As a gun owner and a person who was raised and embraces the gun culture, I thought I would write about firearms today. Not in the way you may think, though. I don’t want to discuss CNN and their “AR-15 shotguns” today, but rather what some people within the gun rights crowd are doing that could effect all of us who carry our weapons responsibly.
Now, I know many of you will probably either agree with me one hundred percent or disagree with me one hundred percent. The subject I am referring to is open carry. Specifically this case that recently happened outside of a Starbucks in San Antonio, Texas. This event was captured by one of the men on their cellphone camera.
Basically, what you had was three guys who thought they would “exercise” their second amendment rights by open carrying long guns, specifically AR-15 variants, into Starbucks to get a coffee. Someone called the police to report suspicious activity and the police showed up to talk to the three men. The men were somewhat argumentative with the police. They were pretty much pulling what I like to call the “want to be lawyer” routine. They were questioning the police about unreasonable search and whether they had committed a crime. Basically the altercation ends with them leaving, having been cited for public disturbance.
So how do I feel about it? Well, I will start with this. As a person who has carried guns both for a living and for everyday protection, I fundamentally disagree with any type of open carry by anyone who is not actively working. By working I mean, cops, security guards, body guards and the like. There is no reason why I need to open carry to go to Walmart. It makes people who are not raised in the gun culture very nervous and with semi-good reason. I carry my handgun everyday and I do so concealed, I take steps to make sure that while I am carrying I am the only one who knows it.
This is for several reasons. The first is one that, as these gentlemen found out, although you can open carry (if your state allows you to), you can still be arrested or cited for causing a public disturbance if someone calls the police. The second is that you make yourself a target. If someone is going to rob a store you are in and you have the Glock proudly displayed on your hip, who do you think is getting shot first?
Now, on to the pro-open carry people. I understand what they are trying to do but honestly they are trying to do way too much. You guys need to understand and grasp the fact that this isn’t Somalia, Iraq, or Afghanistan. This is the United States of America and there is zero reason that you need to be carryng AR and AK variants on the street to go get coffee, gas or groceries. These guns, by their very nature, look menacing to the average person and those people do not understand that it is basically a glorified small game rifle. All they see is you carrying that gun that they recognize from the news report about Sandy Hook, Aurora, insert any other spree shooting here. So when you sit out in public and talk about exercising your “freedoms”, there are a few things you should know.
You do not have the “right” to open carry or concealed carry for that matter. The second amendment mentions NOTHING about open or concealed carry. It simply says that you have the right to keep and bear arms. The reality is the Supreme Court has ruled time and time again in the favor of public safety over individual rights. That’s just the reality. Concealed and open carry law is different from state to state and these laws were enacted to give people a way in which to carry. They can just as easily be modified. You have no more of a right to carry then you have a right to drive. If you abuse the privilege, it can and will be taken away. While you sit on the corner and spout the bill of rights to the poor cop who got sent out there to deal with your attention-seeking behind, please remember that you don’t know half of what you think you know about the law.
Which leads us to message number two. While you are arguing with this cop there are real crimes being committed and real people who need help. You are obstructing law enforcement and, in my opinion, your butt does need to get thrown in the lock up for being a jack-ass. How long do you think it is going to be before police chiefs and sheriffs get sick of dealing with you open carry guys and just change the law? Just stop hassling the cops before you screw it up for everyone.
Finally, stop scaring people because you want to exercise your “rights.” I don’t gut deers in my front yard in front of my neighbors’ kids. Why, it’s my right to do it anywhere in my own property right? Because there is a thing called decorum. People need to use it. I am not in the business of making people feel nervous. Hell, as a gun owner I do everything I can to educate people and make them feel safer having me around. My slinging up my AR and walking into Walmart isn’t making anyone feel safer and it isn’t educating anyone, you are only alienating them. If anything it is reinforcing the stereotype the left has put on gun owners: that we are all irresponsible trigger happy renegades. Please think before you carry.