Smart Enough to Operate a Jacket? Smart Enough to Carry a Gun.

From Charleston Gazette-Mail 3/13/2016
By Bil Lepp

I think the crowning achievement of the West Virginia Legislature this session is the courageous stand taken on the important issue of felonious jacket wearing. I’m a responsible jacket owner and a proud member of the National Jacket Association, or NJA.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael said: “I recognize that there are issues as it relates to public opinion on this, but at the end of the day, it is a constitutional right and we really don’t see much difference between carrying in an open manner without a permit or putting a jacket on over your weapon and then being a felon.”

Maybe I’m missing something here, but the Senator is correct — It would be silly to require a permit to put on a jacket, or for jacket-wearing to be a felony. The Legislature’s paramount concern for people who want to wear jackets shows that our state government is, first and foremost, concerned about our health and well-being.

After all, it gets cold out there, and given the conditions of the state’s roads the average citizen might well find himself walking a long distance on Sunday morning to buy a mimosa. Responsible citizens can rejoice in the freedom to wear a jacket! Jackets save lives.

If it is true that 70-some percent of West Virginians oppose this law than it must be that they simply misunderstand it. I am thankful that the Legislature had the foresight to go against the wishes of more than two-thirds of the population, and the Governor, and the better judgment of the state’s law-enforcement officers.

Seriously, if we want to attract businesses to West Virginia, it is vital that folks be allowed to wear jackets with impunity. You can’t have Casual Friday every day of the week.

What I don’t understand is why Gov. Tomblin vetoed the bill in the first place. The governor wears jackets all the time.

I am assured by Sen. Carmichael’s remarks that “… at the end of the day, it is a constitutional right …” to put on my jacket. The Founding Fathers really thought of everything.

If the clothes make the man should his jacket make him a felon?

The Founding Fathers clearly intended the Second Amendment to mandate the constitutional right to wear a jacket over a gun. I mean, if you outlaw wearing a jacket over a gun, what’s next? It is worrisome that while this law allows you to carry a gun under your jacket, it forbids carrying brass knuckles or a knife with a blade over three and half inches. This is a slippery slope. Soon the government might decree that you can’t wear a sports jacket over a T-shirt. Or that your jacket can’t be plaid, or reversible, or have more than nine buttons.

There are people, like myself, who own guns, have been trained in gun-safety, and use them responsibly.

There are people who own guns but use them unsafely though not necessarily criminally.

Then there are criminals who own guns. It is reassuring that the Legislature’s Venn diagram of these three demographics overlap at Anyone Over Age 20 Smart Enough to Operate a Jacket is Smart Enough to Carry a Gun.

The only drawback might be the misinterpretation of Sen. Carmichael’s use of the word “weapon.” Whereas most jacket wearing members of society are upright, decent citizens, this law may be abused by flashers.

If it weren’t for the valiant work of the West Virginia Legislature and its dogged determination to keep jacket wearing permit-less I would be worried that the government might show up at my house and confiscate all my jackets.

The National Jacket Association operates a website that rates West Virginia legislators not only on their jacket panache and style, but on their jacket stance in these difficult political times. I urge to check out your legislator’s rating.

Bil Lepp is a gun owner and a satirist because this really is a great country.

As long as you are down here, please click on the link original version in the newspaper


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