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Charles Blow: Open Carry, ‘Not What We Want As a Society’


During CNN’s coverage of the shooting of 11 police officers in Dallas, TX that left four officers dead, CNN Political Commentator and New York Times columnist Charles Blow stated that because of open carry laws, “Police don’t know if the person who has the weapon out in the open is just a protester or not, and that puts them in a very kind of awkward position of having to just kind of make guesses about this, and that’s not what we want as a society.”

Blow said, “But this idea, I think is really important, but it — probably a discussion for another day, but totally tips over into the gun debate. I mean, this idea of having to match firepower for whatever people can have on the street, because what we are seeing is that people have — there are a lot more of these types of weapons. And this is where I think a lot of minds can meet. we want our police officers to be safe. We want our communities to be safe, and the more of these sorts of weapons out there, the more police have to arm up to, in act, defend themselves against those types of weapons. I think — you know, again, we don’t know about this. I think this a discussion for another day, but I think we need to put a pin in it, because we have to come back to this discussion about the idea that people — more and more people are in open carry states. They can carry these sorts of weapons around. Police don’t know if the person who has the weapon out in the open is just a protester or not, and that puts them in a very kind of awkward position of having to just kind of make guesses about this, and that’s not what we want as a society.”

Attorney and women’s rights advocate Areva Martin added, “I think that point is illustrated by one of the witnesses on the phone that says they saw a man, who we now know was a person of interest, probably not the shooter, but he was a man walking around with a rifle, and they didn’t know if that was normal or not. That’s scary to me as a parent. That’s scary to me as an American, as a woman, as an African-American woman, that I could be in a city, at a protest and someone is walking around with a high-powered assault rifle, and yet, I don’t know if that’s okay. Because we’re telling people if you see something, say something, if you see something, do something. But people are confused. They don’t know if that was a legitimate place for him to be with that gun or not. So, I wonder how many other people may have seen someone at this protest with a gun and they didn’t contact law enforcement because they didn’t know if that person had the right in this open carry state to have that gun. That’s a really scary, I think, proposition. An issue we have to deal with in this country. And it goes right to that gun issue that is so divisive”

Anchor Don Lemon responded “And we will get into the gun debate later. And as Charles so brightly and eloquently pointed out, that’s maybe a discussion for another day. Right now, our thoughts and prayers and our hearts go out to the victims this evening.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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