It’s hard to tell if it’s a ‘good guy’ carrying a concealed gun

Gun Rights

State Sen. Blake Miguez, a Republican from New Iberia, is a world-class competitive marksman. We’re talking international award-winning level sharpshooting with a handgun. 

He’s good enough to have starred in the History Channel reality show “Top Shot”  

Yes, I know they’ve given reality TV shows to the likes of Flavor Flav, Honey Boo Boo and insert your favorite suburban “Housewives” here, but let’s not get away from my point.

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And that is, Miguez is good with a gun — like, really good — thanks to countless hours of training and practice. 

The same cannot be said of all the people in Louisiana who the senator wants to provide the right to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. His Senate Bill 1, which would make so-called “constitutional carry” legal for anyone 18 or older in the state, was approved Thursday in the Senate and heads next to a House committee.

Miguez’s proposal would provide that right to persons without any handgun training. You could still obtain an actual concealed carry permit that requires training, but it wouldn’t be mandatory if Senate Bill 1 becomes law.

As his proposal has advanced through the Legislature, Miguez has turned to the oft-repeated phrase gun rights advocates have used in their arguments for permitless concealed carry: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Unfortunately, the provisions of Senate Bill 1 offers no guidance on how to determine who’s a bad guy or a good guy. Even if they were so bold as to wear “I’m a good guy with a gun” on a T-shirt, there’s no real way of knowing if someone is an actual good guy. And even if they are Mr. Rogers- or Mother Teresa-caliber people, there’s still no way of telling if they’re capable of using their gun safely. 

The same goes for individuals who openly carry firearms, which is legal in Louisiana. Without knowing the intentions or experience of the arms bearer, it’s understandable that one would react with concern and discomfort upon encountering someone on the sidewalks strapped with an AR-15 and ammo belts — even Mr. Rogers.

It was Wayne LaPierre, the recently resigned leader of the National Rifle Association, who first coined the “good guy with a gun” expression. He currently finds himself awaiting a jury’s decision on allegations that he violated nonprofit tax laws.

LaPierre has actually acknowledged he used NRA money for lavish personal purchases and accepted gifts from donors without disclosing them. The expenses on the association’s dime have included trips to the Bahamas for him and his family and private jet service. 

If one of America’s foremost gun rights proponents struggles to earn “good guy” status, it’s fair to question the intentions of anyone who chooses to conceal their firearm.

Miguez didn’t respond immediately to an interview request Thursday. But by all accounts, he fits into the “good guy” category, one who could shoot the hair off a gnat’s butt at 20 paces. 

But that ability doesn’t come with the superpower of knowing the intentions of every person with the right to carry a gun, concealed or otherwise.

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