Archived Opinion

Pseudo police force would lead to bigger problems

op frNothing would reflect better on this country than to have a rational, reasoned debate on gun violence and what steps could be taken to curb it while still adhering to the Second Amendment. One look at the statistics shows how badly this needs to take place. 

But we aren’t getting close. In face, a recent law introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly would be a step in the wrong direction.


Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, has proposed a new state law (Senate Bill 708) that would create a “super permit ”(my words) that would give some concealed carry permit holders a badge and let them carry guns anywhere except a few specific places noted in this proposal (mostly government buildings).

So here we are with campus shootings and shootings by police and all manner of other tragic incidents in the news surrounding violence and guns, and Sen. Tarte’s answer is to put a pseudo police force out on the streets to add to the chaos.

I haven’t talked to Tarte, but some other reporters have. Here’s what he told the Asheville Citizen-Times: “It would be nice to have good people who are prepared to take care of the defenseless. That’s why police, I think, are very supportive.”

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And this gem: “The more guns we have in society, the politer society will be.”

Anyone who follows the news today knows how we in the U.S. deal with horrific shooting episodes like a massacre at a school or a university. It’s happened time and again over the last couple of decades, and so it’s become a predictable pattern.

A horrific, tragic event will occur and we all get on our soapboxes. The left will say we have way too many guns and that we should enact stronger laws to regulate purchases and keep them away from potential bad guys. The right will say guns aren’t the problem, that American society is disintegrating — traditional families are disappearing, the media glorifies violence, and immigrants are taking American jobs — and traditional, freedom-loving citizens should have access to firearms. A few weeks or months will pass, and the devilish details of forging a compromise lead to the demise of any progress.

I don’t, however, see how Sen. Tarte’s bill will do anything to help find that compromise. Most law enforcement agencies support stricter gun control laws despite his statement to the contrary. And a provision in the law to allow a permit to be granted to some who have sought psychiatric help seems especially shortsighted. 

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment will forever complicate efforts to find gun laws that can pass muster in our democracy. But we hire police officers and spend a lot of money training them in hopes that they can keep order. Recent events have shed a light on police abuses, but again, measures like body cameras and perhaps even more training will help alleviate some of those problems.

But let’s not pass a law that gives private citizens a badge and the right to carry wherever they want. It’s just a bad, bad idea.

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)


By the numbers

  • One in three people in the U.S. know someone who has been shot.
  • On average, 32 Americans are murdered with guns every day and 140 are treated for a gun assault in an emergency room.
  • Every day on average, 51 people kill themselves with a firearm, and 45 people are shot or killed in an accident with a gun.
  • The U.S. firearm homicide rate is 20 times higher than the combined rates of 22 countries that are our peers in wealth and population.
  • A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.

*Source: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

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