In part one of this discussion, I laid out my concern that the second amendment right as we currently understand it may not be as guaranteed as we would like. Boy, did I get my head nearly shot off. I really appreciate the discussion and the “gentle” suggestions as to where I may be off the reservation. That said, please don’t misunderstand my intentions.  All I was trying to illustrate (apparently not as clearly as it sounded in my head) was that the court system on which we as gun owners have somewhat relied upon is a fragile one at best and our best hope is to drive for clearer laws from our congress critters and their local equivalents.  To do this, we need to get more of our fellow citizens on our side and combat the nonsense spewed by the gun grabbers. . .

So, as the fount of all wisdom, (sarcasm heavily implied here), what do I suggest to help counter the inanity of the gun grabber lobby? Well, put simply, make more people gun owners. Or at least make others as sympathetic to gun ownership as possible. Pro-gun positions are on the rise across the country and we need to encourage these movements, but we have to be careful not to be too heavy handed. Remember that our opponents want to cast every one of as as a bunch of semi-psychotic killers in waiting, so we need to show our fellow citizens that nothing can be further from the truth.

I know that I’m going to get harpooned here (but if you saw me on a beach, you would think that is a likely possibility anyway, so I’m probably not taking that big a risk after all), but I would like to humbly suggest that open carry, unless you are a uniformed LEO, may not be helpful to our cause. It’s been postulated here, that the average person does not notice people carrying guns, but I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve been with non-gun owners and they have clearly identified people they have seen with guns strapped to their hips. Before I became one of the Armed Intelligentsia myself, I was keenly aware of exposed firearms in my vicinity, so while I’m sure that some people will indeed ignore them, others may not.

Add to this the fact that I have never seen a person in a business suit or similar garb open carrying. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen – I’ve just never seen it. Which makes me wonder if we could convince Prada or Burberry to make a holster rig, but I digress.

Most of the people I have seen more generally fit the profile of that guy you see on the news who went nuts and took out a McDonald’s with an assault rifle. Now, just because a person looks like Grizzly Adams does not make him a nutjob-in-waiting, but we live in an image obsessed world and unfortunately, many of our fellow sheep (I mean citizens) will have negative associations with people who carry weapons openly.  This, in turn, has the potential to evolve into one of those Helen Lovejoy “think of the children” moments and we have lost a potential ally in the fight against unreasonable gun laws.

I understand that if you don’t live in a place with reasonable concealed carry laws, then open carry might be your only option. Here in New Hampshire however, we are fortunate to be  a “shall issue” state, and they practically hand you a concealed weapons license when you move here, so there is absolutely no reason that anyone who should be allowed to carry a gun can’t get a permit to carry one concealed. And if for some reason you can’t get a permit, you probably shouldn’t be carrying a gun (just sayin’).

Open Carry by sketchy looking individuals gets the sheep upset.  When the sheep get upset, they petition the shepherd to change the laws and we get stuck with more, rather than less restrictive rules.

The best way to convert non-gun people to our cause is to show them that we are not a bunch of armed lunatics. Let’s face it, those guys from the Michigan Militia who let Michael Moore film them in “Bowling for Columbine” did not do us any favors. While I’m sure many of those folks are just normal people, they let Moore twist them into something they were not and added more ammunition to the arsenals of the anti-gun lobby.

We have to learn from their mistakes and not allow ourselves to be turned into caricatures. Legal gun owners are responsible citizens, not a nutcases. The more our fellow citizens realize that, the better the climate is going to become for gun owners everywhere.  Remember that the United States is rather unique in the world when it comes to the personal ownership and carrying of firearms.

As I’ve said before, it will not take much to move the judiciary from pro-gun to anti-gun. Some would say it is likely to happen, possibly as soon as President Obama’s next term. So we need to be actively working working the other side of the street and getting more politicians who will support pro-gun laws. The best way to do that is to create more pro-gun voters.

It’s important not to take your Second Amendment rights for granted, but it’s equally important to not assume that the Second Amendment is an unambiguous guarantee that you will never lose your right to gun ownership. Consider the 1960’s when Brown vs. Board of Education overturned southern public school segregation laws. Sure, the southern politicians and people disagreed, but when the National Guard came in to enforce the law, people ultimately had no choice but to fall into line.

