Caleb over at Gun Nuts Media has stirred up the shooting community by posting a video of Rob Pincus and James “I put cameramen downrange during live fire exercises” Yeager bitching about open carry. Once again those who support open carry are debating against those who oppose it. Let me solve this debate.
Does the act of open carrying hurt anybody? I don’t mean some imaginary definition of hurt, like hurting a “cause” or somebody’s feeling, I mean actually physically hurting somebody. No? Then it’s not a problem, is it?
That’s it, the argument is over as far as I’m concerned. You can claim that people who openly carry a firearm are harming the cause of gun rights, but that’s really an irrelevant statement because those who oppose the right to carry a firearm are going to oppose it regardless. Their problem lies with the fact that they don’t like guns, they’re afraid of guns, and unless you get them beyond that point they’re going to oppose legalizing the carrying of firearms. Getting people beyond their fear of firearms requires normalizing firearms in their eyes. Instead of the magic black boxes that are capable of dealing death we must introduce opponents of gun rights to the fact that firearms are machines, no different than automobiles. We must demonstrate that firearms aren’t evil, they have no consciousness, they are merely tools in the hands of people.
Fighting amongst each other isn’t going to help promote gun rights, in fact I bet that fighting amongst each other does far more harm to gun rights than any act of openly carrying firearms could ever manage. Seeing proponents of gun rights fighting with one another causes outsiders to question our ideals even more.
Anybody following any gun rights sites as of late knows there is an ongoing drama fest with Starbucks. The drama is being create by the mostly irrelevant Brady Campaign Against Good Ideas. The Brady Bunch want Starbucks to ban weapons from their establishments while Starbucks doesn’t want to get involved in this debate.
Joe Huffman makes a good point in this debate. The best thing we pro-gun people can do is quietly go about our business, patronize Starbucks, and not make an issue of this. Let’s show the Brady Bunch how irrelevant they really are and ignore their little whine fest and let Starbucks have their wish of staying out of the gun issue.
Says Uncle has a post about more open carry drama occurring, this time in Michigan. The group Michigan Open Carry decided to have a meeting at a Pondarosa which the owner was fine with. Well that is until some of the members started showing up with rifle:
Officials from Michigan Open Carry say the owner of Ponderosa greed to let them hold a meeting at the restaurant. But he says he didn’t expect the meeting to be held on a busy Saturday — and certainly didn’t expect the men to bring more than handguns.
“At first, we looked the other way on the handguns,” said owner Dennis Holleran. “And then some gentleman shows up with an assault rifle, and that was just too far over the top.”
The owner called the police who came and ousted the Michigan Open Carry members. Of course there are hard feelings going around as would be expected. A lot of people are saying the open carry advocates were well within their right to carry and therefore what happened was unconscionable. But they are also forgetting another right, the right of a property owner to determine what happens on his or her property.
I personally can’t say the owner of the Pondarosa was out of line. Something was happening on his property that he was uncomfortable with so he took measures to make it stop. I don’t believe he should have called the cops before asking the people to leave but alas it’s his place and he can do as he pleases.
If somebody doesn’t want me to carry a gun on their property then I won’t go there. The owner sets the rules and I can chose to either abide by them or not go there. Likewise a property owner has the right to say he will allow me to carry a handgun but not a rifle. We as gun owners need to realize that we have a right to keep and bear arms and property owners have a right to determine what they will and will not allow on their property.
Of course these rules are different for governments in my book since that land is owned by the tax payers. Because of this I don’t think government has the right to determine what rights they will respect and what rights they won’t respect. But that’s an entirely different topic.
On another point relating to the topic at hand I want to say the police handled this situation very well:
But LPD say no one was arrested and notes they’re now working cooperatively with Open Carry to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“I think the taxpayers of Lansing want us to respond to gun calls. But at the same time, we need to be aware of individual rights.”
So kudos to them for not making a big fuss out of this and understanding they need to be aware of peoples’ rights.
You know when it comes to groups I think us second amendment supporters can certainly take a title for one of the most fickle groups out there. We argue amongst ourselves at the drop of the hat. For instance there are long running battles in our group about what’s better the AR-15 or AK-47? what caliber is better for self defense the 9mm or the .45, and of course does open carrying help or hinder our movement?
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, I love arguments. Arguments are how things get decided and I’m proud to say I’m part of a movement that is willing to argue about topics in detail. The other side of the coin are those who use simple talking points and always agree with one another. Those people don’t get anything good accomplished because they never take other sides into consideration.
Well this weeks argument seems to be about open carrying. Rob Allen is all for it, Sebastian isn’t a fan, and Uncle is all for it but doesn’t believe it promotes the second amendment to others. Of course I’m nowhere near these three as far as the popularity of my blog (or lack thereof) but that’s never stopped me from chiming in when an good argument is afoot.
Let’s face it most peoples’ exposure to firearms is in a negative sense. For the average Joe the only time they are exposed to another individual carrying a gun outside of a range is when the gun is in their face during a mugging or robbery or when they are interacting with a police officer (and if you’re dealing with their gun it’s probably not a good thing either).
Due to this the default reaction of most people is negative when they see another person carrying a gun. If a majority of peoples’ exposure to other carrying firearms was positive I believe this default reaction would change. That’s also why I don’t believe open carrying alone is going to do anything, you need to do it well.
What I mean by that if you are open carrying as a method to change peoples’ minds be polite as possible, dress well, and besides the gun look as harmless as possible. If somebody approaches you and decided to confront you on your choice to carry a gun don’t get in their face. Explain in a calm and collected manner why you chose to carry a gun. Scream, “BECAUSE IT’S MY RIGHT!” isn’t going to accomplish anything. On the other hand explain how you carry a gun to protect yourself and your family will give the confronter nothing they want and hence they will most likely move on.
If you’re walking around carrying a gun openly make eye contact and politely nod to anybody you pass by. Say, “Hello” or “How are you doing?” Just be a nice person. If you want people to become accustom to firearms their exposure must be positive. That’s the key.
I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about a certain man carrying a certain AR rifle at a certain rally. Well this story has brought forth the wrath of the drama llama. People in the gun community are talking about this more than those not in the community and the opinions are varied. Well I’m throwing my opinion in the rink. But first I draw your attention to Rob Allen’s post. It mostly sums up my views on this as well.
I’m completely for the unnamed man carrying that AR rifle because of two things. The first is the simple fact it’s his right and society should never feel there are times when it’s not appropriate to exercise your rights. Sure if you don’t like guns and a person is carrying a gun on your property you can tell him to leave, it’s your property but this was being done on public land hence nobody should be able to tell him to leave.
But my second reason why I’m for this is exposure. We are always talking about open carry protests, picnics, and other assorted gatherings. It is believed that these gatherings will raise awareness and hopefully desensitize people to the sight of guns. It appears to be working as more and more people are saying they are for carry laws and I’ve noticed less people are freaking out when they see somebody with a gun. Well why should we change our tune on this when it comes to “evil black rifles?” How often do you hear us pro-gun people say guns are just tools and nothing more? If that’s what we truly believe then we need to be consistent and treat all guns as tools.
I do understand where the pro-gun people who are against this man come from. Yes he could be bad PR for our movement. But as they say in industry no publicity is bad publicity. The bias media is going to turn any pro-gun event into a threat to man kind style event. This is not something we can control, period. What we can control is how people perceive gun owners. If they see many of us walking around with rifles over our shoulders peacefully they will eventually realize we are peaceful regardless of the type of weapon we are carrying.