Mayor Jean Stothert is now the proud owner of a black, Austrian-made Glock 26 pistol.
But you might not be able to tell when she’s packing. The mayor says she’s awaiting delivery of a state concealed-carry handgun permit.
“It is not an issue of being afraid,” Stothert said Friday. “It’s an issue of not being afraid to protect myself.”
“Because it is the law, I wanted to really understand what went on in that concealed-carry class,” she added. “I thought, as mayor, I needed to understand.”
Before I go any further, I should give some context.
I was born in Omaha and still have family there. It might be my hometown because of birth, but I no longer consider it so because I’ve lived in Texas for 20 years — far more than I ever lived anywhere else. Austin is home to me. But still, family is there and they have a fair presence in town. I mean, my Dad was US Congressman from Omaha for 8 years, and did spend 6 years as Mayor as well. So there’s some interest in this for me.
Omaha has a lot of violence problems. Lots of gang problems. They worked hard to build things up, to try to combat and deal with it. A recent/former Mayor did a lot to tear down all that hard work and folks tell me things regressed pretty badly under his tenure. Jean Stothert looks to try to remedy things, so here’s hoping. And her getting a permit seems a good step. Because while Nebraska is generally alright in terms of gun laws, Omaha has a lot of weird things because it somehow thought more laws and ordinances would be adhered to by drug gangs. Yeah… people willing to smuggle millions of dollars of pot, heroin, and cocaine somehow care about your ordinance. So law-abiding folks get abridged, and this even caused some weirdness for me when I’ve traveled there. Frankly, the laws there are really unclear, especially for visitors. But I don’t want to digress into this, other than to say maybe with this, Mayor Stothert will be able to fix things.
I do appreciate her desire to go through the process to gain first-hand understanding. Wouldn’t it be nice if more politicians gained first-hand experience about matters so they could better do their jobs? And not just doing it for a photo-op.
She does seem to get it:
“People have a right. They have a right according to the Second Amendment,” Stothert said. “And I feel like I want to let people understand that I agree with that right, and I don’t think that restricting gun ownership from responsible gun owners is the way that you address irresponsible (owners), and gun crimes and gun violence in a city.
“You’re not going to be able to restrict guns with responsible people and reduce the gun violence; you’re just not.”
So that’s good.
“If there is the occasion that I feel like I want to carry it, now I will be able to,” she said. “But I don’t have any intention of carrying it here while I’m at work.”
Members of Stothert’s staff already do. Stothert’s has a rotating security detail of retired Omaha police officers. Chief of Staff Marty Bilek — a retired Douglas County sheriff’s deputy — recently won the right to carry his old service weapon at work.
Because the City-County Building doesn’t allow weapons, Stothert had to seek permission from the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission for Bilek’s gun.
That bothers me a bit more.
And there’s this:
In her request, Stothert raised the prospect of gunmen targeting random citizens or elected officials in a mass shooting.
“Our request for him to carry a weapon inside city hall is simply another layer of caution,” Stothert said at the time.
Stothert said she’s been threatened before, in phone calls and emails that she declined to elaborate on. The mayor said she hasn’t been threatened since taking office.
“I feel very safe and secure at work. I feel very safe and secure in my home,” the mayor said. “But again, I feel like its a right, and I wanted to exercise my right.”
I’m sure Gabby Giffords felt very safe and secure. In fact, most of us all feel safe and secure, until we get violated.
It’s a question of mindset here. But, I’m not going to totally be mad at her because she admits she did this more for the education than anything else. Plus yes, she has a security detail. Now I recall my Dad having some level of security, but it wasn’t like the Secret Service hovering over him at every moment. Maybe things are different now and she does have more regular security. But if not, just realize, Mayor Stothert, that those holes are when you are more vulnerable.
Yeah, you’ve been threatened. I actually recall my Dad receiving threats. I don’t know the extent of all that he’s dealt with as he chose to shield his children from such things (understandable). But in later years both Mom and Dad have revealed to me they received threats. I have to figure that it’s worse these days… the way things are these days. *sigh*
Anyways, I think what also bugs me is the statement of her security having to “win the right” to carry his service weapon at work.
Since when do we have to “win the right”? There’s something inherently backwards and wrong about that mentality. Just think about it. Should have to win the right to speak freely at the office? on public ground? Should have to win the right to attend the religious service of your choice?
And it’s her security detail. Why should someone tasked with the duty of protecting another have to jump through hoops to do their job? That’s just wrong.
But this is precisely what I hope Mayor Stothert may be able to improve in Omaha. Law-abiding citizens should not have to go through such hassle to go about their law-abiding lives. We need to rebuild a world where good people can live their good lives without abridgement, and only work to abridge those that infringe upon others to freely live their lives.
Good luck, Mayor Stothert.