Tim Tyrell, aka “Gunscribe” and author of the blog From the Heartland, decided to try to illustrate to the Lincoln, Nebraska City Council the stupidity of their proposed ban on concealed weapons, now that Nebraska state legislature has passed a “shall-issue” concealed carry law. He tried to do so in a most graphic manner. He open-carried at a City Council meeting – in full compliance with existing law:
Tim Tyrrell Sr. went to the City Council meeting on Monday with a loaded 40-caliber Glock handgun on his hip.
And that’s perfectly legal.
Until now, council members haven’t been concerned enough about their safety to ban anything other than cell phones from the council chambers.
Even though plenty of angry citizens march down to city hall on a regular basis, there are no metal detectors at the door; no signs asking people to leave their guns at home.
Tyrrell was trying to make a point about the concealed weapons ban on the council agenda: Even if Mayor Coleen Seng’s proposed ban were to pass, nothing would prevent people from carrying around unconcealed weapons. (He did not testify at the meeting; the council won’t have a public hearing on Seng’s proposal until July 31.)
Tyrrell is a disabled veteran and firearms instructor who writes a blog called “From the Heartland.” He has debated the gun rights issue with Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady, and even called Casady before Monday’s meeting to let him know he’d be packing heat.
Casady supports the mayor’s proposal to exempt Lincoln from recently passed state legislation that will allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons beginning in January. Tyrrell believes Seng’s ban would do nothing to prevent criminals from carrying guns.
“Anybody who wants to can go to a gun shop, buy a firearm, a box of ammunition and a holster without knowing anything about what they’re doing, strap it on and walk down the streets of Lincoln and be perfectly legal,” Tyrrell said.
The new state conceal-carry law will put people through their paces — a background check and training — in order to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, he said.
“The people that the mayor is worried about are already carrying and they’re not gonna stop,” he said.
As it is, no city ordinance or council rule bans weapons from pistols to bayonets in the council chambers.
Years ago, one particularly colorful “regular” council meeting attendee often wore a single-action Colt revolver on his hip, Casady said, and eventually took to bringing all manner of weapons to the meetings, including a wooden club called a shillelagh.
“(That) worried me because he could be rather volatile at times,” Casady said.
While Casady believes Tyrrell is a law-abiding citizen, he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for people to go around displaying a pistol on their belt and doesn’t think weapons should be allowed into meetings of governing bodies. But if people are going to bring guns to council meetings, he said, “I’d rather have it out where I can see it.”
The Public Building Commission — which maintains city and county government buildings — considered banning weapons, but decided to wait to see what happened with Seng’s proposed ordinance.
State law will ban concealed weapons in some public buildings come January, but nothing in state law or Seng’s ordinance would stop people from bringing an unconcealed weapon into city hall, according to City Attorney Dana Roper.
Good on ‘ya mate, but I don’t think the exposure of the Mayor and Council’s hypocrisy will do much good. That’s like water off a duck’s back to a politician. Hypocrisy, along with bull-headed obstinancy, is their stock-in-trade.
I am encouraged by the reader’s comments, however. Only three of them were clueless bigots. The rest were quite positive.