Kory Watkins is a childish, undisciplined, self-aggrandizing narcissist. I think the vast majority of people on both sides of this debate would agree. That being said, he performs a valuable service for those of us who are fighting for the rights of ALL Americans to keep and bear arms. Constitutional Carry is defined as the carrying of firearms without a permit or license, whether open or concealed. In order to advocate for such a position, one must accept the fact that without government oversight there will be people like Kory who will be armed and not always acting on their Sunday Best behavior. To the anti-gun crowd that is all the more reason to advocate for more controls, but to the pro-gun crowd that is all the more reason to advocate for greater access to firearms. While people on both sides of the argument react emotionally and viscerally to the antics of people like Kory and his band of misfits, those who think rationally see a deeper truth. There are and always will be irresponsible people in this world and no amount of “Responsible,” “Reasonable” or “Common Sense” regulation will ever change that. Nor will such regulations bar access to firearms from such people; a simple look at armed gangs and criminals in strictly gun controlled areas makes that abundantly clear. So, as an advocate for Constitutional Carry, how can we defend the right of ALL people to keep and bear arms while trying to deny Kory Watkins his free speech rights? Answer: We can’t.
If Kory Watkins is held up by the anti-gun community as the poster child for more gun control, we have to be able to answer that in order to effectively advocate for our gun rights. The answer is simple, when you get past the emotional reaction. In a Constitutional Carry environment there is no control over who can carry a firearm or in what manner they carry it. Therefore education is the key “control” to irresponsible behavior. Public safety, criminality and mental illness are all used as “reasons” to control access to firearms and the carrying of such firearms in public. That approach treats the symptom rather than the problem. As Constitutional Carry advocates we must be able to redirect the debate from the symptoms to the core issues.
Public Safety: Education is the key to safety. The United States of America has over 300 million people milling about and estimates put the number of firearms in circulation at about the 300 million mark as well. There is absolutely no justification for allowing our kids to grow up ignorant of gun safety in such an environment. Step one: Institute universal gun safety education in both public and private schools with unfettered access to such training for homeschoolers as well. Teaching responsibility is the first step to countering the irresponsible behavior of people. Next is punishing bad behavior rather than the ownership or possession of an object.
Criminality: Reasonable regulations only regulate reasonable people, just like a lock only stops an honest person. Our criminal justice system needs a serious and sobering review. First and foremost is a good hard look at sentencing and conditions for release. A criminal that shows no sign of being rehabilitated is currently released back into society, knowing that they are a continued threat to society. Passing laws to deprive a criminal, who has a proven history of violating the law, possession of a gun is asinine on its face. Studies show that the majority of criminals are easily deterred by any sign of resistence, like having a dog or a security system in your home. However, out in public there is no deterrence other than law enforcement which can never be everywhere they are needed all the time. An openly and conspicuous armed population is the single most effective deterrent to criminality in public spaces. While concealed carry offers some level of deterrence based on the possibility that someone might be armed, the odds are still in the criminals’ favor due the extreme minority of people who do have a concealed carry permit and practice it regularly. Constitutional Carry significantly shifts the odds in the favor of the citizens and when widely practiced can virtually eliminate all but the most heinous of criminals. Those who are not deterred can be met with an equal force in defense of the citizenry and the individual citizen alike. Combined with universal education and training, the population once again becomes self-regulating and self-policing which reduces the cost and burden of government to maintain large and increasingly militarized law enforcement organizations.
Mental Illness: By far the most unpredictable element of the debate, mental illness is also in need of serious discussion. Much like criminality; identification, treatment and control of potential threats to society are paramount. Also, like criminality, the best defense against an unpredictable and potentially violent person with a mental illness is the ability to defend oneself the instant such an incident occurs. It has been proven time and time again that the current system does NOT prevent the mentally ill from gaining access to firearms. It has likewise been repeatedly proven that public places filled with unarmed victims only serve to increase the devestation that the violently mentally ill can perpetrate.
So, how does all of this pertain to Kory Watkins and his irresponsible behavior? Quite simple, he is the least of our worries. He has committed no violent crime that I am aware of and as for his mental state, although possibly questioned by some, he has not exhibited any propensity to violence that I am aware of other than questionable rhetoric and a confrontational attitude. No, he is not a polished or disciplined advocate or spokesman, but then again neither are the majority of Americans whose rights we advocate to protect and restore. In this age of talking heads with telepromptors and focus group tested speech writers, Kory Watkins reminds us all that the common man has nothing in common with the carefully manicured and agenda driven media presentations we see everyday. We speak for the average man and woman who have just as much right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as those who have the time and money to jump through state mandated hoops and pay the extortion fees currently required to exercise their right of self-defense and self-preservation in public. Kory Watkins, for all his faults, represents a significant population of Texans and Americans in general who deserve equal protection under the law.
We should embrace Kory Watkins as an opportunity to address the real issues behind the debate. He is the poster child for more and better education. He is the poster child for the need for ALL Americans to be prepared to defend themselves against those who advocate or perpetrate violence. He is the poster child for better identification, care and treatment of the mentally ill. He is the poster child for the average person’s right to be prepared for any eventuality in any public setting. Most of all, he is the poster child for what free speech REALLY looks like and by trying to silence and marginalize Kory Watkins we are trampling the First Amendment in defense of the Second. We need not silence others to make our case, we simply need to make our case properly and effectively so that it encompasses ALL rather than a select few. Removing Kory Watkins from the debate might make our position easier to defend, but it would be a dishonest defense of our position. Excluding ANYONE from the conversation undermines the very nature of advocating for a universal and absolute right to keep and bear arms in defense of self and this nation. If our position is not all inclusive, then how are we any different than those who want to impose THEIR VIEW of reasonable and common sense regulation?
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Jon Britton aka DoubleTap is Chief Operating Officer of CDH, Inc., a regular contributing author and regularly involved in most aspects of their social media. “Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion.” A passion that has taken him in many directions from explorations of the zombie subculture and zombie stories to political advocacy. Joining the U.S. Air Force right out of high school, Jon had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the world and different cultures. His post military career path, both white collar and blue collar, allowed him to work alongside both CEOs and average Joes. As a founding member Cold Dead Hands his study of human nature and writing ability found a purpose. His zombie roots provided a variety of issues from prepping to human behavior under crisis to firearms that he applies to his advocacy for gun rights. A ravenous appetite for the study of history combined with his current events political junkie addiction led to him writing an e-book Gun Sense: Past, Present and Future.