The last entry here, on “in your face” open carry versus concealed carry or discreet open carry, caught interest with a three-digit comment count. I also raised some new issues I hadn’t discussed here previously.
Basic truth, folks: economic rhetoric has never fed the hungry, and Second Amendment rhetoric has never armed the helpless.
The gains the gun owners’ civil rights movement have made can be attributed to decades of legal scholarship, working within the system, and reforming anti-gun laws which largely trace back to anti-black bias in the antebellum and Reconstruction-era south, anti-immigrant bias in the industrialized north, and culture war at multiple levels.
Gun-banners will never convert most who read this blog, and we who support a responsibly armed citizenry will never win over the Pelosis and Bloombergs of the world. The battleground lies with the vast majority of people who are in the middle on this polarized issue. I am old enough to remember when Massachusetts and California each held a referendum on whether possession of handguns should be banned in their states. Neither state had a majority of gun owners in the voting pool, but in each case our side won the referendum, because “the people on the fence” didn’t want to go that far.
Doing things that alarm those people in the middle will do nothing to help the pro-gun side. Fear is the key ingredient that creates hatred. Doing things that put the general public in fear will cause more people to hate us, and anyone who seriously thinks flaunting rifles around schools in cities and suburbs will somehow acclimate the public to an acceptance of armed citizens is simply delusional.
Please, don’t compare the heavily armed guy who video-records himself confronting police to Rosa Parks on a segregated bus. Ms. Parks did not put anyone in fear of their lives. Don’t tell me that “a right not exercised is a right denied,” when we’ve seen confrontational open carry result in stricter laws in California, and hamper the responsible open carry movement in Texas much more recently.
This blog post, like the most recent one, grew from a fellow prancing around a school with a visible rifle and handgun. Even gun experts will tell you that handguns are carried holstered, in case they’re needed for a life-threatening emergency, while long guns are traditionally carried only when their immediate use is anticipated. For us, that’s hunting, response to an already identified emergency (think “Rodney King riots”), or a target shooting range. To the general public, that image instantly calls to mind Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Newtown. When an otherwise obviously smart and articulate poster says the officer confronting such a person with hand on service pistol is the one being provocative, I can only say “Wow…just…wow.”
Some open carry advocates hope for test cases to go to courts and validate their cause. I wouldn’t be betting on that outcome. When someone’s behavior is sufficiently frightening that the school in question goes to lockdown, I don’t expect the courts to say that’s just fine. Depending on the jurisdiction, the mood of the court, and the mood of the prosecution, some of the cards on the table may include “disturbing the peace,” “trespass after warning,” and “going armed to the terror of the public.”
But, the people who want to traipse around schools with visible military rifles and camcorders will have had their fifteen minutes of YouTube “fame.”
On this discussion thread, a poster by the username of “usagi” said it better than I: “Open carry of long guns to advocate for 2A rights is exactly the same as blowing smoke directly in people’s faces for smoker’s rights.”
Open carry is the practice of wearing a presumably loaded firearm, visibly. It normally takes the form of a holstered handgun. It occasionally takes the form of someone carrying a rifle or shotgun into a restaurant, which has a history of causing restaurant chains to ban or at least decry the practice. There is also what gun writer and blogger Tam Keel calls “Open carrying at people,” which I think is the province of those colloquially known as “attention whores.”
A few years ago, Mark Walters hosted a three-way debate on the topic on his show “Armed American Radio.” The “pro” speaker came, IIRC, from Georgia Carry. The “anti-open carry” speaker was a cop from the Midwest who, though generally pro-armed citizen, thought open carry was counterproductive to both the public peace and the Second Amendment cause. I took the middle ground, which I still hold. One the one hand, I would like for every state to allow any citizen who has a clean record and hasn’t been adjudicated mentally incompetent to be allowed to open carry a holstered, loaded handgun. First, because there are some jurisdictions where if the wind blows your coat open and reveals the gun you are legally carrying concealed, a genuinely frightened citizen or vindictive anti-gunner can combine with an anti-gun prosecutor to create a perfect storm of criminal charges for illegal open carry. Second, because if a good person suddenly becomes a stalking victim or the target of death threats, I don’t want them to have to wait up to 90 days (gun-friendly Florida) or six months (the time it takes before a new resident can even apply for a concealed carry permit in California, which for the most part is decidedly non-gun-friendly). But on the other hand, I don’t think we win any friends for gun owners’ civil rights by flaunting deadly weapons in the face of a general public conditioned to fear guns and their owners by generations of anti-gun media and political prejudice.
I do open carry a few times a year in public, just to gauge typical response, and have done so in jurisdictions from New Hampshire and Connecticut to Washington State. Most folks don’t even notice. I just got back from a class in Tucson, hosted by Dan Southard and his Gator Farm Tactical training group. There is no more open-carry-friendly state than Arizona, though Tucson is pretty much “blue yuppie central” on firearms issues. At the airport hotel, about a fifth of the students open carried, while a majority of the rest were packing concealed. There were no incidents or complaints. Interestingly, if you look at the class photo below, you’ll be hard put to spot even the openly carried handguns, including the Glock on my own hip. Yes, open carry can be discreetly performed.
