Kate Shilling, Coalition Director of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater LA, reckons banning open carry wouldn’t violate Californians’ Constitutional rights. “Forbidding open carry does not limit your right to own or carry a gun,” Ms. Shilling writes in the Huffington Post. “It merely regulates the way in which you carry your gun when in a public place — the library, the coffeeshop on the corner, or yes, Huntington Beach.” And it’s OK to ban open carry because “When someone not in uniform carries a gun in public, they are in effect saying “I could kill you, if I chose.” Which in turn poses an immediate threat to my own freedom of speech, freedom of action, freedom to congregate and freedom to be in public spaces. Even free speech advocates recognize that a serious, declared threat to kill someone goes beyond the limits of First Amendment protections.” Shilling then proceeds to tie herself in rhetorical knots . . .
Similarly, the inherent, present threat in an openly displayed weapon goes beyond the scope of protected Second Amendment rights. (OK, but still — why is this worse than carrying a concealed weapon?)
So open carry makes Ms. Shilling too nervous to exercise her right to free speech? Somehow that strikes me as highly implausible.
Like most people who view government regulation as a necessary non-evil to protect other people from themselves or other people, Ms. Shilling’s willing to put the pedal to the metal on the road to hell, paved as it is with good intentions. She has no time for the idea that law-abiding citizens openly carrying firearms could serve as a deterrent to violent crime.
At its heart, open carry promotes a culture of fear — a sense that we need to be afraid of each other, that we are all vigilantes. Banning open carry is a reminder that we live in community — that when it comes to violence, there is no “us” vs. “them.” That part of living together in democracy is subscribing to the same governing laws, and the freedom to know that we are all able to express ourselves without fear of deadly repercussions from either big government or self-appointed individuals. When someone can walk into a playground, a church, a school or a beach openly carrying a weapon, it strikes a blow not only against our constitutional rights, but also against the very core of our humanity.
Odd times two. Ms. Shilling acknowledges the “threat” of big government AND fails to see that open carry advocates view the practice as creating a sense of safety. That they consider protecting yourself, your loved ones and your community with an openly displayed firearm as an expression of love, which lies at the very core of our humanity.