Please don’t post comments like “they’ll have to pry my guns from my cold dead hands” or any of that dreck. The fact is that unless you are former special forces, any armed conflict with the Government will end badly for you. No matter how good you think you are, most of us are just part-time gun guys (or gals). Uncle Sam has seriously scary people he can call on to deal with threats and when threatened, he is not too concerned about legal niceties.  Just ask David Koresh or Osama Bin Laden.

The point is that convincing more of our fellow citizens to support pro-gun positions is our best course of action and the best way to do it is the soft, gentle approach, not the in-your-face one. So by all means, please do show up at Starbucks this month with your $2 bill. Just don’t have a .45 strapped to your hip or your AR-15 slung over your shoulder when you do it. Just because you can do something does not mean that you should.

Okay, my flame suit’s on.  Let me have it.

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53 Responses to Rethinking the Second Amendment – Part 2

  1. I disagree on the premise that we gun owners *must* use one way to advance our rights.There is one drawback to us all exposing people to positive examples of the 2nd Amendment:it takes time.And a thankless job.A safe gun owner who does everything legally and properly will never be on CNN or be interviewed by Anderson Cooper.Even if we gun owners convert two anti gun people apiece ,its not going to silence the loud and vocal fearmongering of the disarmament lobby.

    That is where the ‘open carry’ and ‘Ar15 at Starbucks’ comes in.Is it shocking?Yes.Does such activism upset the liberals whose minds we wish to change?Indeed.But no movement to change denial of a civil right to recognition of the same ever got off the gound by being completely incognito.The Bible states that there is a time and place for everything.I would submit that there is a time to blend in and convert new people to the free way of thinking,and there is a time to open carry an AKM to rattle some cages.

  2. “The fact is that unless you are former Special Forces, any armed conflict with the Government will end badly for you.”
    —–
    K.

    • Hey, at least Jim isn’t delusional enough to think that the US military wouldn’t gladly murder anyone with the courage to fight for their Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree. When John Q. Public sees someone packing out in the open, I think it freaks them out. In the case a police officer or detective, they at least know that this person has received training. They have studied the law, arrest policies, etc. Whereas someone else with an open – carry handgun or rifle is visually jarring. It is not apparent where this person got their firearm, or even if they purchased it lawfully. Sure, many members of the public are oblivious, but we do not help the cause by alienating those who aren’t.

    If you don’t have your lapdog on a leash, it really won’t bother anyone (except certain park officials, of course). Gun laws, on the other hand, are serious. Everyone agrees that there should be some gun laws, but the extent and degrees of regulation are hotly contested. Similarly, the 2nd Amendment itself is not a clear guarantee of private firearm ownership. There is much speculation as to the meaning of “a well-regulated militia.”

    Let’s give firearm ownership positive press in every reasonable way possible. Michael Moore did an excellent job making gun owners look ridiculous, as he was helped by the lack of judgement of the gun owners themselves. Certainly we have 2nd Amendment rights at this point, but that can change with the sway of public opinion.

    To those who say I am limiting myself, I would respond that I would rather express myself with class and style than do otherwise.
    Anything less would simply be uncivilized.

    • “Everyone agrees that there should be some gun laws…”

      Wrong. Everything that can be done with a gun, that is actually evil, is already illegal. There is no point to make those evil things more illegaler because it is done with a gun and it’s an injustice to make illegal those things that are not evil, regardless of if it’s gun related or not.

      • But some laws help the government to enforce what is already on the books. Example: background checks. Without those, there would be no way to stop criminals from purchasing guns at stores. Still, most gun laws that take away the rights of law abiding citizens are impossible to enforce, so those need to be done away with.

        • “there would be no way to stop criminals from purchasing guns at stores.”

          Buying property is not evil, even for a violent, aggressive, “criminal” person.

        • Perhaps criminals should not be out of prison if they can’t be trusted to own a firearm. We let them buy cars, which kill far more people and are frequently used in the commission of crimes.

    • I seriously notice when someone has a large (even more if it looks like a Pit Bull – and any short snouted big dog does to me) dog off the leash. I grew up when the neighborhood had lots of free roaming dogs and we pretty much knew their names, but times have changed. The first time I saw anyone open carrying, it was in Fairfax County VA, during the gas shortage in the 70’s. A gas station attendant (for the younger folks, they actually had guys at the station who pumped the gas for you) was wearing a revolver on his hip. It sort of shocked me and I was only back from Vietnam about five years and was no stranger to firearms, guess at that time I just hadn’t thought about it that much. I suppose I am a bit conflicted on this subject, I like being able to open carry, but it’s not something I would normally do unless I had a good reason, such as at a range or shooting on private property. Now CCW is another story, the more the merrier.

