New Hampshire has now joined a number of other states in a controversial move to allow residents the ability to carry concealed guns without any sort of licensure. Last week, New Hampshire passed a law which doesn’t require residents to have a permit to carry a concealed handgun. What was once permitless open carry is now permitless concealed carry, giving a person the right to conceal a pistol or revolver unless otherwise prohibited by a criminal record.
This, then, allows someone with little to no understanding of gun safety the same opportunity as a gun enthusiast to conceal a handgun in public. When considering this by itself, some may feel a sense of skepticism or intimidation.
Here in New Hampshire, we tend to do things with the “Live Free or Die” state of mind. However, we are not alone. Other New England states, such as Vermont and Maine, also do not require a permit to conceal a handgun in public. According to , “At least 11 states have passed laws allowing the concealed carry of guns without a permit, and 16 states have introduced legislation this year to do the same, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Rifle Association.” What triggers one person to seek protection with firearms will differ from another, whether that person’s intentions are harmless or not.
We at The Equinox feel the law was just fine the way it was, where individuals had to obtain a permit to conceal handguns. We do not really see an issue if the weapon is visible. However, we do see an issue with having to guess who is and who is not armed when strolling down the sidewalk. This uncertainty may cause some to feel less safe and, perhaps, even intimidated. We see no problem for a regular, law-abiding citizen to go through the permit process and prove they are knowledgeable and trustworthy enough to have concealed carry.
We at The Equinox are fine with having no permit to carry a gun openly. With open carry, a sense of transparency is delivered to others so they know for sure that this person has a gun. We shouldn’t be left to wonder who is or isn’t armed.
We are aware that guns themselves do not kill people, people kill people. However, we also take into account that guns make it a lot easier for people to kill.
The idea that we need to wield a gun to protect ourselves from another individual with a gun could be erased if we just didn’t carry guns around in the first place. If one feels that unsafe that he or she has to have a gun hidden in their purse or pocket to walk down the street in public, then there are bigger issues on a societal level to address.
Guns and the right to bear arms are embedded in our country’s roots. We at The Equinox are in no way anti-gun. We just feel if an individual feels the need to carry in public, it should be carried openly so the public can see who’s armed. If one wants to play hide-and-go-gun, then store them away secretly in a closet at home, not secretly shoved into a tube sock or something in a public setting.
Although this rule may not apply everywhere on properties where guns are already prohibited, such as a college or university campus, it could still affect those on those properties. Let’s take a look at Keene State’s campus, for example, and its geographical location to downtown. Main Street runs right at the top of Appian Way. If an individual wanted to conceal his or her gun when walking on the perimeter of campus, they legally could. Yet, if they stepped a foot onto campus, that act would be prohibited. However, the bullet in this individual’s gun could be shot from the sidewalk and travel a long distance down Appian, where guns aren’t tolerated. That person doesn’t need to step foot on campus to cause harm. Yes, someone who’s carrying that same gun openly could do the same thing. The only difference is we’d see them approaching with a gun in a holster on their hip. We could see the event unfold before it happens if we can visibly see the weapon. This is nothing more than a hypothetical “what if” example, but it’s important to keep in mind.
Gun safety starts with gun education so that some of the stigma associated with owning and carrying guns can be lessened or eliminated. We feel that not enough education has soaked into enough minds for each and every one of those minds to consciously be able to decide whether they conceal or keep his or her gun visible in public.