The anti-gun Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) recently raised eyebrows, and even blood pressure, when it suggested that anybody who spots a citizen carrying openly or concealed should call the police immediately if they feel that person constitutes “a threat.”
The supposition was that anybody making such a call will believe that any armed citizen is a threat, and thus make a “man with a gun” call to the local police or sheriff’s department. It’s called “harassment by police proxy,” and critics immediately said this sort of activity might be dangerous to the people involved.
According to Fox News, which broke the story, the CSGV posted a message on its Facebook page stating, “If you see someone carrying a firearm in public—openly or concealed—and have ANY doubts about their intent, call 911 immediately and ask police to come to the scene. Never put your safety, or the safety of your loved ones, at the mercy of weak gun laws that arm individuals in public with little or no criminal and/or mental health screening.”
It was not clear what they defined as “weak gun laws,” but the plan suggests that anyone exercising their right to keep and bear arms was fair game for what one critic called a new form of “SWATting.” That’s a nasty game in which someone calls police to report some potentially dangerous activity at someone’s home or business, and the police SWAT team responds.
In this case, however, there might be an unnecessary and potentially dangerous confrontation, in the event someone’s temperament gets in the way.
According to the Fox story, CSGV’s Ladd Everitt justified the plan by asserting that law-abiding gunowners have “nothing whatsoever to worry about.”
“Their conversations with law enforcement will be brief and professional,” Everitt was quoted as stating. “As for those who are dangerous and have something to hide which would not withstand the scrutiny of a background check or permitting process, they should expect to face some tough questions as a result of these 911 calls. And that makes us all safer.”
But why should a law-abiding gunowner have any conversation with law enforcement, if he or she is just minding their own business, critics of the idea wondered.