  4. Agreed.

    I admit, I’m not at all for constitutional carry, removal of restrictions for ownership or even awb reversal.

    What I am, is a product of an upbringing in “gun free” Chicago politics, largely anti-gun until life events altered my perceptions. Without detail, I will say I am on board with personal protection with firearms.

    I’m not a fan of open carry. OWB under a jacket is one thing, OWB under a tucked-in shirt is another. I carry OWB at least half the time, IWB the remainder. The key is always concealed. Not to the extent that I avoid printing, but at least make reasonable effort to maintain concealment.

    From my point of view, and others with similar background (commonly referred to as “the masses/sheeple/antis”) when a gun is openly displayed, it is no different from others that seek attention regardless of whether good or bad. And despite my slight lean towards the gun rights folk, I can not align myself with the flagrant attention -seeking behavior noted above. Whether or not the carrier believes he/she is attention-seeking, does not alter the perception of others.

    If you/we want to continue with forward progress, it must be done tactfully (tactically?) We’ve made great strides and I am grateful for those that stood up for our rights which allowed me to end the cycle of victimization.

    But please, be tactful of when and where to make a statement. The bigger statement is when those that don’t know you carry, find out down the road they’ve been in company withsomeone who is a responsible, normal person who just so happens to take their and their loved ones safety to be a personal responsibility.

    On the contrary, an exposed openly carried gun by someone out of uniform conveys a message of “I’m ready for trouble, bring it on.” Or “look at me, I crave attention and this is attention grabbing and legal”

    I may be in the minority on this site but I doubt I’m in the minority among the voting public, which will have a greater impact on gun legislation in the future.

    • “But please, be tactful of when and where to make a statement. The bigger statement is when those that don’t know you carry, find out down the road they’ve been in company withsomeone who is a responsible, normal person who just so happens to take their and their loved ones safety to be a personal responsibility.”

      I couldn’t agree more. Show people first that you are normal, reasonable, non-paranoid, etc. then hit them (tactfully) with the reveal that they’ve been around a gun all this time, never suspecting and never witnessing the slightest mishap. In this scenario, you’re not pleading or building a case, you’re giving people the EXPERIENCE that guns aren’t inherently evil or wantonly dangerous.

    • ” We’ve made great strides and I am grateful for those that stood up for our rights which allowed me to end the cycle of victimization.”

      I’m sorry, first you talk about how anti-gun you are, then you want to talk about “we’ve” made great strides? Sorry, but I’d have to classify you as just as big of a threat to our rights as Bloomberg is. First you’ll say you want “reasonable” things, like only revolvers and single shot shotguns, then after a decade or two it’ll be “reasonable” to only have the single shot shotguns, then it will quickly be “reasonable” that only government thugs can have guns. Just because you own a gun doesn’t make you pro-gun.

    • Yeah, I thought about that example, but I was looking for dead guys. Randy survived, but his son did not. Figured that was a stretch. Fact is that if you take a baseball bat to the bees nest, you are going to get stung. The government may apologies later, but it does not bring the dead back to life.

  5. As a granite stater, I do open carry. Not everywhere though. I do agree that open carry draws attention, sometimes the attention is not bad though. The worst I have been given is odd looks at Dunkin. Wally World, the grocery store, and some other stores I have OCed and have had no issue that I’ve noticed.

    As an OCer though, I would not OC an AR. At that point you are asking for trouble. This happened last year in Lansing MI where someone brought a rifle to an open carry event. At that point they were asked to leave and were “hassled.” (http://www.wilx.com/news/headlines/83486052.html) A pistol is one thing, but a rifle is something else and conveys a different message. This is the same group that OCed at a public library (and from what I’ve been told) where in the childrens section OCing.

    OCing at a library I wouldn’t have a problem with, but from what I have heard this group just wants to be known. That is the wrong attitude. If you OC, fine, but don’t draw undo attention to yourself.

