My father has been catching hell from one or two people who are politically active in his area of Pennsylvania. He has thrown in his lot with the Tea Party people, gotten himself appointed as a Republican Committeeman, is planning on standing for regular election as a Committeeman, and has
announced his candidacy for County Republican Chair (Dad says the Bylaws prevent this). To say that he’s unhappy with the direction of the Republican Party in his county would be a vast understatement. My sweet and kind mother, a lady who came from Great (it still was, in those days) Britain in the 60’s, has gotten pretty militant about guns. From a woman who actually told my father that he only wanted a gun to make himself feel more manly, she has become a concealed carrying Second Amendment absolutist. She figures that if you want to take her gun, you probably want to do something nasty to her. She’ll keep her gun, thanks very much, and if you get nasty, you’ll find out why she is keeping her gun.
To that end, they are both getting organized for a Second Amendment rally in October. And they are going to Open Carry. Dad has been catching hell for this decision from a few people who are “concerned” about the “image” it portrays of gun owners.
I have been mulling it over in my mind; the arguments for and against openly carrying a gun. Exercising my rights etc and believe me when I say this is not difficult for me.
Any right not exercised is a right lost. If you do not speak out and address an injustice, you have abridged your freedom of speech. If you fail to meet your friends for any reason except you don’t want to, you have abridged your freedom of assembly. Let us say you refuse to file a complaint against a police officer who mistreats you because of fear of reprisal, you have given up your right against unreasonable search and seizure. You get the picture.
Sounds to me like Dad’s got the right idea.
Let’s talk about the nature of propaganda. We have been told that “people will be afraid” if they see a gun. We are good and decent people, so we naturally don’t wish our friends and neighbors to be afraid of us, so we rarely carry a gun openly. Now wasn’t that so much easier than trying to ban open carry?
If those who argue against gun ownership were successful in passing a law against open carry, they would piss off the open carriers, of course. But they would also piss off that much larger group of people who resent being told what to do. A whole raft of people who don’t care one way or the other about Open Carry would run out and buy the most obnoxious guns possible just so they could flout the new (and unconstitutional) law. So the opponents of guns are much stealthier. They try to convince you that you are alone. They try to convince you that if your neighbor sees you with a gun he or she will fear and loathe you. They try to convince you that you are the crazy person. In reality, none of that is true, but 50 years of TV news propaganda has convinced you that it is.
Here’s what I recommend. Get a gun. Learn how to use it. Check your local laws (PA is VERY lenient on OC) and Open Carry. Once you get over the initial nervousness, you will be bored out of your mind. Where are all the screaming neighbors? Where are the SWAT teams converging on you to prone you out and seize your gun? They don’t exist. They are all phantoms.
And give up on Open Carry being a bridge to teaching your friends and neighbors about gun ownership and law. Your friends and neighbors probably won’t notice. Let’s face it. One more black object stuck to your hip in this era of universal cell phone ownership isn’t much of a red flag. It makes it really hard to start a pro-gun conversation with a person who doesn’t even notice that you are carrying a gun.
What Open Carry does is teach the Open Carrier that guns are not universally despised in society. The few that notice will almost without exception be positive. They might be surprised, but after a quick question about the legality of it all they will wander off happy that one more law abiding citizen has a gun. I’ve done several Open Carry dinners, and the most common comment is “Anyone who robs this restaurant is in for a REAL surprise.” Think about that for a minute. A person you have never met sees you and your friends carrying guns and automatically classifies you as an ally. You see that often enough and you start to see through the web of lies you have been told.
You were told that your friends and neighbors would panic, scream, run, and call the cops. You were told that you, decent law abiding citizen with a gun, are a menace, a danger, and completely without allies in a hostile political environment. You were told that the cops would invite you to a pavement tasting contest while they arrested you and seized your gun. And none of this happened. Your “scaredy-cat” friends and neighbors either don’t notice the guns, or they don’t care. In fact, when pressed they seem downright friendly to the idea of law abiding citizens having and carrying guns. Suddenly you realize that that hostile political landscape is an out and out lie. There are so many people who are pro-gun that you start to wonder who, if anyone, is actually anti-gun.
The anti-gunners are the ones who are running the cameras. They are the ones who pretend that there is a serious anti-gun movement in the US. They tell us that our neighbors will be afraid. They tell us that we are isolated and alone. They tell us that Open Carry will start a panic.
So who are you going to believe? Them? Or your lying eyes?
Update: Arms are the Mark of a Free Man posts his Open Carry thoughts: The Boredom of Open Carry.
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