After reading Michael Kelley’s “No Guns in the Library” (Editorial, LJ 1/13, p. 8), I was struck by only one thought: hypocrisy! Libraries and librarians have always been all about supporting the First Amendment, but apparently anyone who shows the same support of the Second Amendment is a “radical” or a “morally purblind pro-gun lobbyist.” I am neither a radical nor a lobbyist, but I am certainly pro-gun and a staunch supporter of our Second Amendment.
I do agree with Kelley on one point: our gun laws are “increasingly misbegotten,” especially when they are interpreted to restrict the exercise of my Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He seems surprised that “even mild attempts at regulation raise the ire of the pro-gun crowd.” Imagine that! I wonder how supportive he would be of those same “mild attempts at regulation” when applied to free speech or freedom of the press—those First Amendment rights librarians are so adamant about?
In quoting the ruling of the judges, Kelley blasts the writers of the majority opinion because “they were interested more in being judges than in being just.” Isn’t that what they are expected to do? Interpret and uphold the law even if they do not “personally like the outcome”?
In this time of increasing violence and horrific tragedies, I welcome the presence of weapons by those who are trained in their use. Perhaps if more people were trained and carrying weapons (concealed or otherwise), those who are bent on violence would be stopped before they could senselessly take the lives of the innocent!
—Donna Clark, Pub. Svcs. Dir.,
Lib. Resource Ctr., Odessa Coll., TX
Guns, concealed or not
While I’m not a fan of openly carrying a weapon, neither am I a fan of prohibiting law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons in public places without a good reason (Michael Kelley’s “No Guns in the Library,” Editorial, LJ 1/13, p. 8). Of course, there is good reason to prohibit carry in penal institutions or the detention areas of law enforcement facilities, as well as courtrooms and, possibly, city council chambers and the like where emotions can run high. However, I fail to see any reason whatsoever for prohibiting carry in a library. Does Kelley really believe that passions will run so high while reading a book that a law-abiding citizen will lose control and begin massacring other patrons?
As a retired federal law enforcement officer, I carry a concealed firearm virtually everywhere. Yesterday, I was in our local library doing genealogical research. No one was harmed or disturbed by my presence. Had someone believing that the library patrons were helpless begun shooting the place up, I would like to think I could have stopped the slaughter very quickly.
Aside from the tactical advantages of concealed carry, I don’t carry openly because I am well aware that the sight of an openly carried firearm on someone not displaying a badge can cause apprehension. I don’t deliberately do things to upset my fellow citizens unless absolutely necessary, because it just isn’t polite. I am cognizant, however, of the view expressed by open-carry advocates that a right not exercised is a right lost. The sight of an armed uniformed policeman checking out a book or reading to his child should not upset library patrons. Neither should the sight of a person in plain clothes with a holstered weapon. I simply don’t understand the attitude that children should be spared the sight of a holstered weapon lest they come to believe that carrying a weapon is safe, legal, and (gasp!) normal. That smacks too much of the attitude of some parents that they’d rather see their children come home in body bags than have them exposed to the idea that a gun on the hip of a school resource officer is there to protect them.
“Gun-free” zones seem to attract mass murderers like trailer houses seem to attract tornadoes. If you’re distraught by the sight of a safely holstered pistol, or the possibility that one or more of your fellow citizens may be carrying a “hidden” weapon, get over it! Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably safer because of it.
As for the absurd suggestion that judges rule based on what they consider “ethically astute,” how quickly would the law plummet into anarchy if every judge were free to judge an action based on what (s)he believed to be “right” rather than what the law stated?
—Gary L. Griffiths, Dir.,
Advanced Force Tactics, Inc., Lewisville, TX
Regarding John Berry’s “For All the People of NYPL” (Blatant Berry, LJ 1/13, p. 8) about the reorganization of a part of the New York Public Library, well said! As a librarian, I often change the organization of my collection. I get comments about that, both positive and negative. However, I believe that many who comment do not realize that sometimes librarians actually know what they are doing…. We usually research and think about how our actions will serve the largest number of people. Berry’s column addressed that larger picture. Thank him for giving credit to librarians….
—Jennifer Brax, Adult Svcs. Libn.,
Perry Memorial Lib., Henderson, NC