Escalatoring into the bowels of the SHOT show, you leave the world of slick corporate PR and descend into an in-your-face arena of entrepreneurial adrenalin. In other words, a souk of small companies with massive ‘tude. Hot Leathers is one such outfit, appealing as they do to people who’d rather sit on a Harley than a fat pension (although a number do both). There’s an obvious intersection between the Outlaw Biker Lifestyle™ and firearms; as illustrated above and after the jump. While I salute Hot Leather’s artistic interpretation of Second Amendment righteousness, you might not want to wear this stuff on a daily basis . . .
Your gun rights are absolute. Only they aren’t. No matter what the Constitution or the law says, they depend entirely on the “reasonable person test.” It all comes down to whether a jury of your peers thinks a reasonable person would have done what you did in your situation.
Anything you do or don’t do to help a [theoretical] jury think of you as a reasonable person will help you survive the aftermath of a defensive gun use (DGU).
You needn’t get too concerned about looking like a gun loon. All the internet chatter about using a lever gun instead of a black modern sporting home defense rifle to defend life and limb—just in case the prosecutor waves your “assault rifle” in front of the jury—is a bit over-the-top.
Let’s face it: your ability to STFU and the quality of your lawyer are a far more important variables than the scariness of your firearm. A good lawyer will have the words “prejudicial” and “inadmissible evidence” on the tip of his [forked] tongue.
If that doesn’t work, you’re already there, gun-nut-wise. How much ammo do you have? How big’s your gun safe? How many gun-related posts have you made on the Internet? How often do you go to the range? An assault rifle’s just another brick in that wall. Again, lawyer-up and hunker down.
Post-DGU, your criminal record (or lack thereof) and your general attitude is more important than your equipment. The jury will consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding the DGU and, more importantly, the totality of you.
It’s one thing to be a biker. It’s quite another to be a member of a biker gang with a rap sheet who’s photographed wearing one of these T-shirts. Especially if it’s a mug shot.
Yes, they’re all garments adorned with politically perfect sentiments—fully endorsed by yours truly. But do you want your brief to have to defend your political views as well as your decision to defend your life? You do not.
And then there’s the question of tactics. As Adam Z points out below, wearing this kind of shirt openly telegraphs the fact that you’re tooled-up—without any of the advantages of actual open carry (unless you’re one of the Merry .05 Percenters who open carries in public who happens to be wearing a guntastic T).
Do you want to tell the world you’re carrying a concealed weapon? Even if you do, you do not. With all due respect, what part of “concealed” are you having trouble with?
Don’t get me wrong. By all means, wear what you like, drive what you like and join any fraternal organization you like. God bless America. But ask any [real] special ops guy: the lower your profile the better. In all sorts of ways.
To paraphrase the sign above: Danger. Avoid Needless Prosecution. Keep your pro-gun machismo to yourself. FYI: Hot Leathers’ shirts make great PJ tops.