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One veteran is asking local businesses to rethink open carry in their establishments.

Art Leal is claiming that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder may be sensitive to certain triggers, which remind them of life on the battlefield, and he wants people to know that one trigger could be a gun.

Leal served in the U.S. Army for eight years and now he tells us he suffers from PTSD and explains that weapons in plain sight could bring back undesirable memories.

“Adding an open carry individual; coming in the veteran doesn’t know who they are or what their intentions are,” Leal said.

Those ‘scars’ are the reason why Leal passes out small cards to businesses allowing open carry. He wants to remind them and gun owners that he suffers from PTSD and open carry could be a trigger for him or others with the condition.

Here’s my message for him:

Mr. Leal, you don’t speak on my behalf, or on behalf of the veteran community either, when it comes to PTSD and open carry. I’ve had numerous conversations with warriors who suffer from PTSD and have asked them about how felt about open carry, they all love the fact we can open carry and agree with our governor on the decision he’s made — none of them agree with you.

Every veteran that I know who suffers from PTSD collects weapons, builds their weapons, enjoys hunting, loves going to the shooting range as much as possible, and some of them have even started businesses that sell weapons. Feel free to stop by their establishment and give them one of your cards.

We knew the risks we would face when we volunteered to serve our country in a time of war and we fought for the rights of the American people — and it is their right to allow open carry in their own establishments. We don’t deserve, or should be asking for, any special kind of treatment from the American people. How would you feel if establishments handed you a card saying, “We don’t allow PTSD service members in our establishments, please don’t come back, we don’t want your business”?

We aren’t the first state to allow open carry and won’t be last, so how is it that we haven’t heard veterans complaining about it or making such a big deal about it? If you’re doing this as a cry for attention, know that the veteran community isn’t happy about it and disagrees with you. If you are battling with PTSD and guns trigger it, there are plenty of other places to conduct your business that don’t allow open carry — or even other states to move to, like California. So please stop handing out those cards, they aren’t going to change the choice of the owners or the law. Get used to it because open carry is here to stay.

Share if you think this Veteran doesn’t speak on behalf of all Veterans

Omar Avila

Sgt. Omar Avila is a wounded warrior, fighter, motivational speaker, and U.S. Infantry Veteran. Follow Omar on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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