Bangor incident shows problem with open carry


Four heavily armed men walked into a Seattle Starbucks last Wednesday and … what?

Robbed the place? Shot somebody?

No, they ordered beverages. Perhaps lattes with little swirls of whipped cream on top, although that’s not specified in The Wall Street Journal story about the event, or incident, or whatever it was.

The men were trying to make a point, that more people should openly wear sidearms in public places. They are part of a movement called “open carry,” and they argue that we’ll all be safer when we all carry guns.

That’s foolish, and here’s a recent example why.

Bangor police last week arrested a 24-year-old man after his .357 Magnum accidentally discharged on a public transit bus, scaring the daylights out of the other passengers.  The slug went through the side of the bus and, fortunately, injured no one.

Police said Jason Robinson was showing his gun to another passenger when it went off.

If “open carry” proponents are successful, this is the sort of thing we can expect.

That and children picking up dad’s handgun off the coffee table.

And people shooting other people for small-time offenses, like stealing the hub caps off cars.

Or people hitting bystanders while firing at criminals.

Or people shooting at criminals then being shot by police who mistake them for criminals during gunfights.

Or people simply blowing their top and waving around handguns to express their anger.

Said one Starbucks barista last week: “The only thing worse than a yuppie upset with how their frappuccino turned out is a yuppie with a gun who’s unhappy with how their frappucino turned out.”

The list of things that can and will go wrong is far longer and more likely than the effective use of a handgun.

That’s because 98 percent of these gun enthusiasts won’t have a clue.

They will have no idea of the laws surrounding self-protection and deadly force. They will receive no formal training either in using their weapon or when to use it.

They will not regularly practice with that weapon to make sure they can actually hit what they are pointing at. And they most likely won’t know how to maintain that weapon or take the time to do so.

In short, they will have the same fire power as police officers, but without any of the training, preparation and practice to handle an actual deadly force event.

We support the right to own and keep guns, and we even support the legal right to carry them in public when appropriate.

But we’ll all be safer if men with guns leave them at home when they go out for a cup of coffee.

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