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Chan Lowe: Gunslinging condo commandos


Lost in the impassioned arguments about the Second Amendment and the right to defend oneself from government and each other is the question of what “open carry” might do to the already fragile fabric of society.

Let’s set aside the prospect of someone opening fire in a restaurant and forty would-be heroes suddenly responding with a hail of bullets, only guessing at who actually began the conflict.

Instead, let’s talk about what makes us civilized, and what makes America free. Guns don’t make us free, much as the NRA’s literature would have you believe it. What makes us free is the ability to govern ourselves, to make laws through a democratic process, and the mutual understanding that we will obey these laws once they are enacted.

It is the expectation of redress of grievances, and trust in fairness as dispensed by our legal system, that keep our society stable.

The system lets us down all the time, but the ideal, and our commitment to it, remain. This is the real glue that binds us. It cannot be forced or enforced from the barrel of a gun.

Robust yet civil argument is the lifeblood from which the system draws its strength. This is why it is so unsettling to us when argument becomes uncivil; it means the system isn’t working. When it stops working, and the disaffected feel their views haven’t been given their proper due, they begin thinking of empowering themselves in ways not sanctioned by the system.

Wearing a gun is another way of saying that, ultimately, all disagreements have the potential of ending in violence if they don’t turn out to our liking. This is antithetical to the process the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Deep in its corporate-sponsored heart, you have to wonder if this is what the NRA really believes those learned gentlemen had in mind when they ratified the words, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”

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No thanks.

It seems that every pro-gun advocate has only one platform: carry guns and be ready to take the law into your own hands.

Folks, it doesn't work. It leads to more violence.

I believe people have seen too many cowboy or superhero movies, and believe they're the hero.

It's clear this argument really comes down to how much faith you have in your fellow citizens. If you like to carry a handgun and feel that everyone should, then you also carry enough faith that people who also carry actually know how to use them and have some sort of inner guide to help them decide when to shoot (or not). So how do we gauge this? You have enough faith to trust guns in the hands of the masses, but not enough faith in those very same people because they carry guns and shoot people? That's why guns are good? And we should carry them openly? And make them readily available (to reduce violence)?

Pretzel logic, methinks.

If, like myself, you believe that semi-automatic and automatic weapons belong only on a battlefield, then that means I have less faith in humanity, right? Well I do. I see that we have more violent crimes than any other modern nation, and we're the only one who allows semi- and automatic weapons to be produced here.

I have no request to eliminate guns, nor do I believe that will change anytime soon. But the vigilante argument I read does not hold water.

While you can tell me that you might be responsible, and capable, most people are not, are not trained, and have no idea when the "right" time to use a handgun is.

Furthermore, our constitution created that right to form a militia in times of NEED.

The intention was not to have people walking around with handguns, ready to shoot each other at the drop of a dime.

Didn't work in the Wild West, and it won't work now.

i carry my licensed, concealed sig 232 for protection of me & my family...NOT to take the law in my own hands. i hope i never have to fire it at goal would not be to go after somebody & take them out. but if that horrible situation ever happened, at least my firing at the bad guy would make him put his head down so i & my family could escape.

i will never be hiding under a table praying the shooter doesn't see us.

contrary to the liberal opinion expressed here...licensed gun carriers are not the ones shooting people.

Gun owners do not necessarily beleive in taking the law into their own hands. But they do have faith in their ability to protect themselves and their loved ones.
When guns are absent from the hands of law abiders, criminals have a free pass.
Check the crime rates where guns are banned.....

I'd rather know if a person was packing heat. Of course out here in the 'glades, it is assumed that we all pack heat from 14 year old thugs to 85 year old grannies

For those who are packing and think they can come up on a situation and draw their weapon, YOU'D BETTER READ THE CASTLE DOCTRINE!!!

Condo Commando's wearing guns.? Most gated Condo's are like Gulag's...I sometimes get the feeling it's to keep the inmates in---But,they do get loose & then drive on the streets & shop at the malls.
They usually keep busy playing "King of the Hill".....Toppling the current King off his throne & replacing with another.
But- Condo Commando's wearing guns.? We might be reading about some very lively board meetings..I'll be watching FloriDUH in the Sun-Sentinel a little closer....

Better Next Time, I hope you're some kind of joke. You speak as if a perfect utopia society is what we live in, if only law abiding citizens didn't carry guns. Please show me a legal concealed carry permit holder who just goes off and shoots innocent people. Oh wait, criminals are criminals because by DEFINITION, they break the law. The only people hurt by gun regulations are the law abiding citizens like myself.

Chan Lowe is a sheep that is good with crayons.

I see all the same arguments about lawful concealed carry of firearms. As I recall, about 20 years ago, one of the Florida Universities had a problem with rapists on campus. 2 things changed that:
The State of Florida liberalized concealed carry law.
The university in question sponsored well publicized and attended concealed carry classes.
Problem solved.
No "old west," no "drunken shootouts at Frat/Sorority parties, no car accidents being resolved at 10 paces. The wailing and gnashing of teeth that occurred locally and nationally was deafening. As is the silence that continues to this day since the hoplophobes were again proven wrong.

The facts are that all gun opponents predict carnage when gun rights are strengthened. The fact is when it happens, crime tends to go down. The latest case in point is Chicago just recorded a 14% drop in crime after gun ownership was legalized there.

"What makes us free is the ability to govern ourselves, to make laws through a democratic process, and the mutual understanding that we will obey these laws once they are enacted.

It is the expectation of redress of grievances, and trust in fairness as dispensed by our legal system, that keep our society stable."

In that case, open carry and the supremacy of state law over local law (regarding both open and concealed carry) are the law of the land in Florida. These laws have been passed by both houses of the State Legislature by the elected representatives of the people of Florida and signed into law by the duly elected Governor of Florida, Since according to your stated criteria those citizens who choose to open carry and those who are duly licensed to carry concealed who do so are obeying the law, then what is your objection to people obeying the law?

If you have a grievance regarding those laws then by all means, petition your representatives to change them. And while it is certainly your right to lie about their import and effect on these pages, you surely should realize that misrepresentation, ignoring factual counter-arguments, and transparently lying won't help you make your case.

I'm glad to see that comments are still open. I offer perhaps the best essay on why guns are civilizing as opposed to creating chaos. Here's just the opening paragraphs. I hope others will go read the whole thing.

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

Apparently and completely lost on the cartoonist is what it means to have a fiduciary duty and be an elected member of a HOA Board. Unless he's depicting a Board outing to the gun-range for some training. C'mon, Florida is a place where gun ownership is particularly common and not even noteworthy, sheesh.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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