AP's permitless carry examples don't apply at all

AP's permitless carry examples don't apply at all
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Permitless carry laws have been churning over recent years. More and more states have embraced them, including my home state of Georgia.

Many of these have been passed during a surge in violent crime, a surge that has been used to try and justify still more gun control.

Part of that appears to be a media push on rolling back permitless carry laws, and the Associated Press is knee-deep in this.

Police saw Carmon Tussey walking briskly toward a crowded Louisville bar carrying a semi-automatic weapon.

With people running away, officers moved in, service weapons drawn. They put the 26-year-old in handcuffs and confiscated his gun. Tussey was later charged with terroristic threatening, wanton endangerment and disorderly conduct, prosecutors said, and could face up to 20 years in prison.

His lawyer says he “was engaged in perfectly legal behavior” in the incident last year, raising a relatively new legal argument in the United States that now stands before the courts to settle.

That’s because Kentucky made it legal in 2019 to carry a gun in public without a permit, joining what is now a majority of states with similar laws.

Except, that’s not quite what happened.

Kentucky’s permitless carry law did indeed pass in 2019, but it had no bearing on this particular instance. Why? Because Tussey’s “semi-automatic weapon” wasn’t a Glock or a Smith & Wesson M&P or anything of that sort. It was a rifle.

Open carry of rifles in Kentucky predated the permitless carry law, which really only applies to handguns.

It’s not the only situation they do such a thing, either.

In Houston, Guido Herrera walked into a mall in February with a rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other, wearing a leather mask and a shirt with the Punisher logo.

His lawyer, Armen Merganian, argued that Guido Herrera was just “a gun-loving Texan” who meant no harm. Jurors convicted him of a misdemeanor, disorderly conduct. It’s legal to carry loaded guns in public in Texas, but not in a manner calculated to alarm.

However, again, open carry of long guns was legal well before permitless carry was passed in Texas.

The law wouldn’t have made any difference.

In Florida, Michael Taylor films himself with guns and a fishing pole walking to piers and other spots to cast a line. He says he’s trying to educate people about Florida gun laws, which don’t allow a person to carry a gun without a permit but make exceptions if someone is hunting or fishing.

Sometimes Taylor’s actions lead to discussions about state gun laws. Other times they prompt ‘man with a gun’ calls to police.

So why is this bit included in a story ostensibly about the problems with permitless carry? Florida doesn’t have such a law, after all, so why use this as an example of anything?

In fact, there’s only one example that, on the surface, even remotely seems to advance the case, and that’s this one:

In Boise, Idaho, police got multiple “man with a gun” calls about 27-year-old Jacob Bergquist, who took a firearm to places they weren’t allowed, like a store, a hospital and a mall, according to The Idaho Statesman.

Idaho passed permitless carry in 2016, but the state allows property owners to ban them in specific locations. Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said his officers never had grounds to arrest Bergquist under Idaho law.

Lee made that comment after Bergquist entered the Boise Towne Square Mall and fatally shot a 26-year-old security guard and a man, and wounded four others.

Except that Bergquist was a convicted felon who, at least in theory, shouldn’t have been able to buy a gun in the first place.

In pretty much every example they give, it doesn’t really seem like they know what they’re talking about with regard to permitless carry. Bergquist is about the only example that sort of looks like it might have been legit in that regard, and even that link is tenuous at best.

The problem is that the AP is running a piece that’s ostensibly about the news but is really just about trying to turn people against permitless carry while not actually understanding what kind of guns this applies to in the first place.

And yet, we’re supposed to trust the media to get it right. I wonder why so few are doing that these days?