Few of the anti-gun movement’s positions are as self-defeating and mean-spirited as the impulse to “out” others for the choices they make about their Second Amendment rights. Most of them try to justify prying into this private activity under the mismatched rubric of the “public’s right to know,” as if private individuals become public figures merely for the exercise of a fundamental right. In recent years, newspapers have published databases of Right-to-Carry and pistol permit holders, feigning interest in “public safety.” Yet their true motivations were more candidly illustrated recently by the comments of D.C. Councilmembers at a public hearing on D.C.’s new concealed carrying permitting law. “Who cares about the confidentiality of a gun owner? We don’t want it … ,” Councilwoman Yvette Alexander said, arguing to make permit holder information public. Fellow Council member David Grosso -- who also expressed his preference for “no guns at all” in the District -- concurred: “[A]t least we’ll all know who it is, and we can treat them differently ….”
In fact, such tactics are so counterproductive to public safety that even law enforcement officials from anti-gun jurisdictions have opposed the release of gun owner data, including most recently District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Making the anti-gunner’s hypocrisy even more transparent, they claim on the one hand to support stringent storage requirements and “lost or stolen” reporting mandates in order to diminish the effects of firearm theft. Yet at the same time, they call for making firearm ownership or licensing information public, in effect providing criminals with a roadmap of which homes do (and presumably don’t) contain guns, so they can plan their predations accordingly.
Now, according to ABC affiliate KAAL-TV, Kimberly Edson of Savage, Minn., has taken the impulse to “expose” gun owners in her community to a disturbingly personal level. When Edson discovered that Matthew Halleck, a former Parent Teacher Student Association president and father of two, drops his children off at school while lawfully carrying a concealed firearm, she sprang into action.
Edson initially called the police to report that Halleck was carrying a firearm near the school, but was enlightened by law enforcement officials that Halleck was well within his rights. The officious Edson then responded by surreptitiously taking a photo of Halleck walking with his child, blowing it up to poster-size, and crudely pasting it on a yard sign displayed in her front lawn. The photo is accompanied by a caption that states: “This man carries a loaded gun around your children every day.”
When interviewed by KAAL, Edson justified her actions by stating, "Since we don't have a way to stop him, we felt it was important to notify the neighborhood and the parents that there is an armed man in their presence.” Displaying a narcissistic disregard for the rights and choices of others in a pluralist society, Edson added, “I have a responsibility to help create the kind of community I want to see.”
Edson’s professed concerns are particularly absurd when one considers how unremarkable Halleck’s actions are. According to census data, along with right-to-carry permit statistics from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, on average, nearly one out of every 20 Minnesotans over the age of 21 is licensed to carry a concealed firearm.
Further, the elementary school in question is located in a densely populated residential neighborhood. Polling data suggests, meanwhile, that nearly half of American homes contain firearms, so several of the homes in the neighborhood surrounding the school likely contain firearms as well. Additional data showing “Personal safety/Protection” as the number one reason for Americans to own guns suggests that some of those firearms might even be loaded and ready for immediate use.
Edson could, of course, be strikingly ignorant (or willfully in denial) of the prevalence and purpose of lawful gun ownership in America. On the other hand, her actions could also simply lay bare a virulent bigotry towards gun owners devoid of any rational basis or legitimate concern for the safety of children.
As for Halleck, he hasn’t let Edson’s bizarre and un-neighborly behavior alter how he protects himself and his children. When interviewed by KAAL, Halleck called Edson’s sign “ludicrous.” Regarding the public debate over the choice to carry a firearm, he stated, “If it heightens the awareness for folks out there that are confident enough, and see the changes in the world to add an extra layer of protection, I encourage people to do it.”