Selling firearms at shopping malls is a horrible idea, argues Rick Christie, a staff writer from the Palm Beach Post.
“You can purchase a lot of things at the mall nowadays, from candles to cars,” he opines in a recent op-ed. “But a hunting rifle? No. Too many targets. Too little security. And too much individual instability.”
What led him to sound off on the subject is news that Dick’s Sporting Goods might move into The Gardens Mall, in Palm Beach. Dick’s, as we all know, sells firearms and ammunition.
Christie’s argument hinges on various tired anti-gun arguments. To give you the rundown: There is “just something wrong about this,” it has a “disregard for public safety,” makes it “easier” for bad guys or careless gun owners to hurt people, “a criminal could smash the window and grab it,” it’s harder on security officers, and concealed carriers might get confused and shoot a gun purchaser.
My favorite is the last one because it takes the absurdity to a whole new level. Christie actually quoted local Police Chief Stephen Stepp to make that point.
“You go with an expectation at the mall that you’re not going to see somebody walking through the mall or walking through the parking lot with firearms,” said Stepp.
Stepp went on to explain the mindset of concealed carriers who see folks purchasing or returning long guns at Dick’s. “They may say, ‘Hey, I’m going to be the hero’ and take out this guy they perceived as a threat.”
That is so detached from reality it is laughable. Pretend a father is walking into Dick’s to return a Ruger 10/22, accompanied by his young son. Now, I’m just going to go up and shoot them both in the face because they are a “threat” and I want to be a hero. Give me a break!
For the vast majority of concealed carriers, a gun is a defensive weapon. Not an offensive one. Something to deploy only when things go (to use Clay’s phrase) pear-shaped. If there’s even the slightest bit of unease about a potential individual, or situation, the goal is to get outta dodge ASAP. Call the cops. Be a good witness, as they say. The notion that every gun owner wants to be Wyatt Earp is part of the pathology of anti-gunners.
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Most people, regardless of there experience carrying, understand the basics of threat assessment. Intuitively, they know the difference between a casual shopper and “Hey, there’s something off about that guy.” They also know the difference between a guy carrying a newly purchased rifle in a box and a crazed psycho loading, pointing, aiming and shooting one in public. The latter situation requires some sort of intervention, the former does not.
The only people that are going to have trouble with guns being sold at Dick’s are the hoplophobes. Those with an irrational fear of guns. Those who see a gun, any gun, and think, Oh my god! This father and his ten-year-old boy are dangerous. But thankfully, they’re so afraid of guns that we don’t have to worry about them shooting anyone or trying to take matters into their own hands.
With over 600 Dick’s stores nationwide, many of which presumably sell guns and are close to malls and shopping centers, there is no evidence to suggest that these retail outlets are magnets for carnage or reckless vigilantism. None whatsoever. Like every other anti-gunner out there, Christie’s fears are widely overblown.