies who say this Wild West stuff is just a bunch of hooey. They claim lawmen like Wyatt Earp forced cowboys to surrender their guns before heading into town.
You have to remember, however, that folks back 100 or so years ago didn’t understand the Constitution like we do today. Thank goodness we have the National Rifle Association to educate the public about the Second Amendment.
No place should be off limits to gun toting. That includes the place where members of the state General Assembly do their work. Just think of the sight of Ramsey, in his cowboy boots, patrolling the halls of the state Legislative Plaza with his trusty six-shooter on his hip.
Ramsey, by the way, has RR stamped on his each of his custom-made cowboy boots (for Ron Ramsey, not Roy Rogers). But some might easily mistake Ron Ramsey for Roy Rogers if, like Rogers, Ramsey strapped on some shooting iron to conduct his business.

Robert Houk is Opinion page editor for the Johnson City Press. He can be reached at rhouk@johnsoncitypress.com.

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