As we celebrate Independence Day, we need to remember among other things not to take liberties with our liberties.
Open carry – that is, carrying or wearing a visible firearm out and about in public – has become a hot topic on both sides of the gun debate. On our side, there are some who claim “a right not exercised is a right that will wither away.” In recent years, it has turned out otherwise. Ostentatious open carry led to it being banned by the state legislature in California. More recently, a series of store and restaurant chains, most recently Target, have come out and asked customers not to come there armed with firearms. These have been direct results of AR15s, AK47 clones, etc. being carried in their premises for no reason other than “because I can.”
My own position is middle of the road. I would like to see the open carry of a handgun made legal in all fifty states without a permit, with the practice prohibited to convicted felons, those adjudicated mentally ill, and the like. First, legal open carry prevents arrest of concealed carry permit holders whose gun becomes visible when the wind blows their coat open. Second, when someone becomes a stalking victim or the target of death threats overnight, they don’t have time to wait for the bureaucracy to take weeks or months to process a concealed carry permit.
However, a growing majority of gun owners – including me – are fed up with clowns who sling a rifle over one shoulder, a camcorder over the other, and go out to show off and maybe taunt a policeman or two. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these people weren’t false-flag plants from the other side. Not all of them are, though.
It’s self-delusional to think that you’ll spread a positive Second Amendment image by frightening people already made leery of armed people in public by news reports of atrocities like Sandy Hook. The gay rights movement didn’t make the strides it did by having its members have sex with each other in Starbucks, and wandering into a coffee shop or department store with a loaded military style rifle won’t make positive strides for gun owners’ civil rights. A small handful of attention whores have done huge damage to the vast majority of responsible gun owners.
Enjoy the Fourth. I intend to be setting off some fireworks myself, but on the range. Hope you get some fun time for the holiday weekend as well.