Maybe it needs to be stated again: It's a glorious, time to be a gun owner and/or a firearms proponent in the United States of America.
Maybe it needs to be stated again: It's a glorious, time to be a gun owner and/or a firearms proponent in the United States of America. We're home to so many mass shootings of various sizes and scope these days that it's hard to keep them straight when we're offering our thoughts and prayers, and yet nothing changes. Our elected leaders, influenced by well-funded special interests like the National Rifle Association, are paralyzed.
And, yet, gun owners and firearms advocates feel so unfairly persecuted. It's like complaining that your Nestle Quik is too chocolatey. Take a couple of gulps to free up some space in your glass, add some more white milk, stir it in, and it'll be amazing.
The scene that unfolded at Crookston Sports Center earlier this fall, during The Big One Craft Fair, is the latest example, at least locally. All the armed guy had to do was, to keep the chocolate milk metaphor going, add a little white milk and everything would have been fine. But, properly licensed to legally carry a firearm in Minnesota, he chose to carry his gun for everyone who glanced at him to unmistakably see, and it was loaded. He was escorted out of the CSC by law enforcement, who confirmed that he was legally licensed in accordance with Minnesota's permit to carry law, and since that incident, the Crookston Park Board has voted in favor of banning firearms at the CSC.
It's a semi-puzzling turn of events, that Park Board vote. After all, Parks and Recreation Director Scott Riopelle, who also manages the CSC, said of the armed man at the craft fair that if he'd simply concealed his weapon, everything would have been fine. But, legally, he’s not required in Minnesota to conceal is firearm. So what this comes down to is that some people at the craft fair that day felt uncomfortable when they saw an obviously armed man who didn’t appear to be any type of law enforcement officer.
That’s at least a little understandable, is it not?
This discussion is not over. City Administrator Shannon Stassen told the Times last week that the Crookston City Council will be addressing the matter, and that there is much legal research to be conducted before that happens. So let’s let that play out.
But, back to the armed man at the CSC during that packed craft fair...
It would be fascinating to interview him, as well as others who arm themselves basically everywhere they go. Do they feel they're helping out law enforcement, acting as some sort of un-deputized deputies, ready to unleash vigilante justice if someone else opens fire? Because if they feel that way, that doesn't match up well with many in law enforcement who wish they had fewer armed people to worry about everywhere they go. Did the man at the CSC feel he was performing some sort of duty, acting as some sort of de facto protector of all those innocent craft enthusiasts enjoying a public event? Or does he just like showing off his guns and celebrating his freedom to carry one? Either way, should a bunch of innocent craft enthusiasts have to be exposed to such behavior, worry about it, or even consider it? Can't people go to a public building and buy some fun items without wondering how many people around them have a loaded gun on them?
But this individual at the CSC, he took all the wondering out of it. He made it obvious to everyone that he was armed, and loaded. Yes, state law is on his side, but he could have done everyone a favor and made the day a loss less eventful for everyone there by simply and easily concealing his firearm.
People were at the CSC that day to buy crafts and other items. They weren’t in search of some kind of hero, or a showoff-y display of firearm freedom.