Now, contrast that with this YouTube video, taken by a true attention whore and cop-baiter. Ask yourself just how much of an ambassador this guy, trolling a school while wearing an openly carried handgun AND a slung long gun, is for the cause of responsible armed citizens. Note that at the end, he and his flaunted guns walk right up to the door of the school, doing a remarkable imitation of Adam Lanza approaching Sandy Hook Elementary School. Note that it was the Bloomberg anti-gun-owner forces who made it go viral.
If you’ve been reading Backwoods Home magazine and blogs for a while, you’ve seen me and others point out the incontrovertible fact that so-called “gun control” in our country stemmed largely from whites wanting to disarm blacks in the post-Civil War years.
The man who wants to be the lead advocate of citizen disarmament, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, has apparently come out of the closet in the last few days with his take on the subject, posted here and quoted below:
Moderator Jennifer Bradley, director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Institute, then asked what the U.S. can do to get people out of poverty. Bloomberg responded that conventional wisdom points to education, but education isn’t going to help uneducated adults. Bradley later asked how government can offer basic fairness to the children “who have been failed.”
Bloomberg claimed that 95 percent of murders fall into a specific category: male, minority and between the ages of 15 and 25. Cities need to get guns out of this group’s hands and keep them alive, he said.
“These kids think they’re going to get killed anyway because all their friends are getting killed,” Bloomberg said. “They just don’t have any long-term focus or anything. It’s a joke to have a gun. It’s a joke to pull a trigger.”
Note that the Aspen publication where it first appeared buried it amidst a story on Bloomberg’s diatribe against legalization of marijuana. Let’s see how long it takes the mainstream media to publicize Mr. Bloomberg’s profile of certain groups who, he thinks, should be preemptively stripped of their rights. (Hmmm…teens into mid-twenties? Doesn’t that cover a helluva lot of young black American men who’ve fought and died for their country?) It’ll be interesting to hear Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and Eric Holder comment on this, too…
With a new, Obama-appointed Surgeon General with a long history of anti-gun advocacy, we now see a resurgence of the Prohibitionists’ efforts to have firearms ownership be excoriated as a health and safety risk to Americans.
When I opened my first shooting school to teach armed citizens the use of deadly force in 1981, I very quickly noticed something my predecessors in the private firearms academy business, Jeff Cooper and Ray Chapman and John Farnam, had already seen: in more classes than not, health care professionals were the single most highly represented occupational category among the students. That trend has continued to this day.
It seems counterintuitive to those who don’t understand the real-world dynamics of not only guns, but self-defense. All that’s required to understand it is common sense. Doctors and nurses and paramedics and rehabilitation therapists aren’t like ordinary citizens, who see violence mentioned in their morning paper or on TV, mutter “Tsk, tsk,” and turn the page or the channel. These medical professionals see the results of violent criminal assault upon the innocent, and some of them see it daily!
Because they deal with life and death (or life-threatening illness and trauma) on such a regular basis, doctors and other health-care providers become realists and pragmatists. And when you analyze survival of violent crime realistically and pragmatically, seeing its victims so often, it is logical to very soon come to a realistic and pragmatic conclusion: Not me! Not mine!
I hate it when newspapers get hold of concealed carry permit lists and publish them, but one good thing has come from that: every single time it happens, you see a disproportionate number of the gun carriers are medical people (and lawyers, and judges). The people who deal with reality day in, and day out. There is something to be learned from that.
A great resource is Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, at http://www.drgo.us/. Read the recent article by Dr. John Edeen, a Texas MD who compares two homicides which occurred in medical environments, both perpetrators having opened fire with the intent of murdering medical professionals. One was ended by a doc who had his own gun…the other was not. Dr. Edeen’s article speaks for itself. I know Dr. Edeen, and have spoken on a panel with him speaking against the fallacious “gun-free zone” concept, along with gunfight researcher Chris Bird, at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in 2014, available here.
The founder and head of DRGO is my old friend Dr. Tim Wheeler. He, like the large membership for whom he speaks, is a voice of reality.
Dr. Edeen’s voice of reason is found most recently here.
I’m not a doctor. But I’ve heard the beginning of the Hyppocratic Oath translated variously as “First, do no harm,” and also as “First, do no further harm.”
It seems to me that “First, do not ALLOW any further harm to be done to your patients or your fellow caregivers” might be an appropriate modern translation.
It’s no secret that Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown” crusade against gun ownership has been known to bend the truth. Remember when they listed the slain Boston Marathon Bomber as a “victim of gun violence”?
Now comes more mendacity. Apparently, in a blurb railing against transfer of firearms by other than licensed dealers, they pirated watermarked pictures from a legitimate dealer in Vermont, who makes sure that all his sales go through FFL licensees with NICS checks. Kudos to guns.com for breaking the story.
A press release issued on behalf of the defamed gun shop is here.
Rachel Baird appears to be the gun shop’s lawyer of record on this matter, and it looks as if Attorney Mitchell Lake, one of her associates, is also on the case on behalf of Crossfire Arms. Though I’ve only spoken with Ms. Baird on the phone, she seems passionately interested in getting justice for the gun shop owner. I’ve met Mr. Lake in person. Like any good lawyer, he knows the rules of the Court inside and out…but, more important, he knows the issues in this case inside and out, and as a staunch advocate of Second Amendment Rights, he will demonstrate the very definition of “zealous advocacy.” Mr. Bloomberg, of course, can afford to field whole covens of lawyers…but none of them will be able to change the truth.
Go get ‘em, Mitch and Rachel. This is gonna be good.