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Life Out Here by Bret Kofford: Not too crazy to pack heat

January 16, 2002

I know I may be in the minority on this, and I know I may be pushing common sense here, but I don't think crazy people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons.

In saying this I mean no offense to lunatics. I come from an extended family of fruitcakes. Here is how crazy my extended family is: I am sometimes summoned as the voice of reason in the family, the family peacemaker.

Speaking of peacemakers, I have nothing against hunters, either. I am quite the outdoorsman myself. Just the other day I went outside and raked some leaves.

And really, where would this country be without hunters thinning out the hordes of bears, elk and waterfowl? Last week I had a bit of a quacking brouhaha with a belligerent mallard who may have been molting in my pool. Imagine the tumult, the danger in our lives without our hunters doing their duty in killing off rampaging duck and dove hordes.

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What I do have a problem with, and I know I am going against the National Reactionarygunloverssmooochiesmoochie Association on this, is guys who think they have had computer chips planted in their heads being allowed to tote guns on the sly.

That takes us to the case of Alaskan Timothy Wagner, who is convinced, along with having a microchip in his coconut, that he is being injected with deadly chemicals and that an unnamed "they" are trying to kill him. As much as I can understand and often share those second two concerns, particularly the thing about being stalked by a pronoun, the first obsession proves the guy is loony.

"They," anyone knows, plant the computer chips in our pelvises.

Anyway, a judge in Anchorage, thinking our friend Tim might be a bit loopy, took away his permit to carry a concealed weapon … not his permit to have a weapon in general, but his permit to carry a concealed weapon, as in under his coat, which is an outer garment "they" wear quite frequently in tundra country.

Then an Alaska appeals court, apparently thinking it was working in accordance with this nation's Constitution, overruled that decision, stating that mental illness cannot be considered alone in deciding a person's fitness to carry firearms under his parka. The Alaska law states only if people say "yes" to questions about whether they have been committed to a nut house can or have been declared mentally incompetent are there grounds for denying a concealed weapons permit.

Basically, according to the Alaska court, unless they admit they have been committed or declared incompetent, raving lunatics have the right to be armed raving lunatics, and we don't get to find that out until they draw their weapon, which usually is too late to run or to get the crazy person in a suplex or a sleeper hold.

The Alaska Rifle Association and the NRA lauded that appeals court decision.

"We wanted to remove the potential for arbitrary and capricious decision-making on the part of the issuing agency," said Brian Judy, Alaska liaison for the NRA.

So if someone is foaming at the mouth and raving about the Orangemen (Syracuse and others) taking over his brain and giving him messages to kill all Irish-Americans (Notre Dame and others), there is no reason to arbitrarily and capriciously deny him the right to pack heat under his trench coat, according to the NRA.

I said in a previous column I am the ultimate case study for gun control. I stick by that assertion in regard to concealed weapons permits. Heck, if I had been carrying concealed firearms last week, I just might have killed one co-worker and winged a couple others. My temper is that bad, that crazy. But I am just sane enough to know I can't have any weapons more lethal than hedge clippers in my general vicinity or someone other than a rosebush could get hurt.

Yet some people who are a click or five crazier than I am should have access to carrying concealed weapons maintained, according to the Alaska appeals court. Think of the mayhem that may follow in Alaska. Think of the mayhem that may follow if courts in other states follow that precedent, or if the Supreme Court ultimately upholds that decision.

I realize after the Sept. 11 attack on this nation that we are supposed to respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, who could be the first and last line of defense if we are invaded. Whatever. To be honest with you, I'm a lot less worried about the Taliban or al-Qaida fighters coming to my house than I am about some neighborhood nut showing up at my door or desk, or getting angry at me in traffic, then drawing a gun and shooting me.

Then again, maybe that is an overreaction coming from the computer chip "they" implanted in my pelvis.

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