Ask a Cop: Should I start carrying my AR-15 into the grocery store?

By Officer Anonymous | Posted - Jan 24th, 2013 @ 11:11am



SALT LAKE CITY — From reading the comments on KSL.com and KSL's Facebook page after an Ogden man carried an assault rifle into JCPenney last week, many people apparently think it’s perfectly normal to be armed to the teeth for any errand. Maybe I should throw on my tactical vest and sling my AR-15 when I’m off duty getting a breakfast burrito at McDonald's. Apparently people will thank me and shake my hand for being some heavily armed stranger sitting near the kid’s playground.

I find it hilarious that when it comes to guns, people seem to lose all common sense. I’m sure the gentleman in JCPenney was attempting to make some type of statement that assault rifles are normal and should be accepted by society. The problem is that most people are uneasy around them. If you went on vacation to some resort outside the country and saw everyone walking around with assault rifles you would probably want your money back.

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We are lucky enough to live in a somewhat civilized society that established laws (way too many laws) and decided to have police officers/deputies in uniform and visibly armed to enforce those laws. These officers are typically recognizable as law enforcement and separate from the public. This helps the general public rest easy when seeing people walking around with weapons.

I’m no military expert, but I think the reason we still require our armed services to be in uniform is to identify them as America’s military in one form or another. When in battle, uniforms are a key way to identify friend from foe. We don’t run around in regular clothes like the terrorists do as there is a sense of pride and honor from wearing a uniform representing our country.

If everyone is just going to decide to strap on a bunch of weapons and walk around town doing errands, why do officers need to be in police uniforms anymore? We will just have roving bands of armed posses walking around just like the Wild West! When a shooting occurs, how would we tell the good guys from the bad guys?

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I own an assault rifle and I have many friends and colleagues that own assault rifles. Some own more than the armory’s of small countries. I don’t think any of them would consider slinging one up to go to the movies. People will argue that you never know when a gunman will come in and start shooting. This argument contradicts the argument that you shouldn’t ban rifles because they are responsible for very few deaths in the country and mass shootings rarely happen.

I am also dismayed when people keep referring to guns as “tools” and relating them to spoons or cars or alcohol. The primary — and only — function of a gun is to kill. Guns have been doing that job well for centuries.

The primary job of a spoon is to feed and can really only kill if used in a prison setting. I have never seen a case of mass feeding that led to death. If there was, it probably would take a long time unless it involved curry and a roll of duct tape.

A car's job is to transport. Yes, cars have been known to kill people, but very rarely do people use cars to intentionally kill people.

Alcohol’s primary function, it seems to me, is to make you regret things the day after — like drinking it, singing karaoke, barfing on your mom's couch or getting married to someone just released from prison. Its main purpose isn't to kill people.

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Please stop thinking social networking sites are the place to make your stand on gun politics. I have yet to see a senator or president get on the news and say that they were changing their mind on guns because they saw status update about guns that got a million “likes.”

Instead, how about we start getting more politically motivated. Go to a rally. Write an actual letter or email one. Call your senator or congressman or congresswoman. Try being active in government and politics instead of regurgitating crap that somebody made up in their basement with zero fact checking, like the Sandy Hook "truthers."

I know that a lot of people want the federal government to stay out of gun rights, and I agree with them. I think the laws we have are fine regarding gun ownership and I am nervous about what the president wants to do. Despite the president mentioning the issue of mental health, I feel the subject hasn't been discussed nearly enough. Almost all the individuals responsible for these mass shootings seem to have suffered in one form or another.

If you feel like you want to make a statement or want to send a message about gun ownership, do it reasonably and with some forethought. Let’s not scare the people who support us but choose not to own guns themselves.

This article is for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. I do not represent and specific agency or government. Please send questions to askacop@ksl.com

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