“The intent was to raise awareness of the legal right of Californians to carry unloaded rifles and shotguns in public,” sfgate.com reports. Well, the media did cover it. That counts for something right? “The venue was a corner of the parking lot of Bayfair Center. And while mall management roped off 165 spaces to accommodate the rally, no more than 30 opponents of gun-control laws stopped by the midday event.” So was the San Leandro long gun open carry rally a good idea or not? I’m thinking . . . not. The main problem? This is not the normalization you’re looking for . . .
Rallies are, by definition, a group of people getting together to get laid. No wait. That’s Occupy Wall Street. In general, rallies are a show of force. In this case, a show of force to defend the right to use force as a forceful way to force the media to take notice of those who believe the Second Amendment grants them the right to keep and bear arms, period. But it’s scary. And not in a good way.
Good scary: when someone who doesn’t like/hates guns sees “a” gun on “a” civilian, freaks a bit and then, eventually, calms down. The more “normal” the open carrier appears (and no I don’t necessarily mean white), the more innocuously the gun owner goes about their business, the faster the non-gun carrier loses their adrenal response. Wash, rinse, repeat, desensitize. Done.
Bad scary: flag-waving groups of “normal” gun owners (and yes I do mean white) gathered in a public place with “assault rifles” saying stuff like “I’m not here trying to intimidate people. Our government is trying to make life difficult, and this is the only option [for self-protection].” Note to Adnan Shahab: if you don’t want to intimidate someone don’t use the word “intimidate.” And most Californians consider SPF15 adequate person protection.
Now that AB 144 has specifically banned unloaded open carry handguns in the Golden State (as of January 1), California’s gun rights advocates are in a gun-free pickle. Long gun loophole aside, defending and extending gun rights by “normalizing” firearms. They’ll have to lobby for more liberalized concealed carry, attempt to move the cultural needle covertly and then maybe, if they can be bothered, move to open carry.
Good luck with that. I reckon what Joe Matafome calls COMMIEFORNIA is a lost cause. Nothing much is going to happen in terms of gun rights unless and until Uncle Sam’s Supreme Court kicks CA’s legislative ass. Meanwhile, the open carry movement needs to focus on motivating its base. It should start by getting people in non-gun aversive states with open carry rights to carry openly. (No small project that.) Then encourage open carry in “borderline” states.
As a Rhode Islander, I first encountered open carry in Atlanta Georgia. A black gas station owner in a bad part of town had a Smith & Wesson 686 strapped to his hip. It was a bit . . . jarring. But it made perfect sense. Still does. If you agree that normalization is the key to changing entrenched gun-phobia and, thus, assuring our rights, do me a favor. Open carry at home now, rally never. The longest journey and all that.