She moves her purse in front of her and pats it like she’s got a gun, all the while staring me right in the eye. Great. Now, not only might there be someone else lurking in the stacks, she has basically told me she has a gun and I will be the first victim.
I move past her to the back of the store hoping that it’s a hairbrush in her purse and that I will live to see another day. The chemotherapy bag on my belt might look like a holster if I keep it under my coat. Maybe that will deter her. I hope this doesn’t go down like this. My wife and kids are right outside. I sure am glad they didn’t come in. She suddenly rushes out of the store and I watch as she moves out of sight. I can only hope she has abandoned her plan and isn’t coming back. She had a crazy look in her eyes. I vow to never leave my gun at home again. There are too many crazies out there.
I hope I am mistaken. I hope she has an Iowa Concealed Handgun License. At least then, I know that she isn’t a convicted felon. At least then, I know she has completed handgun training offered by the NRA, military, law enforcement, or other agency approved by the Iowa DPS to do such training. At least then I know she can pass a minimum qualification on shooting through those classes because even though Iowa law doesn’t require range time, the NRA and military do. If she had a CHL, she would know that the strikethrough gun sign on the front door is insufficient to prohibit licensed concealed carry in this business, so maybe she isn’t a gun-wielding criminal. Surely that sign on the door would have prevented a criminal from illegally carrying a gun in here. I’ve got to get me a Nook or Kindle so I don’t have to be out amongst the masses like this.
This is my perspective as the man with the bulge under his coat in Lynda Waddington’s article on thegazette.com entitled “Why your gun makes me nervous.” She expresses fear, concern, anger, and most importantly, ignorance. In her imagined encounter in a book store, she sees a bulge under a man’s coat and assumes he has a gun. She searches him frantically with her eyes, looking for a badge and finds none. She automatically assumes that he has some sort of evil intent despite no indications to the contrary. She quips that she has taught herself that she can pat her purse and “pretend” to have a gun while making eye contact with another gun toter. She does in fact imply that she has a gun consistent with her training and experience, and now is just as much an imagined threat as the man with the bulging coat. Despite this hypocrisy and her acknowledgement that having a gun in that situation would have been preferable to being unarmed, she rushes her children out of the store refusing to give them any business, bemoaning the legislature’s ineffective efforts to further impede the second amendment.
At the end of her article, she misleads the reader with assertions that Iowa’s CHL laws are lackluster. In fact, Iowa Code 724.7 requires a person to meet minimum qualifications and take a sanctioned class offered by law enforcement, the NRA, or a class approved by Iowa DPS. Military training also can qualify some people. As a certified NRA Pistol instructor, there is indeed range time in the basic pistol class and safe gun handling is covered in every lesson of every NRA firearm course. In addition, Iowa code §724.8 places restrictions on issuance of permits to eighteen years of age or older, never been convicted of a felony, not addicted to the use of alcohol or any controlled substance, no history of repeated acts of violence, does not constitute a danger to any person and has never been convicted of any crime defined in chapter 708, except “assault”as defined in section 708.1 and “harassment” as defined in section 708.7.
Perhaps if Ms. Waddington chose to educate herself by attending an NRA Pistol or FIRST Steps class rather than relying on conjecture, speculation and speakeasy-esque head nods and purse taps, she would not be so nervous about my gun. In fact, what she doesn’t know is that I feel just as obligated to protect her and her children in that situation as I do my own even though she despises me for it, and that too is legal in Iowa.