Concealed weapons are for safety
Henderson, of Roanoke, is retired from the federal prison system.
I once again find myself at odds with your paper. Because the column "Get ready for guns in bars" by Dan Casey (June 21) appeared in the Virginia section instead of the editorial pages, I can only assume your editors saw it as a newsworthy story rather than the hit piece it is. You present your ideology on this issue in a twisted and biased way, which has become common practice for The Roanoke Times -- specifically, when you print material on the concealed-carry legislation for carrying a concealed weapon into an establishment serving alcohol, restaurants included.
If you were honest, you would have reported the facts and mentioned that the real reason for this bill was to allow lawfully licensed concealed-carry holders to enter any establishment serving alcohol, i.e., Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, etc. The laws prohibit the consumption of alcohol and carrying any weapon.
To qualify for my permit I had to prove that I was a safe and responsible citizen. I was given a background check, reviewed and approved by my county sheriff, and approved by a judge. I don't patronize bars now, but I do enjoy eating in the nicer restaurants. Prior to retiring I had concealed-carry permits in previous states of residence -- Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. I underwent classes, security checks and weapons testing in some cases.
I believe it is my right and obligation to protect myself and family wherever I may be. I believe my family deserves a man who is as capable of protecting them as an evil person is capable of destroying them.
I also believe that a lawfully armed citizen in the right place at the right time can turn the tables on a tragedy. I have heard it said if only one student or teacher at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, had a concealed weapon, the number of those killed would have been fewer. Imagine if two good guys had weapons. Imagine if a lawfully armed citizen discovered this evil man in the moments before he began his killing spree.
When I was in high school in California, a gang member placed an ice pick against my throat and threatened to stab me. That was many years ago, and it still haunts me. I have felt a duty since then not to let evil sweep my life away.
The Times' tactics to marginalize concealed carry permit holders is un-American because it attacks a select group of us who have taken on a huge responsibility to protect ourselves and the community if the need arises. It is a moral responsibility to protect all life. Gun owners don't hide their guns so they can drink in bars. The weapons are concealed for defensive purposes only.
Again, it is only for law-abiding, responsible citizens. If you aren't either of these, don't get a permit.