Dec 122011

Owen Courreges

If you look up “verbal diarrhea” in the dictionary there will most likely be an accompanying photograph of Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.

This week, prior to his team’s game against the Detroit Lions, Allen boldly told the Minneapolis Star Tribune “I don’t like going to Detroit.”  This was a fair, if somewhat tactless statement. Allen doesn’t have to like Detroit.

But Allen couldn’t just leave it at that. “It’s gloomy, it sucks,” Allen continued. “Everything is brown and then there is snow on the ground [evidently there is no snow on the ground in Minnesota]. There’s like brownstones everywhere and I’m like ‘Awesome.'”

Next, just in case he hadn’t already earned the title of “meathead jerk,” Allen said “If I had to live in Detroit, I think I’d just drown myself in the river that was across the way.”

After savaging Detroit with his rapier wit, Allen turned his attentions, inexplicably, to our own fair city of New Orleans.  “New Orleans looks like I’m driving through a third world country. Every time I get off the plane I’m like, ‘Oh, flak jacket,’ I’m trying to get down. I’m like, ‘Ah, crap, I can’t carry my gun here. This sucks.'”

Normally, I wouldn’t bother to take the time and waste the ink (well, the bandwidth) to respond to a man so unbelievably dense that he thinks Detroit has “brownstones everywhere” (methinks he’s conflating Detroit with New York, not an easy mistake).  However, there is one vicious slander in Allen’s words that invites, nay, requires a response. I am speaking, of course, of Allen’s claim that he “can’t carry [his] gun here.”

In fact, Louisiana has far less-restrictive gun laws than Minnesota, and a state-preemption statute bars localities from enacting stricter laws (with some exceptions).  Heck, Minnesota doesn’t even recognize a right to keep and bear arms in its state constitution.  Louisiana does.

It might be that Allen is under the misapprehension that his Minnesota concealed-carry permit would not be recognized in Louisiana. If so, he is wrong.  Louisiana has a reciprocity agreement with Minnesota for concealed-handgun permits. Even if Allen doesn’t have a concealed-carry permit, Louisiana has another important feature that poor, misbegotten Minnesota lacks: a constitutional right to carry a firearm openly.

Louisiana first passed a statute prohibiting the concealment of weapons in 1813.  The preamble to that statute made clear that was intended to address “assassination and attempt to commit the same,” which had become a common occurrence.

Later, when Louisiana drafted its bill of rights, it specifically included a right to keep and bear arms but specifically excepted laws banning concealed firearms. The current statute governing “illegal carrying of firearms,” Louisiana Revised Statute 14:95, requires “intentional concealment.”

The bottom line is that Louisiana has some of the freest gun laws in the country.  In alleging that he could not carry here legally, Allen was speaking from his hind-quarters.

Still even from lies (or at least heapings of ignorance) can come a kernel of knowledge. Allen’s statements, though repugnant, are the product of preconceptions formed following Hurricane Katrina that still linger in the public consciousness.

Allen probably assumes that he can’t carry a firearm in New Orleans because of the notorious gun confiscations that took place in the aftermath of Katrina. Likewise, his comments about needing a flak jacket reflect fear from the violence that followed Katrina as opposed to the actual level of violence in this city today (which is generally comparable to other major urban areas).

Alas, moving forward New Orleans needs to confront and refute this all-too-common brand of ignorance. We’re not perfect, but New Orleans should own its shortcomings, not the biased imaginings of the likes of Jared Allen.

Owen Courrèges, a New Orleans attorney and resident of the Garden District, offers his opinions for on Mondays. He has previously written for the Reason Public Policy Foundation.

  5 Responses to “Owen Courreges: The problem is not Jared Allen’s gun”

  1. “New Orleans looks like I’m driving through a third world country.”
    – Minnesota Vikings Defensive End JARED ALLEN

    I wonder if this is posted on the Bulletin Board of the New Orleans Saints locker room? If not, it should be…

    New Orleans, like all major cities, has problems. And like all major cities, its citizens bemoan the fact that life here is not perfect. BUT, the major difference between places like Minneapolis and New Orleans is that New Orleanians recently made a conscious choice to live here. Katrina presented the vast majority of residents with the choice of rebuilding their lives in New Orleans or building a life in another locale. We chose New Orleans because it offers a superior quality of life. And that is something Mr. Allen, contractually tied to Minneapolis, cannot have now.

  2. Im thankful we are not 2-9, Mr. Allen. Your career and the only thing ANYONE pays to hear or see from you is talent on the field of professional football. Your team has won two games in eleven attempts. Two. This week, the national sports reporters have ranked your team’s attempt at doing its job and winning games in 30th place out of 32 teams. Only one team has accomplished LESS than your team in terms of winning.

    So how about you try shutting your ugly mouth and doing the ONE thing you do serviceably on this planet. Play football. Well, if you can.

  3. Goodness me! I just rechecked and saw that Mr. Allen’s team is 2-11, not 2-9. You are even worse than I had calculated. Oh dear, that’s pretty horrendous. If I did my job well twice in thirteen attempts, I imagine I’d be fired right quick.

  4. Huh. And he prefers….Minnesota? Well, that’s good, I guess, because our football team is probably too good to take the guy. LOL.

    I’m sorry to respond by meanly attacking an innocent state, but…Minnesota. Minnesota!

  5. My sister went to school in Minneapolis. It’s a nice enough city, low crime rate, but cold. Very cold. And not particularly memorable. If I’m going to live in the midwest, I’d just as soon move to Chicago, or even Madison, WI.

    Now, New Orleans… when I got out of the Air Force, I had a unique opportunity to build a new life absolutely anywhere. I still feel I made the right choice.

    Let him say what he likes.

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