I’m not a gun person. I’m not a hunter and never have been. I don’t own any firearms and never have. Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m anti-gun. I’ve got a lot of friends and family who enjoy hunting and target shooting and other firearm-related activities. I respect their passion for their hobbies and their right to own a firearm. That does not mean that I want to see any of them walking down the street with a .357 Magnum strapped to their side like Dirty Harry. Concealed carry is one thing — open carry is an entirely different matter, in my opinion. Prohibiting open carry makes sense to me in the way that firearms are generally prohibited by many states — concealed with permit or otherwise — in such places as government buildings, schools and churches. Guns readily available not only make it easier for a fistfight to turn into a gunfight, but they also send this message: that we need to open carry firearms. It’s my opinion that once we admit that this Wild West mentality is the message we want to impart to our children, we are acknowledging that respect, civility and understanding have taken a back seat to “don’t mess with me or I will shoot you.” Apparently, the majority of elected officials in Dearborn don’t harbor the same views that I do or that many political subdivisions (towns, counties, etc.) do. As you may have read in last week’s issue, the Dearborn Board of Aldermen voted to repeal a City ordinance prohibiting the open carry of firearms. In the interest of full disclosure, they have the power to do so and in so doing actually fall in line with state law allowing open carry. Of course, state law also allows the aforementioned political subdivisions to prohibit open carry and many — if not a majority, if I had to guess — across the state do. I could quote various statistics from studies that show people who carry guns are more likely to be hassled or more likely to be shot, but we all know stats can be manipulated any way that we want them to. And please spare me the argument that criminals are carrying guns, why shouldn’t law-abiding citizens be able to proudly display their Smith & Wessons? Of course bad guys illegally possess firearms, that’s why they are bad guys. That argument seems flawed to me. I think it’s a common sense question: do we want everyday life to include firearms strapped to our sides like cell phones? I’ve always held the belief that only law enforcement officers and military personnel should openly carry firearms. I trust them — for the most part, anyway — to handle firearms responsibly. No offense, but I don’t trust you to do the same. RADIOS OR SALARY INCREASES? In my opinion, Platte County officials are going to have to choose funding one or the other and those of us who have been paying attention know that the federally-mandated radios system upgrade has already been bought. But it has not been paid for. Knowing this, it’s my opinion that the only way the County is going to be able to come up with the $10-million or so it still owes on the upgrade is to increase the County’s paltry one-cent general fund property tax levy. And if the County Commission votes to do this — which it can, provided of course that it can restore its tax ceiling that was erased earlier this year by some County officials who are either grossly incompetent or criminally conspiratorial — it will be much easier for the public to swallow if they know that County employees are not getting raises the same year their taxes are going up, albeit to a level they never should have been lowered from. Last year, I endorsed County Auditor Kevin Robinson’s recommended budget, which included the first cost of living adjustment (COLA) for County employees in six years. It was the right thing to do. Robinson’s recommended 2014 budget, which he submitted for public review last week, again recommends a COLA. It’s still the right thing to do, but it’s not the smart thing to do. The smart thing is to hold County salaries where they are and then make the case for raising the general tax levy from — let me repeat — its paltry one-cent. CHAPEL RIDGE FOLLOW-UP NEXT WEEK At the conclusion of Citizen staff writer’s Jeanette Browning Faubion’s report last week concerning the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission’s denial of a reworked proposals for the controversial Chapel Ridge subdivision, it was stated a full report would be published in this week’s issue. Long story short — space constraints have pushed it back to next week. Sorry about that. Thanks for reading.