Announcement: I support open carry.
Most of us gun people are aware of the Michigan man who took a shotgun into the kids/teens section of the public library. And the idiot who took an AR15 into a Ponderosa.
Some have said that the shotgun kid had no choice but to have a shotgun, since he could not (since he was under 21 when the shotgun incident occurred) carry a handgun. Yet here he is with a pistol on his belt standing outside that same library. There goes the “he HAD to carry a shotgun since he couldn’t carry a pistol” argument, since he is STILL not yet 21.
I am not the only person who has a problem with the behavior of some open carriers. But, to make an important distinction, I am not the only dedicated gun-rights activist who has a problem with it:
Reminder Announcement: I support open carry. Really. I am not kidding. I really do.
Another stalwart champion of gun rights has also come out against this stupidity. Clayton Cramer says what I and many other gun people are feeling. Here is a money quote, but read the whole thing:
If you are carrying a gun to make a political point — and especially if you are carrying a long gun into the children’s section of the public library — well, you’ve succeeded. You’ve convinced everyone in the library that your pet issue is more important to you than the peace of mind of every kid and adult present.
The open carry zealots steadfastly refuse to admit that there is a very real chance of negative consequences resulting from open carry activism. They make quiet, tepid, perfunctory disapproving statements about the shotgun kid and other foolish open carriers, but immediately start loudly attacking those who do not leap to the shotgun kid’s defense. “Fudd” is one of the more polite terms that has been used to describe Breda, me and others who think the shotgun kid’s tactics are bad publicity for the gun rights movement.
I personally have been called a “dick”, an “asshole” and other insults, despite the fact that I did not engage in any ad hominem attacks against the person who said those things to me. Now, I am not terribly bothered by it. I have dealt with young children’s tantrums and the shrieking hissyfits of teenage girls, so an indignant activist attempting to smack me with a rhetorical purse is not going to upset me. And his feigned indignation when I expressed a desire to kick the shotgun kid in the ass (not “kick his ass” but rather “kick him in the ass”) was pretty funny, in a hypocritical let’s-change-the-subject-to-your-threats-of-violence-because-I-am-losing-the-argument sort of way.
My position remains the same: inflammatory open carry hurts the cause of gun rights more than it helps.
Yet Another Reminder Announcement: Seriously, I support open carry. No joke. I am researching my state’s laws on open carry. I might even do it myself soon.
The open carry activists insist that since there is no “proof” (yet) of negative consequences, therefore no such consequences can occur. As a rational adult, with considerable experience in the world, I am able to put aside my desire to have a society that accepts all open & concealed carry choices and see the world as it is, rather than kidding myself into thinking that being more radical with open carry will automatically help the cause.
Scaring undecided people will push them farther towards the gun-grabber’s position. And that is a bad thing.
I truly want to have open carry become a commonplace act, with no legal or social drawbacks attached. But all of these in-your-face open carry incidents are hurting the gun rights movement. Just as some claim that there is no proof that these incidents have incurred negative effects (despite the negative media attention and the restraining order and impending lawsuit against open carriers in Michigan, and the proposed ban on open carry in libraries), there is no proof that these incidents are helping.
I won’t stop calling people who act like the shotgun kid “attention whores”. Because that is what they are acting like.
We gun people have limited political capital to bring to bear on the system. If we have to fight a bunch of legal battles because of foolish open carry practitioners, we will be in a weaker position to fight against real threats like Senator upChuck Schumer’s proposed requirement for background checks on all firearms purchases.
Idiot open-carries an AK-47, gets to meet the cops:
Listen to him yap about what he is doing, and why. Then ask yourself if this is someone you want to represent the gun rights movement to the general public.