Law enforcement authorities have good reason to feel anxious now more than ever before when they make a traffic stop or otherwise engage the public over possible violations or questionable activities.
Because so many states have liberalized gun laws, police and other authorities have no way to know whether the person they might stop is carrying a firearm. Law enforcement officials now have become more vocal, speaking out in states with proposals to let more people conceal and carry or openly carry weapons, The New York Times reports.
The only question worth asking is: What took them so long?
Police officers are right to think that more weapons on the street will put more cops in danger with everyone in the public they encounter. That could involve every officer from the parking cop putting tickets on cars to officers responding to incidents of road rage or gun related violence.
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It’s not about police being paranoid. It’s just about officers being more wary that anyone could have a firearm and in a fit of rage or fear use it against them.
The public should never want police to feel anxious when a cops roll up on them. Usually that’s not a visit from “Officer Friendly” just to say hello or offer the pedestrian, motorist or city resident a cup of coffee.
Encounters with police generally are tense from start to finish because someone usually did something out of kilter — such as blow through a stop sign, run a red light, drive over the speed limit, go the wrong way on a one-way street, or look suspicious or out of place in a neighborhood or business area.
The police officer may seem calm and in control, but he or she is braced for the situation to degenerate into a seriously dangerous and potentially life-threatening encounter quickly. No one should ever want any officer to feel so uncomfortable.
If cops are having a good day and greet every person on the street like a friend, even if the officer gives a citizen a ticket it won’t feel so horrible if the cop is pleasant about it. People pushing to liberalize gun laws assume that everyone with a gun will own and use the weapon sensibly and responsibly.
That’s a flawed premise, and cops know it. They daily contend with cleaning up the mess that people with guns helped create — whether they are armed robberies, assaults with deadly weapons, home invasions in which an intruder brandished a firearm, domestic violence in which guns were used, suicides, shootings with injuries or homicides.
Already in Missouri, school districts can designate teachers and staffers to be “protection officers” armed with concealed weapons to school.
State legislators would only make matters worse this year if they were to pass a bill allowing residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit anywhere they now can carry guns openly. The Missouri legislature also this year considered whether to allow firearms on college campuses and on public transportation.
In 2017 because of action by the Kansas Legislature, guns will be allowed on college campuses. Kansas already allows people to take firearms into the Statehouse, which is a bad idea.
If the gun bills in Missouri were to pass, life would become a lot more dicey for law enforcement officers and everyone else. The driving force behind such measures follows the National Rifle Association logic — The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
But how does anyone know — especially the cops — which is which?