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Gun People

By Larry Gross · August 24th, 2011 · Living Out Loud

This took place maybe five years ago. I consider myself a writer, but my business background still occasionally brings in consulting work. I was doing this for a company located in downtown Cincinnati. I’ll say downtown — maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I’m going to change a few facts around as I don’t want anybody to recognize themselves.

While talking with the owner and some of his employees, I couldn’t help but notice that the owner of the company, an older gentleman, always wore a suit. It was mid July and hot outside. He never took off his jacket. Never. When I mentioned this observation to some of the employees, one of them told me the business owner kept his jacket on because he was carrying a gun inside it.

This confirmed my belief that it’s always good to learn as much as possible when dealing with someone. The guy who owns this business also has a bad temper, so I told him in writing that his business basically sucked and would be better off to close its doors. Saying this in writing instead of telling him face to face was better than running the risk of getting my brains blown out.

Gun people: I don’t pretend to understand them. I don’t relate to people who carry guns, collect them or shoot them. To me, guns encourage violent behavior and are a danger to society.

I shot a gun once back when I was 11 or 12 years old. Living in the country, my father let me shoot his gun into a field. I remember the shot being loud and me falling down as the gun went off. It was scary.

I don’t think my grandfather owned a gun, but he did own a rifle. Back in the 1960s and living on a large farm, he would go hunting for deer or rabbit. I understand this. He was shooting for food to put on the table. He wasn’t looking for a fight with another human being.

In urban society, guns kill people.

I don’t go along with this bullshit that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people. If a regular citizen wasn’t allowed to carry a gun, then the temptation wouldn’t be there to pull the trigger when tempers flare. This especially holds true in bars.

I don’t get why Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law late last June that it’s now legal to carry a concealed weapon into a bar. Commonsense says that guns and alcohol don’t mix.

I don’t buy into the fact that gun-carrying patrons aren’t allowed to consume alcohol while carrying their concealed weapon. What’s a bartender suppose to do — check a customer’s pockets for a gun? Not all guns are concealed in pockets. You can put a gun in your sock, in your underwear or even up your ass.

When this new law starts to become old hat with bar owners and bartenders, the checking for guns will become lackluster. That’s when people will start getting shot. This law should go away. Until it does, you won’t ever find me in a bar late at night. I want to die from natural causes, not get shot by a person who’s had too many Budweisers.

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I don’t own a gun. I don’t even own a ball bat to protect myself or my belongings from intruders. However, I do own a pretty mean walking cane and I know how to use it — not only for walking but for beating up anybody after me or my stuff. I don’t need bullets and a gun for protection.

I’m for gun control. Yes, I want to take away your gun. I believe only a few people should be allowed to have them, and if wishing could make it so, here are some gun laws I’d like to see.

It goes without saying our military needs to keep their guns. It also should go without saying that we need less military.

I can go along with a person getting a hunting license and carrying a rifle. I don’t see the joy in killing animals for pleasure, but if that’s your hobby, so be it.

Police officers should, of course, be allowed to carry guns. Probably not all cops should be gun carrying cops, but that’s an argument for a different day. In general, police need to protect us from the bad people, and if any of these bad people get caught with a gun — assuming the rest of us citizens can’t own one — then that person should be put away for a very long time even if his or her original crime is jaywalking.

We need to become a more civilized society. We need to respect life and not allow ways to damage it. Some people understand this, but some will never be able to figure this out — like that business owner I did consulting work for.

A couple months after I got canned for being too honest, he got arrested in a downtown bar for pulling out a gun and almost shooting a guy. Following the case, I learned that charges were dropped except for one. He lost his gun license. He wasn’t allowed to ever carry a gun again.

End of story? Hardly. Only three weeks later, he was arrested in the same bar, this time for carrying an illegal gun. He couldn’t stop carrying a damn gun.

Gun people. I just don’t get them.

CONTACT LARRY GROSS: lgross@citybeat.com



08.24.2011 at 11:40 Reply
Your last paragraph undermined your entire point of view, and highlighted why it is so important to allow law abiding people to have them. Bad guys will have guns whether it's legal or not. Why can't I defend myself from them? I'm sorry your only experience with a gun was a poor one, and I'm sorry you have let that one experience influence your entire life. But as a writer, how would you feel if someone took away your first amendment right? Because it pisses me off that you want to take away my second.


08.25.2011 at 08:07 Reply
Using your logic we should also bring back prohibition since you seem to say alcohol and bars bring out the violence in people.


08.25.2011 at 09:35 Reply
"I don’t think my grandfather owned a gun, but he did own a rifle." SYNTAX ERROR - DOES NOT COMPUTE


