Concealed carry redux

Last June 7 in Coon Rapids, one of two things happened: An innocent man using the intent of the state’s concealed carry handgun law defended his family by shooting the threat or a man fired his gun, for which he had a permit, in the heat of — and because of — road rage.

And there you have both sides of the old Minnesota concealed carry debate, only now it’s going to be fought in an Anoka County court after both participants in the incident were indicted last week.

Not in dispute is that Robbinsdale undercover cop Landon Beard, 27, was shot by trained security specialist Martin Treptow, 35. During traffic on Woodcrest Drive, Beard cut onto the the shoulder to pass traffic, including Treptow’s SUV. Treptow got upset and followed Beard for several blocks before shooting Beard.

Who showed a gun first is a harder determination to make. By one account, Beard was hanging out the window of his vehicle threatening to kill Treptow. Treptow shot him in order to protect his wife and two young children, who were in the vehicle with him.

By another account, Treptow’s yelling prompted Beard to call 911, and when he looked up, Treptow had pulled his gun and was aiming at him.

Beyond the felony charges against both men, at stake is the ability of one side in the ongoing gun debate in Minnesota to say, “I told you so.” Either the concealed carry law helped a man protect his family, proving its usefulness as its supporters intended. Or the concealed carry law made a road rage incident worse, confirming the fears of the law’s opponents.

It also is one of the hottest topics in the blogs, who may be following the case more intently than the mainstream news folks.

“This charge implies that Treptow is some kind of gangbanger who was settling a drug dispute,” wrote blogger Douglas Hester on his blog, The Northern Muckracker. “Once Treptow neutralized the apparently deadly threat to his family, he removed them from the perceived danger by driving a few blocks to a gas station, while his wife immediately called 911 to report the incident while they were on the move, and well before they arrived. When they reached the station, they parked and waited quietly for the police to arrive.”

“Road rage incidents almost always require two idiots to reach the point this one did. Unfortunately, both idiots had guns,” said Charlie Quimby on his blog, Across the Great Divide. Did the shooter have other options? I believe so, but I wasn’t there. Should the cop have behaved differently? There’s no question in my mind that he should have.”