    • Your summary of the news article is flawed (or else the article you linked to is). From the article, the men were never “asked to leave”. Some douchebag assistant manager called the cops just because he saw the AR – he never spoke to them and asked them or leave or to put the rifle in the car, which is why the “hassling” ensued. The real moral of the story is that the employee was a jackass and should’ve been fined for falsely reporting a crime.

  6. Never commented here before, but I gotta on this one.

    I agree. A person needs to be tactful when they’re dealing with people that could potentially be allies, and the Starbucks day is absolutely one of those situations. Not off the reservation at all.

  7. We tried it your way. For many years, the goal was to be as inoffensive as possible. It didn’t work, to say the least. By hiding, you just make it easier to ignore you, easier to overlook you, easier to vote for measures that oppress you, because nobody knows that you’re there. Freedom doesn’t come from being inoffensive. It comes from boldly standing up to claim your rights.

    (And you notice I’m not even mentioning guns or the 2nd Amendment specifically. This applies to many, many things.)

    • Yet, in the last few years, gun rights have expanded dramatically as more gun friendly politicians are elected and even the judiciary is generally moving in our direction. I would argue that the “kinder, gentler” approach works when dealing with our fellow citizens. Start scaring them and things might go the other way.

  8. “The fact is that unless you are former special forces, any armed conflict with the Government will end badly for you. ”

    Except you’re forgetting that we VASTLY outnumber them. Just look at how a bunch of uneducated Arabs have done a good job of holding off US troops for a DECADE now – you don’t think 40+ million US citizens with guns could do at least as well, if not better?

    Then there’s the whole idea of what do you value – do you value your rights or do you value life in and of itself? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather die fighting to defend myself than to live as a slave.

    • Education has nothing to do with it. Many of those Arabs you refer to cut their teeth fighting the Soviets in the 1980’s invasion of Afghanistan. These are people who have been fighting for their lives since they were old enough to hold an AK47. The average American would not last 10 seconds against one of these “uneducated Arabs” so please don’t kid yourself as to how tough the average American is. Any soldier who has served in the Gulf would tell you that these guys are not pushovers.

      As for your second contention, I don’t see it as a binary argument. There is middle ground between mindlessly fighting and living as a slave. That is to change the perceptions of our fellow citizens and change the laws to suit our ideals, not those of the gun grabbers.

  9. So what you’re saying Jim, is that I have rights… but just dont use them because it makes people uncomfortable?

    Kindly go f**k yourself. I openly carry most of the time, and when I do people dont call the cops or gives me weird looks. Maybe its because I’m from the great free state of North Dakota, where guns are more normalized.

    But how did we get that way? It sure as hell wasn’t by hiding everything out of sight because it might stir up the sheep. People fear what they dont understand, and the more of them that understand it and become used to seeing normal everyday people carrying, the less afraid they will be.

    • Well, thank you for the infinite politeness and educated discourse. I guess I overestimated the capacity of of some of the folks here. Hate to be the one who breaks this to you, but what flies in North Dakota may not fly in the more populated enclaves on the East and West Coasts, where, incidentally, way more people live. Voters are what determine our laws and a lot more live on the coasts than in the interior. My advice was targeted to people who have to co-exist with large populations of non-gun owning people. Good for you that you live in a state with a lot of other gun owners, but many of us do not and your suggestion for how we address that problem simply won’t fly. Try open carrying in a state like NY, MA, or CA and you are going to find yourself wearing a striped suit and enjoying three meals a day courtesy of the state.

  10. Oddly enough, OC is not OK in Texas. As strange as that seems even to a life-long Texan. On the other hand, Texans are, as a rule, very gun-friendly.

    However, on the question of how to present ourselves positively to our community, I do not think there is a “one-size fits all” answer. One thing I have learned about these great United States is that we have a lot of different cultural environments in the different parts of the country. Even in Texas, the culture varies from East Texas to the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle to West Texas to the Valley…. well, you get the idea.

    Rather than a universal list of what to do or not do to help improve our image in our communities, what we need to have is a set of principles, guidelines for what we are trying to do.

    If OC were legal in Texas, in the area in which I live OC would not be something troubling for most folks in my community. However, even going a few miles away (Texas speaking) to some of the neighborhoods in, say, Houston could make a difference in how OC is perceived. So the principle would be – is this action I am contemplating taking something that would have a positive or a negative impact on the perception of gun owners in this specific community? If so, go for it. If not, find another way to win friends.

