WARNING – This post may cause unintended thought and reflection. Open carry laws vary from state to state and you should familiarize yourself with your local laws before considering open carry as a viable option.
Open carry of firearms, the act of simply carrying around a long gun, or having a pistol strapped to your leg like Marshal Dillon of Gunsmoke, is a hot issue within the pro 2nd Amendment movement. In many areas, it is perfectly legal to openly carry a firearm in public. In some areas, it can be fully loaded. In others, it has to be unloaded but you can have ammunition with you. As the warning above states, laws vary from state to state and you should do some thorough research before wandering downtown with an AR15 strapped across your back.
But, is open carry, as a form of lawful protest, actually helpful to the cause of the 2nd Amendment? Pay attention because here is where you will begin to understand my bipolar opinions on the matter. Initially, I would have to say yes to that question. It is our legal right. Many would say, according to the Constitution, that it is our God-given right to keep and carry arms whenever we so choose. As a believer in the perfection of our Constitution, and a believer that any and all laws should, and must, pass Constitutional muster, I am fiercely protective of my right to keep and bear arms. I am an avid shooter, pseudo collector, and an advocate of defensive firearms training. I encourage people to get trained, whether by me, or some other entity, and to apply their state’s laws with regard to concealed carry of a handgun. I believe that the more guns that are in the hands of the good guys, the fewer the guns of the bad guys will be employed. And, if they are employed, at least they may be employed for the last time. At least for that particular shitbag.
The thing I want all shitbags to know is that, if necessary, I will shoot you in the face. And I hope others feel the same way instead of looking the other way.
But, if your advocacy and activism places yourself at the center of attention, and our law enforcement on edge, I believe you are doing it wrong. Adam Kokesh is a prime example. He is touted as a champion of the 2nd Amendment when, in reality, he is damaging our perception within the population. Is he right? Sometimes. Does that make it right that he pulled out a loaded shotgun on a street in Washington, DC and wound up in jail? No. I prefer that my 2nd Amendment advocates be level-headed, intelligent, and capable of being persuasive in their opinions and oration. Idiots like Kokesh, Alex Jones, and James Yeager (who went on YouTube saying he was going to start shooting people in order to preserve his 2nd Amendment rights) do not represent the firearms culture in this country and they do not represent me. The are actually working AGAINST preserving our rights with their outrageous, and often illegal, advocacy for confrontation and potential violence.
Our law enforcement officials have a very difficult job in the United States. They work in a country where the gun is a status symbol, a tool, and an equalizer for pathetic, saggy pant wearing gangsters who have learned that they can gain power through violence. They have enough to worry about. I know and love a lot of police officers around this great country of ours. I also know the Constitution and my local laws. Therefore, I never intentionally violate any of those rules, regulations, and laws. I never put myself into the position of being on the wrong side of the law. I carry a firearm almost 24 hours a day. I don’t wave it around, pull it out, strap it across my torso, or try to “school” any police officers on the meaning of the 2nd Amendment while I am out and about. That’s called being stupid.
When I encounter a police officer, the first words out of my mouth are that I have a permit to carry a firearm and that I am A) currently armed, or B) not currently armed. Why? Well, that’s because the law here in my state tell me to do so. And, I used to wear a badge. I used to make those traffic stops. I used to wonder what that person in that car was up to just moments before I tagged them for an expired registration. I’ve seen too many officers over the years gunned down by maniacs during a simple encounter during a traffic stop or a domestic disturbance. Hell, during a shoplifting arrest for that matter. It happens. That means cops are automatically on edge, 24/7 – 365. They should be. I don’t begrudge them that. They usually only see the worst our society has to offer and they want to go home to their spouses and children at the end of their shift just like the rest of us. So, I would never put an officer in a position to feel threatened or uneasy in my presence.
Have I seen some really bad cops over the years? You’re damn right I have. In one local case, the out of control officer made national news TWICE because of his overly aggressive treatment of otherwise innocent citizens. He is the epitome of how I would never want a police officer to act. He’s lucky he hadn’t accidentally killed a legally carrying citizen due to his overzealous approach and inability to actually listen when a citizen tried to inform the officer that the citizen was licensed to carry a firearm.
(You can read a bit about Officer Harless at the following link. Trust me, no one in this area is happy that he may be returning to the streets – http://www.cantonrep.com/x2105837634/Fired-Canton-officer-Daniel-Harless-wins-back-his-job)
In my opinion, if your advocacy and form of protest creates a hazard for other people, you need a new hobby. You are probably doing more harm to your cause than good. Do I support your legal right to carry a firearm? Yes. Do I believe that most of the people I encounter on a daily basis are completely incapable of doing so responsibly? Yes. The answer to these situations is training, for both the citizen and the law enforcement officer. Learn to interact with each other responsibly and professionally. Understand the stresses and apprehensions of both groups. Just be good people.
Obnoxious demonstrations and aggressive advocacy does nothing to improve the public opinion. I believe it has the opposite effect. Just like hairy men in drag running through a church on Sunday morning screaming, “We’re here, we’re queer, and we aren’t going away!” Walking down to your local 7-11 for a slushy with an AK strapped to your back does nothing but make people nervous. It also makes you a target. A target for scrutiny by the citizenry. A target for scrutiny by law enforcement. And a target for scrutiny by your local chapter of the Union of thugs and gangsters. Guess who will take the first bullet if that 7-11 gets robbed while you have that rifle across your back? Yea, that would be you. Primarily because you are obviously armed and they will want to take you out. Secondarily, because the damn thing is strapped across your back and is completely useless if you needed to use it in a hurry.
This opinion piece may rub many of my friends the wrong way. I have many connections within the firearms community, law enforcement community, and the military community. Each one has a very distinct opinion on guns and gun laws. Perhaps I will at least spark a little more debate. Maybe we can all think a little more clearly before we put our faith behind the latest idiot who thinks causing a scene and winding up in jail somehow promotes their cause in a good way. Whatever happens, I hope I at least made you think about it.
Train safe, train hard, stay alive.