Concealed Carry Signage (Anon)
From the curators: We are familiar with signage that alerts people to the fact they are entering a zone where weapons are not allowed—concealed or otherwise. The signage above, however, is also becoming more prevalent. Simple and direct, the graphic treatment belies a dramatic cultural shift in the public’s relationship to handguns. As the animated GIF at the bottom of the post shows, there has been a drastic change in the laws regarding “concealed carry” over the past three decades in the United States. “Shall issue” states, where private citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons, are now in the majority. In these places, authorities shall issue a license to anyone who seeks one if basic criteria are met. Illinois became the last state to have its no-issue law overturned in July 2013.
There is nothing more emblematic of modern violence than the firearm. It is the epitome of the worst kind of power and authority that seeks dominance through threats of harm or death. The distance from which it can be deployed amplifies the gulf in empathy between the person shooting and the human being shot. The knife, the rope, the bludgeon, the fist: all require an intimacy with the target. The gun separates and makes death nearly effortless, even impulsive. We see no blood upon the metal; it has no future, no past, no soul.
Some talk about their firearms like others speak of loved ones. The gun is cold even as they warm to it. American culture is so removed from the horror of gun death that filmmakers and television producers routinely use it as entertainment. Consumers purchase these weapons—leaving unexamined the justifications for launching bullets in the first place—in denial of the long-term physical, emotional, financial, and relational consequences of the movement of finger upon trigger. Are they in love with the power of having control over the explosion from the barrel, or the feeling of dominance, a false facade of strength? If so, over whom is the power exerted? The guns grow bigger and bigger as the heart shrinks smaller and smaller.
Automatic weapons, for which there is no explicable need in any modern social setting, multiply the violent potential exponentially beyond ordinary guns; these weapons have the power to wipe out a community in little more than a heartbeat. No emotional tie to the weapon’s design or its place within the constitutional history of our country can usurp the emotional devastation of those who have had bullets rip their flesh or the flesh of one they love.
Firearm violence has a distinctly male face all the way from trigger to victim. Nearly 90% of shooters are men and boys, as are 90% of those buried by gun violence. So violence is a men’s issue; we are the ones doing most of it; we are the ones being maimed and killed. And yet the suggestion that men need to get involved in stopping it meets with remarkable resistance and charges of “male bashing,” as if merely talking about it in gendered terms is a bigger problem than the violence itself. Those that profit from violence pander to the American taste for retributive justice with catch phrases like “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” (Never let the data get in the way of a good argument.) Statistically, the one most likely to be injured or killed is the “good guy” who owns the gun or someone who lives in the same home. Restorative justice is so far from the discussion that most people don’t even understand the concept.
If we take contemporary pop culture as a measure, then it seems as if we are more interested in the entertainment value of death than the destruction of citizens, right up until they become those citizens who are our family and friends or those who live in our neighborhoods. Then we build a memorial and let the 24-hour media roll in until we are ready to move on to the next spectacle. We act as billiard balls that bump into one another now and then rather than as interconnected nets; in the way we participate in the spectacle of gun culture, we end up becoming the locus of violence.
May 21, 2014, 10:27 pm
Mr/retired Police Officer
With proper training it makes for a safer environment. Having worn a badge for 35 years, I feel safer being able to still carry because of numerous threats against my safety over the years.
May 22, 2014, 6:07 am
Interesting view point. You mentioned some specific statistics but did not cite sources. Also you made mention of automatic weapons. Automatic weapons are used by the military and are not available to civilians. Did you mean semi-automatic? I respect your opinion but please take the time to learn the facts about guns so that you may deliver an accurate message.
May 22, 2014, 4:42 pm
“There is nothing more emblematic of modern violence than the firearm.” So true. Firearms are designed for violence. That is their purpose, their reason for existence; they have no other. To argue that instruments of death are instruments of peace is perversity of the most egregious kind.
Arguing that carrying a weapon makes one “feel safer” misses the point entirely. This isn’t about how you feel. it’s about how likely that weapon of yours is to bring about violence, regardless of who ends up being hurt or killed. On this the data is clear: those who own and use weapons are more likely to be hurt or killed by them.
May 23, 2014, 6:30 pm
Concealed weapons scare the crap out of me. They don’t belong in museums or in any public place. Our society in the US is out of control. Everyone is the enemy of everyone else.
May 23, 2014, 6:36 pm
What Is Violence?
It seems that you are confusing the term “violence” with “self-defense” in some instances. Is defending oneself from an attack an act of violence? I think not. Violence has a malicious intent. Therefore, those that are the ones perpetrating the violence are the ones at fault. Can you tell me one instance where an act of unprovoked violence was caused by someone with a legal concealed carry license?
May 24, 2014, 7:14 pm
Amos S Sawyer 111
Over the years my view has gone through many changes and reached different conclusions on guns as they relate to my environment. As a child the gun was a tool used for hunting,or target sports which many prefer not to call sport. The media and film glorified the use of guns as weapons for both war and crime which in turn gave the referred power to the street gangs which have destroyed much of the good which the urban life can offer. Currently the terrorist zeal with mass killings or the schizophrenic which finds no other release for inner turmoil have become a factor of the equation. The latest coming from a Red Robin Restaurant in N.C. placing a signage on their premises stating ” NO Weapons…..NO Concealed Carry allowed on these premises ” were robbed at gun point by three criminals. If one person carried one gun to stop the three at a minimal there are five shots versus fifteen at multiple directions. Difficult but could save lives. After the shootings at Va. Tech. and trying to imagine the Professor’s standing behind closed doors as the only barrier to protect his students, I chose to apply for a concealed carry. I chose cc not simply to hide the fact that I had a gun but to avoid frighting the general public. Also to not lead anyone astray my male hormones do not have an ego acquirement need and this power sought may someday give someone else another day……….
December 17, 2014, 8:22 pm
Take a look at places like Chicago, La, Ny, they all seem to have a high crime rate and one thing in common, strict laws on weapons. Now while the regular citizen will obey the regular criminal will not and they will target those who can not protect themselves. It’s fact. Then look at countries and cities with loose gun laws, exactly the opposite, how does crime rate drop do drastically. It makes the criminal think again before committing a crime. Being a veteran and hearing that ISIS is targeting and my family is yet another reason, you sir are scared of something your not familiar with is all