Today is an exciting day down here in the Lone Star State. Our legislative session opened up for the first day and unlike other states, Texas limits both the duration and frequency of that meeting. Some say that it keeps the lawmakers from doing too much harm, but I couldn’t possibly comment. From Wikipedia, “The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year. The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days.” While this is certainly an interesting way to get it done, it condenses all the normal drama of a legislative session into a 20 week pressure cooker. Today, being the second Tuesday of January saw the first shot across the bow coming from Open Carry Activists protesting…something…anything . . .
Where to start? First, members of Come and Take It Texas manufactured AR 15 lowers at the Capitol using Cody Wilson’s Ghost Gunner machine. Which, logistics aside, is a pretty impressive feat. That machine isn’t publicly available yet, and when it goes live, the damn thing will cost $1200 or so. Further complicating things is that it requires power and programming and such. But really the biggest feat is how a group could look at what’s going on at the Capitol, look around at what a PR nightmare the Open Carry Movement has been, and decide that manufacturing lower receivers on the grounds of the Capitol on the first day of the session is the best tactical move.
Now before you crucify me in the comments, look at what CJ Grisham of Open Carry Texas had to say.
CJ Grisham, whose group Open Carry Texas basically coined the phrase gun bullies [not really, MDA did that] is an ARDENT supporter of the Second Amendment, gun rights, and is about as in-your-face as it gets. We’ve covered him in depth here over the years, and if you’re reading this, odds are that you know his name. I’ve never met the guy, but I’d love to interview him. So CJ, if you’re reading this, shoot us an email.
As I said, CJ has never backed down from a confrontation, going toe-to toe-with the big money and PR pedigrees of Everytown, MAIG, MDA, and assorted other organizations including the NRA. So for him to be pissed at gun guys, it must be something special.
To add more color to CJ’s brief Facebook post, let’s go to his quote in the Texas Tribune regarding the manufacture of AR lowers at the Capitol.
“I don’t understand the purpose of it,” Grisham said. “It seems confrontational, and really, needless. I mean, it’s the first day of the Legislature, we are this close to getting open carry passed, and now these guys want to come and manufacture a firearm on the steps of the Capitol? I just don’t get it.“
Here’s a pro tip: if CJ Grisham thinks that you’re being confrontational, you’re being confrontational. But OC advocates weren’t done yet. The next stop was to go door-to-door asking members of the legislature if they’d vote in favor of OC. Click here to view it.
I’ll leave you to form your own opinion of the activities of those involved in the video. I’m certain that some of our readers are fans of this sort of thing. Others, myself included, are not. OCT and Grisham have spent the afternoon on Twitter distancing themselves from the whole spectacle which should give you some frame of reference since both parties have NEVER shied away from confrontation in the past few years.
Maybe I’m too young, too dumb, too naive, and not ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ enough, but I don’t think this was a step forward for gun rights, gun owners, or the open carry movement. The whole thing is a bit of a head scratcher really. We’ve got a governor that has vowed to sign OC legislation, a legislature that has already put up bills with a great shot of passing, and generally speaking, a positive gun climate. So to watch a group of what the Moms are only too happy to call “gun bullies” march door-to-door and outright threaten members of the state legislature on their first day on the job presents me with a great big WTF moment.
All that said, I’m no fan of politicians. And I definitely believe in a vibrant and thriving constitutional republic. And I also believe that the behavior portrayed in the video should be allowed to happen. If those men and women had been jailed for speaking their mind, I’d be the first one in line to protest their incarceration. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And behavior like that portrayed in that video is out of hand.
When a man asks you to leave his office, you leave. Easy enough. When you stay and berate him, shove your foot in his door, and generally act threatening, you look like an ass. You also become a trespasser. When you do it as an ambassador for gun rights, you make yourself, and me, and RF, and Dan, and Nick, and the rest of everyone who’s a gun owner look like asses, too.
My parents gave me a warning on my first day of school, and a similar message was relayed by my first boss when I headed off to my first public engagement representing our company. They both boiled down to this: “What you say, and how you carry yourself reflects on you and the company you keep.” Happy first day of the legislative session, Texas. Only 139 more to go.