    Just remember the old saying “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Being offensive may stoke your ego, but is counterproductive to the cause.

  11. Working in marketing, advertising and TV/film, I have to side with Jim’s points about image. Tactics aren’t just for house-clearing. Image creates familiarity. Familiarity creates comfort. The gay rights movement has benefited tremendously from an active, careful image campaign. Today, gays are “regular people,” not “flamboyant deviants.” Operation Rescue knew enough to cease confrontational activities after several high-profile murders, leaving pro-life activism primarily to crisis pregnancy counseling and legislative action. Now today, the majority of Americans self-identify as “pro-life.”

    The Virginia Civil Defense League does great work, and there isn’t a point of theirs with which I disagree. Except using the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting to stage a campus carry rally. That’s the equivalent of crashing the funeral of a mugging victim and shouting, “If only she was armed!” We gun owners are so “right,” that we can sometimes be jerks.

    We are not a nation of patience. That is why both sides want to use judicial fiat to change laws instead of the path the Founders intended. But changing hearts and minds (or in the case of guns, restoring hearts and minds to the self-sufficient, frontier-minded adventuring that has characterized the American experience) takes time and “small platoons.” Converting friends and family to “gun people” will result in a more lasting, unshakable gun rights bulwark than cramming our rights down people’s throats, because that’s how they’ll view it — as our rights, not theirs. Fold them into the “our” and you have an ally.

  12. ***The fact is that unless you are former special forces, any armed conflict with the Government will end badly for you. No matter how good you think you are, most of us are just part-time gun guys (or gals).****

    Incorrect. The citizen who knows his firearms will be much deadlier than a soldier or policeman who turns in their firearm at the end of their shift. To wit most people who challenge government authority are crappy tacticians. Had David Koresh cracked open an Army field manual things would have turned out much worse for the ATF than what took place that day.

    Just what can the government do if 500,000 people hole up in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky with their 30-06 rifles?Short of nuking the mountain range, not much. As Jeff Cooper once observed government troops are trained to fight other nation states, not so much irregular citizens determined to outlast an occupation.This cogent fact is one reason why nearly every government on Earth attempts to pass policy towards a goal of civilian disarmament.

    • “Had David Koresh cracked open an Army field manual things would have turned out much worse for the ATF than what took place that day.”

      Not to mention the original ATF advance failed miserabley and, cornered and low on ammo, the thugs were allowed to retreat by the Branch Davidians.

    • You of course assume that 500,000 people are going to move en masse to do something. Take a look at all the sh*t that goes down in America today. Many people disagree with policy decisions such as Universal Healthcare, but don’t do a thing about it. Consider that the average presidential election has a voter turnout just south of 50%. If all the people who really disagreed with Obama’s policies showed up to vote, he would be gone. It just does not happen. I hate to break it to you, but don’t expect a massive armed movement to suddenly happen if restrictive laws are passed. There will be isolated incidents that will be mopped up by the fascists masquerading as law enforcement.

  13. There is a pervasive mindset among law-abiding gun owners that we must still follow unjust laws while we appeal to our representatives to get them changed. Please recognize that is like asking your slave master to loosen your chains a bit. You’re still enslaved but it just hurts a little less.

    We’ve gone so far down the road to serfdom that we’ve forgotten that we are free! Our rights to life and property are inherent, regardless of what SCOTUS decrees. Yes, it’s good if the laws affirm our freedom, but that has never happened in this country. Politicians were violating the Constitution before the ink was even dry (threatened RI with invasion if didn’t ratify). Lysander Spooner said it best: “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

    I implore you to stop begging your master for the scraps of your freedom.

    • According to what I read, gun laws over the last few years have become more permissive, not less. Seems the path we are on is working. Why should we change it now?

  14. My turn!!! Normalizing firearms in public view is a possible way to reduce fear. But only after time. And… with media coverage. For instance, for years here in Rhode Island, we were not allowed any use of Fireworks at all. We still bought them from other states and lit them in RI. LE would only respond to calls when the displays were overt.

    Once fireworks were made legal, and one display in stores and the news reported it over and over again, people got over the whole thing rather fast, bought them some and went home. No longer a big deal. People lit them responsibly, enjoyed them and moved on.

