Please don't take offense, but couching it in those terms is exactly why some people are leery of the gun culture.
Too many people in our camp are very quick to fume and castigate when someone questions the wisdom, legality or practicality of what we do. Perhaps that energy would be better spent changing hearts and minds than reacting with vitriol.
The idea of punishing people who act out of ignorance isn't the way to do that. It's harder, but more rewarding in the long run, to take the time to convince the skeptics.
I don't take offense, Tom. We're here to debate, so let the debating continue. You make relevent points.
I don't think the people who are winnable, yet might be leery of the gun culture, are the ones who immediately call 911 when they see someone open carrying or suspect someone is carrying concealed. Thus, they would not be my target for small fines when the cops are called to the scene.
I do whatever I can to convince the skeptics, but I don't think they are the problem when it comes to yelling for the authorities at the mere sight of a gun in public, carried by a non uniformed individual. I would be after people like Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Dennis Hennighan, etc. Those are people who will never be convinced and who, I'm guessing, would see nothing wrong with calling the cops when they've cited a handgun in public, being carried by a non uniformed individual.
They are wrong headed and they suck up valuable police time in solving real crimes or catching people running red lights, etc. (I almost go hit by one of those maniacs a few months ago with my kids in the car. Good thing I look both ways even on green. They are a real menace to public safety.)
I understand what you're saying, and I don't disagree with you. However, I don't like to hear stories of people calling the cops to harrass law abiding citizens for being law abiding citizens. I'd like to see some way to make them (the folks who make the calls) rethink what they are really doing when they call the police and why. That's my beef. We can debate about the best way to go about it. Maybe a fine isn't the best way, but it's a good opening point to debate how we can be more effective in protecting the rights of the law abiding gun owner from undue harrassment from the authorities, just because some person who is scared of guns calls the authorities for no real good reason.