Have you ever heard of something called a “community gun”? We learned about this not too long ago after one such weapon was found in the base of a light pole reportedly not too far from where we live. (Don’t worry; it wasn’t in any of the Observer towns.)
A community gun is a weapon — usually a handgun — that drug dealers and carjackers and others of that ilk share amongst themselves. Someone acquires it, likely illegally, files off the serial number (if that hasn’t been done already) and then stashes it someplace where it will be readily available for use, but not readily found by the cops. Now and then, it is moved to another secure hiding place, the better to keep it in the criminals’ hands.
Those in the know — the neighborhood drug dealers, carjackers, et al – are privy to the gun’s location: a drainpipe, a rooftop, a light pole, etc. If they’ve got a crime on their calendar, they can fetch the thing, use it for whatever nefarious purpose and re-stash it for the next gangster who needs a weapon.
We doubt anyone in any community-gun network is a member of the National Rifle Association. Neither do we believe that NRA members were preferred customers at a certain mom-and- pop deli in Newark that offered a rent-a-gun service.
If you needed a weapon, you could go to the shop, leave a deposit, leave with a gun and then return it when you had committed whatever crime you had intended to commit. The proprietors even offered a bonus to regulars: free latex gloves. (These didn’t have to be returned.)
We learned about that place from a law enforcement source, who noted that it eventually got busted by the feds. But neither he nor we believe this sort of thing isn’t still going on somewhere.
We’re sharing these stories in the context of the increased rhetoric demonizing legal American gun owners, and especially the NRA, in the aftermath of the rash of horrific mass shootings in this country. In this space last week, our colleague Ron Leir added to the chorus, suggesting that the NRA “dispatch units overseas to hunker down with U.S. and allied military detachments, say in Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen or Liberia, and thin out some of those bad boys in the Islamic State, Boko Haram, etc.”
Since we believe in the First Amendment as well as the Second, we are exercising our freedom-of-the-press right to express our own opinion. Which is that the NRA is needed at home, to hunker down against the bad boys who are within our own borders. Or will be.
Following the Dec. 2 California massacre by Mr. & Mrs. Jihad — none in power dared call it “terrorism” for quite a while, right? — the talk from the top focused, not on the terrorist threats against Americans, but on tougher gun control laws.
(Which it also did, incredibly, after the recent terrorist bloodbath in Paris.) As if mass murderers give a shoot about any laws, much less those regulating weapons possession. (By the way, that includes the wacko who shot up the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado.)
Our support goes to people such as Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum of Ulster County, N.Y., who, the day after the California carnage, posted the following message on his official Facebook page:
“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO.
“I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm.
To ensure the safety of yourself and others, make sure you are comfortable and proficient with your weapon, and knowledgeable of the laws in New York State with regards to carrying a weapon and when it is legal to use it.
“I also want to remind all Police/Peace Officers both active duty and retired to please carry a weapon whenever you leave your house. We are the thin blue line that is entrusted in keeping this country safe, and we must be prepared to act at any given moment.”
Boy, did he take some flack for that. But he also got a lot of “Bravos!” Finally, here was a public official publicly expressing what a lot of people were thinking.
And please do note his emphasis on abiding by the law.
Van Blarcum reportedly estimated there are more than 10,000 licensed handgun owners in Ulster County. We think the bad boys may have taken Ulster County off their potential “soft target” site list.
Last week, we heard one enlightened TV commentator (we’d give him credit if we recalled who it was) say — we’re paraphrasing– “America is under attack, and our leaders want to disarm Americans. Think about that.”
Please do think about it. And about the old NRA slogan: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
Anyone have a spare bumper sticker?