THE BLOG
06/11/2014 03:37 pm ET Updated Aug 10, 2014

Open Carry Makes It Easier for Criminals

As only he can do, Jon Stewart ponders the intersection of "open carry" and "stand your ground"---both darlings of gun advocates. When sanity reigned, a shopkeeper, a bank teller, a restaurateur would call 911 or a press an alarm, if someone walked into their establishment brandishing a weapon. It would have been (and probably still is) reasonable to conclude that such person intends to rob or do harm -- why else the weapon? If the open carry folks have their way, visible weapons will be allowed everywhere.

Almost all self-defense laws focus on the reasonable belief and perception of the person asserting it -- not the undisclosed intention, in this case, of the person carrying a weapon. At what precise moment does the person observing someone with a weapon determine whether or not that person is friend or foe? Criminals (and the mentally disturbed) must be popping champagne corks everywhere knowing that they can now go almost anywhere with weapon in hand, mix with the crowd until the time is right and then use it either to rob or shoot somebody.

And how soon will it be that some 7/11 cashier will shoot an innocent, gun carrying, "law abiding citizen", merely because he fears that the person entering the store with a weapon intends to rob and possibly kill him? For a brief moment, even the NRA thought this blatant show of weapons was weird and looney, but backed off, because apparently in their view, weird and looney is protected by the 2nd Amendment. But it is inevitable that open carry and stand your ground or other self-defense assertions will come into conflict.

It won't be" a good guy with a gun stopping a bad gun with a gun" (the current NRA slogan), but rather two good guys shooting each other. The message to gun owners should be: If you feel you must frighten and intimidate employees and customers wherever you go by openly carrying the biggest weapon you own, please don't complain or press charges when some nervous teenager behind the cash register decides to shoot you thinking you might be there to shoot him. How can he possibly determine whether you are just some stupid show-off or a real criminal or deranged person?