Annie, Get Your Gun… As Long As It’s Legal!

Many Americans have a fear of guns. Every time there is a report of a mass shooting – whether at a church, a school, a shopping mall, a musical concert – millions of people cry out for changes in gun laws, if not the outright repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which allows individuals the right to keep and bear arms.

There is one side of the political spectrum that wants the Second Amendment repealed, and wants all guns confiscated from individuals and used only by police officers, the military and private security details. The other side of the spectrum wants current gun laws enforced, and believes that the best way to deal with mass shootings is to have fewer gun-free zones and thus more guns in the hands of individuals.

Maybe there is a middle ground in here somewhere, but there is no question that an emotional subject like gun violence has put American’s gun laws under tighter scrutiny, both in terms of how the text of the laws are written, amd the consistency by which those laws are enforced. While there are federal gun laws, each state – and even cities and towns within the states – have their own laws regarding gun possession and sales, which may be more or less restrictive than federal laws or what the Constitution allows according to judicial opinions.

In Miami, there was yet another example of the irrational fear of guns, and the lack of fear of people. Recently, a man got into an argument with a fellow Denny’s customer in North Miami, and the man left the restaurant after being asked to leave by management. Before he left, however, he reportedly said, “Denny’s is not safe.”

Fast forward a few minutes, and the man returns to the parking lot of the Denny’s and brandished a gun, pointing it toward the customer with whom he was arguing. Many customers saw the man through the window and ducked for cover when they saw the gun. Video footage in the parking lot caught the incident, but police have not been able to identify the suspect.

The point here is that none of the patrons or employees of the Denny’s’ seemed fearful of the man when they knew it was just a man talking about Denny’s not being safe. It was only when he came back with a gun that people took him seriously.

The gun by itself, at the man’s house, was not a threat to anyone. The man alone did not scare anyone. Put the two together though, and you have a reaction like you see at a Denny’s in North Miami.

While no injuries were reported, thankfully, in this incident, the suspect may certainly be looking at a gun violation and perhaps an assault charge. Gun laws can be confusing based on where you are in the state (North Miami may have different gun laws than Miami proper, or different than in Tampa or Tallahassee), it would be a good idea to have a criminal defense lawyer who is local to the case and thus would know the gun laws better than someone from out-of-town. Justice is needed, but it needs to be the right justice or justice fails.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.