08.25.2011 at 09:41 Reply
I am a liberal. I like CityBeat. The thing I like most about it is that it usually asks the obvious question, then goes one step beyond that and gets into deeper more interesting meanings. It approaches things from unique angles. I support many gun control principles, but I own several firearms. I grew up around them, and in my mind they are not the terrifying talismans that so many people find them to be. I respect your opinion, but I'm very disappointed that your argument and analysis wasn't more thoughtful. The gun community (which I admit that I am a part of) has plenty of flaws. You went after the "Guns don't kill, people kill people" line, but even that was a weak argument. How about examining the idea that "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns"? Then there's the saying that comes up over and over again in gun circles: "I'd rather be judged by 12, then carried by 6." That a meaty catchphrase to attack. A portion of the gun culture (a phrase which is inaccurate because it seems it implies we all have meetings or listen to the same music or something) has an obsession with off-the-wall scenarios that is so symptomatic of a larger issue, a book could be written about it. No mention of that here in your column. Take 10 minutes out of your day and explore the internet. When the real gun nuts aren't watching NASCAR and going to fundamentalist churchs, they are on internet forums. Here's my big issue with your piece. You never tell us why you think the way you do. You say you were scared by a gun, you say they hurt people. But why, in principle, do you think they should be banished from the planet? You say people should be able to hunt. You indirectly say that people should be able to defend themselves (with a cane). So where's the hang up? There are legitimate, thoughtful reasons for this, but you don't tell us any of them. Finally, you don't rebut any arguments that are typically used by "gun people." Murder rates in countries without guns can be as high as anywhere else. It's not legal to have guns in Mexico for example, but somehow they get them (easy rebuttal for this one, let's see if anyone picks up on it). Secondly, if arms are taken away from the people, they have no way to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. Argue these points, and I would actually be interested in your opinion. You don't usually write persuasive pieces, Larry. Maybe should avoid it in the future. If for some reason, you want to have your voice heard in the heated gun debate, do a little research first. Your surface analysis was pretty weak. There are big, solidly-grounded reasons for being against guns. I don't agree with them, but I respect them. None of these reasons were presented here.


08.25.2011 at 01:23 Reply
You can have my gun If I can have your pen.


09.15.2011 at 08:50

This took place maybe five minutes ago.  I do not consider myself a writer.  My background is in education and I continuously reinforce among my college students the importance of in-depth research and fact finding.  It is ok to have opinions.  It is better to have opinions supported by facts.  It is best to be able to combine opinions and facts into an intelligent argument. 


Liberal op-ed columnists: I don’t pretend to understand them.  I don’t relate to people who base opinions solely on emotion or go to great lengths in an attempt to persuade others that they know best.  To me, emotion-laden invective encourages bad policies that are a danger to society.


I shot a gun once back when I was 5 or 6 years old.  Living in the country, my grandfather let me shoot his .22-caliber Winchester model 94.  He would put a round in the chamber, grab hold of the barrel so that he could control the direction of the muzzle, and let me plink away.  The sharp crack was not scary, nor did the recoil cause me to fall down.  This was my introduction to shooting.


My grandfather owned several guns.  Back in the 1970s, and living on a large farm, he would go hunting—ground hogs, squirrels, chipmunks, grasshoppers.  While squirrels would occasionally end up as food on the table, he wasn’t looking for a fight with another human being.  Most folks in that part of rural Ohio knew he could shoot, knew how well he could shoot, and left him alone because of it.  Reputation has its advantages.


In urban society people kill people.  They kill people with knives, baseball bats and, yes, firearms.  I don’t go along with this bullshit that guns make people more dangerous.  People are already dangerous and have been since Cain was banished from Eden.  Firearms do have a certain mechanical advantage over knives but they cannot fire on their own.  They MUST have an operator.  Yes, accidents do happen. They cannot be prevented.  We call them “accidents,” not “on purposes.”  And the idea that regular citizens who choose to carry concealed handguns for self-protection will pull their guns when tempers flare fails when one looks at the evidence.  This is especially true of armed citizens in neighboring states that carry concealed in bars.


I get why Governor Kasich signed into law SB17 that permits law-abiding citizens with a CHL permit to carry their concealed handguns into facilities with class D liquor permits—Red Lobster, Olive Garden, etc.  These law-abiding citizens that have passed a criminal background check are unlikely to break the law by consuming alcohol while they are carrying their handguns.  Yes, this is an opinion, but I would wager that their past behavior of following the law tends to support this opinion.  I am tired of op-eds touting “gun-tinis”—we know that guns and alcohol don’t mix.  Get off of it.


Bartenders are not law enforcement officers. They are not empowered under the Ohio Revised Code to enforce laws governing the carrying of concealed firearms.  Ohio will soon be one of several states that permit legal CHL holders to carry concealed in restaurants—and yes, bars.  One need only survey data from the other states to conclude, rightfully, that there has been no upturn in alcohol induced shootings at neighborhood watering holes.  Again, people kill people.  It is statistically more probable that non-CHL holder who has no intention of ever purchasing a firearm will drink and, while driving home, be involved in fatal automobile accident.  No gun necessary.


In case you haven’t guessed it, I do own a gun.  I have it for protection.  I also have an alarm system and lights on timers.  We never intend to be the victims of crime, but it happens.  I don’t intend to burn my house down, but I still have fire extinguishers (loaded, no less). 


I’m for people control.  I don’t want to take away firearms from law abiding people, but I do want to make it more difficult for juveniles and criminals to get “strapped.”  I also believe something should be done to rein in the secondary market for firearms.  What that something is is still up for debate.


I cannot rely on police (even those that carry firearms) to be there to protect me 24/7.  When an intruder kicks in my door I need help immediately, not in five or six minutes and even that presumes that I am able to call for help.


In Ohio, to date, there are approximately 248,000 people with a permit to carry a concealed handgun.  Since the law went into effect in April of 2004, the number of CHL holders that have been charged with gun-related felonies can be counted on both hands with a few fingers left over.  This data is not hard to find.  CHL holders are not trigger-happy Wyatt Earps and permitting them to carry in restaurants—and yes, bars, will not change that.  Take a look if you dare at data for neighboring states that permit the legal carry of firearms into facilities that serve alcohol. 


I feel sorry for liberal op-ed writers.  I just don’t get them.