    Same thing with guns. As a country we’ve allowed ourselves to trust anything that has been published as “truth”. So as the media vilifies firearms, so are they in our minds. But when pro-gun folks start sharing their sport with the world and encourage folks to come out and try shooting sports for them selves in a safe environment, it changes things. I’m a sane normal guy, I belong to a local gun club. I do not hide my enjoyment of firearms, but I also do not advertise it either.

    I would love to have a LTC, but I probably would only use it half the time. I think that we should all have the right to do so. But we won’t get there poking fingers in the chest of sheeps or circling their herd with ARs over our shoulders.

    If you belong to a local range, encourage the board to host public or semi-public field days. Encourage junior rifle teams and events, clinics. Change the world by encouraging the next generation now. She the sheep that we are friendly people. There is something humbling about a person you hardly know, wanting to place a firearm in your hand for the first time and teach you how to use it. Give a man a fish or teach a man to fish.

  15. Your article suggests that we should only sit in the rear of the bus where our government permission slips are valid.

    • Not at all. I suggest that there is right way and a wrong way to proceed. The civil rights issue (which you are apparently referencing ) was won not by blacks around the country rising up in armed rebellion, but instead mainly by marches and educated men like MLK who appealed to the larger populace that the rules in place at the time were wrong. They changed minds, not by violence, but by convincing others. Sure, there were a fair number of armed conflicts, but the armed portion was usually one sided, which generated tremendous sympathy for the cause.

      Gandhi was another example of using non-violent resistance to throw what was at the time, one of the mightiest colonial power out of India.

  16. I think both sides of this debate are valid in their own right.The slow, civilized approach surely might work for a slow normalization, but at what cost? More crime, corruption, and death will occur while we wait for people to “get it.” And once the media grows tired of nurses in NYC being hassled, they’ll ignore gun owners completely…until one bad seed does something horrific, then we’re back to square one. This slow, civil approach depends on many variables going according to plan, and it also depends on the intelligence and moral character of the public…good luck with that.

    The brazen approach…well, it’s worked throughout history. It’s not pretty and it’s not comfortable, but who ever said standing up for what’s right is? We tried to be civil and gentle in the middle-east wars, tried to win hearts and minds, and how’s that working out for us? Alternately, we obliterated Germany and Japan and rebuilt them from the ground up, and look at them now. What if we had “compromised” with Japan and let them have Hawaii in exchange for peace? We’d be out one resort state and still have a grudging empire at our back.

    In truth, I think being nice and gentle might work on a person-to-person basis, like trying to convince a hoplophobe family member. But on a mass, nation-wide scale? I have my doubts. The mentality of gun-grabbers cannot be reasoned with. They are wrong, dangerous, and the embodiment of all that’s detrimental to a free society. Why do we not treat them as such? Their agenda, if enacted, would put each of us in mortal danger from criminals and our government; why would we NOT see them as enemies?

    Personally, I don’t OC purely for practical reasons. I want the element of surprise if something does occur. And I’m fully in support of being pragmatic in how we approach protests; there’s a time and place for certain levels of aggressiveness. But never would I back down for the sake of being inoffensive.

    • That’s usually done by judges and juries who have little or no consequences regarding their decisions. Kind of scary, eh?

  17. “Add to this the fact that I have never seen a person in a business suit or similar garb open carrying.”

    That might be because the suit jacket tends to conceal the firearm…

    • Which means that they are not open carrying, but instead carrying concealed, yes? I carry concealed under my suit jacket all the time

      • Exactly. You were essentially saying “I’ve never seen anyone open carrying in clothing which tends to conceal their weapon even if they would otherwise be carrying openly.”

        What you said is true, I’m sure, but not really indicative of anything in particular.

  18. Despite feelings to the contrary, open carry is an invitation to trouble. People get nervous around guns, some for good reasons. Cops get nervous. Bad Guys get nervous but some goons might even challenge you. A piece on your hip says you’re looking for trouble (to some people) and if you’re not a cop some smart ass is going to see how tough your skin is.
    Keep them concealed. Just like you wouldn’t think of walking around naked despite some assumed right to do so, having a deadly weapon in plain sight on your hip tells the world you think you need to use it. It is also an invitation to theft, people have had open carry guns hoisted from them rather easily. If you can withdraw it in 1 second so can someone next to you.
    Keep them covered up.

  19. I understand the impulse to maintain a low-key, even polite image for gun rights advocacy. There’s even a sort of sense in it, as many people perceive firearms as inherently threatening. And the rhetoric coming out of the antis (increasingly shrill rhetoric, to my ear) is all about how the presence of firearms in polite society automatically increases the risk to all the “normal” folk. So since may of us like to see ourselves as polite, reasonable people it’s tempting to side with the toned-down exercise of our rights. And I believe there’s a time for such behavior.

    But, as some have noted before, there is a point where this no longer advances the cause. If we look at our own history we have many groups who were outcast or subjugated by mainstream society but have subsequently brought themselves into the mainstream. And rarely did they do it by quietly hiding their differences and going along to get along. Various immigrant groups from our very founding have arrived, established their cultural enclaves, struggled with their outsider status, then eventually reached a critical mass which could no longer be ignored. The society was forced to deal with this presence in their midst and accommodations had to be made. Were accommodations made on both sides? Certainly, after both sides were forced to recognize the situation.

    This pattern has repeated with many groups over time: emancipation was a minority opinion in the country, but very vocal; the suffragettes represented a small portion of all women, very vocal, and they secured the vote for women; the civil rights movement with its marches, sit-ins and more was certainly not below the radar, but ultimately effective; gay rights is a fine recent example of forcing your agenda to the forefront of the public mind and succeeding (I choked back a chuckle with a previous comment about a “careful image campaign,” have you seen a pride parade??). Each of these represents a group willing to offend the polite sensibilities to establish that their view had value and would not create the societal collapse opponents predicted. If they had not pushed the status quo would still hold, they would have been ignored and marginalized.

    Did each of these groups sometimes push “too far” and suffer backlash, hysterical and otherwise, from the opposition? Yep. But oftentimes that backlash served the cause as well. Those vehemently opposed to change will never be our target audience, our target audience is the vast majority of citizens who don’t have a major stake in the issue. Our goal should be to expose them to the issue, show them the value of our position, clearly display the benign nature of our citizenship and let the opposition expose their own grievous flaws as they loudly denounce us.

    After all, pants on women used to shock and appall. I for one am certainly grateful to those appalling women who pushed.

    JSG

    • Boy do I wish that was true. They have a whole bunch of things that I want, really, really badly. Maybe I can petition for a “family discount”

  20. I open carry (and conceal carry) when I go camping (Colorado and Wyoming). You never know who you are going to meet in the deep woods.

    I remember camping with friends (SCA) in New Mexico when a group of Hells Angels roared up to our camp early Saturday morning. Lots of weapons came out of every tent.

    When I am back to civilization, I usually go back to just conceal carry.

  21. I could open carry, but I choose not to, mainly because open carry tends to be a giant neon sign saying “COME TALK TO ME ABOUT MY GUN”, both positive and negative. If you’re the kind of person who’s into having those kinds of conversations and taking time out of your day to explain gun rights and local laws to people, then have at it, and thank you very much for your contribution. I personally don’t have the time or energy to be a walking information kiosk.

  22. the best way to do it is the soft, gentle approach, not the in-your-face one.BS. Nothing gets changed in this country, or in any other country for that matter, without confrontation. Not violent confrontation to be sure, but confrontation nonetheless. If it wasn’t for confrontation, African Americans would still be riding in the back of the bus, we’d still be fighting the Vietnam war and nobody would ever have heard of the “Heller” or “McDonald.”

    FLAME DELETED

    • A very fair and astute point. Confrontation needs to be managed carefully. There is good confrontation and bad confrontation. Strong confrontation when going after the gun grabbers is a good idea, however the old adage that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar applies in the case of the grass roots conversion of our fellow citizens. Remember that many people are scared of guns and the “in your face” approach when dealing with them may not be the wisest course of action.

  23. It is so easy to say that open carry scare the sheep. It is also must be nice not to worry about conceal carry when you live in a state a) Consitutional carry
    b) Shall Issue laws c) not a Socialist state. And may I also remind you that it wasn’t that long ago in Wisconsin where open carry was your only option. I agree that “confrontation ” or encounter should be manged carfully ,but shouldn’t all encounters no matter who they are between, should be handled carefully? I would have to say that you should just leave it alone. If I want to open or conceal, that is my option and that if you disagree fine, but that doesn’t make a bad, stupid or weird person. And you not have said those things, but people who say that certainly think that way .

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