“Differentiating between a harmless gun-toter and an armed weapon-wielder may prove to be a task of growing concern for law enforcement across the State of Texas, according to the Star-Telegram. The challenge remains the same, where’s the line between respecting the 2nd amendment and providing necessary precautions?” That’s the lead to Weighing the Pros and Cons of Open Carry at the University of Texas at Tyler’s student run patriottalon.com. Like so many pro-gun control articles masquerading as objective journalism, this one’s suffused with qualifiers . . .
“may prove,” “growing concern” and “according to the Star-Telegram.” No surprise there. That’s how you roll when you want to disguise the fact that you think gun rights are a crock of you-know-what. The other main weapon in the fight against the truth about guns: marginalizing and mischaracterizing the pro-gun position. The pro side of patriottalon.com’s “debate” takes up just three – count ’em three! – of the article’s 33 paragraphs. Here they are:
Advocates of the open-carry bill, such as a Sales Associate for a Tyler area Wal-mart, Steve Nickerson, who believes that to bear arms is a Constitutional right to be taken advantage of by all. It is his understanding that one way to exercise freedom and participation in the democratic system is to openly carry a weapon or conceal by choice. He fully supports Governor Abbott’s statement “There is nothing more important in democracy than the voice of the people stepping up and saying ‘We expect the Constitution of the United States of America to be our guiding doctrine.‘“
Likewise to Nickerson, Tony Addison, a military retiree of 23 years and law enforcement official in the Philippines for three years, feels that open-carry is not only a right, but a beneficial adjustment to gun laws in Texas.
He states “open-carry is good because you’re carrying it on your belt and it’s easier to get to” in an emergency situation. Having dealt with weapons most of his adult life he has developed a healthy respect for weapons. He believes that a responsible gun owner will not only know how to properly operate their weapon, but be able to “take it apart, put it back together and clean it, along with being licensed.”
Did you catch the sarcastic phrasing: “It is his understanding that one way to exercise freedom and participation in the democratic system is to openly carry a weapon or conceal by choice”? Not “Mr. Nickerson also believes . . .” The quote asserts that open carry is “one way” to exercise freedom – implying that it’s not any more important than other ways. Is that really Mr. Nickerson’s opinion? I doubt it.
The other pro-OC source is hardly what I’d call a representative advocate. Unlike every OC proponent I know, Tony Addison believes that all Americans carrying a firearm – whether openly or concealed – should obtain government approval (i.e. he favors state licensing). Judging from Mr. Addison’s definition of a “responsible gun owner,” he reckons state approval should depend on some sort of competency test. Just like we apply to voting. Oh wait . . .
If this polemic’s pro-OC side is weak sauce – quotes from non-experts and OC opponents – the anti-side is a textbook example of risible rhetoric. Here’s a breakdown:
As with anything, misuse and abuse can happen. Most states that allow for open carry do not require any type of weapons training for their residents. If a person is legally eligible to carry a weapon, they may do so regardless of whether they know how or when to use it.
This can lead to a variety of unfortunate incidents. It is simple math that the more weapons that are being carried in any given area, the more accidental misfires will happen. Misfires can occur due to weapons being dropped, weapons falling out of holsters, weapons being carried with rounds in the chamber and the hammer cocked, etc.
See? There you go! The authors immediately exploit Addison’s pro-training argument to use it against Open Carry. The odd thing about that: Texas requires training for Open Carry. I don’t agree with it, but you couldn’t ask for a better/worse example of a straw man argument.
As for the “simple math” of “accidental misfires” and the danger of “weapons with rounds in the chamber and the hammer cocked,” lightning strikes are more common … and do you guys know anything about guns?
. . . right-to-carry gun laws have proven to be linked to an increase in violent crime, which worries critics of the new legislation. A study by Stanford University points to an increase by 8% in aggravated assaults directly linked to the right-to-carry-laws.
The abstract for The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the NRC Report: The Latest Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy concludes: “It will be worth exploring whether other methodological approaches and/or additional years of data will confirm the results of this panel-data analysis and clarify some of the highly sensitive results and anomalies (such as the occasional estimates that RTC [Right To Carry] laws lead to higher rates of property crime) that have plagued this inquiry for over a decade.” In other words, what do we know?
Former Navy admiral and current chancellor of the University of Texas System William McRaven believes that “concealed handguns on campus would contribute to a less-safe environment, not a safer one.” He also fears, along with “mental health professionals, that the mixture of guns and the emotional and psychological stresses on students — many of whom are away from home for the first time — could lead to more suicides and accidental shootings [on campuses].”
WTF? McRaven’s quote is about concealed carry on campus – a battle he lost – not Open Carry throughout the Lone Star State. Equally, patriottalon.com’s student journos bring out the big guns for anti-OC arguments and trot out a Walmart employee and a retired soldier/LEO for the pro-side. How fair is that? Why didn’t the article’s young authors put a call in to Open Carry Texas leader C J Grisham – who comments under the post? And where did the writers find this guy?
In a survey of 192 police chiefs in the state of Texas, nearly 75% opposed open-carry. Many feel that the allowance of openly displayed weapons will do little to alter current gun owner’s habits. According to Henry Owen, a press operator and graphic designer for a print shop in Tyler, “a lot of concealed gun carriers will not carry openly. Why would you want to advertise that? I’m more into protecting my homestead…open-carry doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. We’re not in the wild, wild west!”
Nor are we in a place where elevated journalistic standards are in play.
This last issue is purely social in nature. While there are many who believe fervently in open carry laws, there are also those who believe that citizens walking around, visibly armed, reflects poorly on their communities. It is a misconception to assume that these individuals are all “bleeding heart liberals”; they are not. There are more than few professional law enforcement personnel who would prefer to see less firepower on the street than more.
Here, clearly, we see advocacy masquerading as reportage. The students set ’em up – unnamed people are worried about open carry lowering the tone of their towns – and knock ’em down – “more than a few” LEOs don’t like the idea of OC, either.
While we’re at it, how does “open carry” increase the level of “firepower on the street”? I’m sure tomorrow’s open carry practitioners are today’s concealed carriers. And what of the professional law enforcement personnel who favor more firepower on the street from law-abiding gun owners? Maybe the authors should have given them a paragraph on the pro-OC side.
In closing, open carry defenders and critics alike tend to agree on one central point: If you live in an open carry state and are considering arming yourself, is it worth investing whatever time it takes to become proficient with your weapon before you begin carrying it? This is time well spent. Education and training with weapons is crucial to proper handling.
Again with the training. Trojan horse, folks. While pro- and anti-OC folks can agree on the safety and tactical advantages of firearms training, anti-OC types are using mandatory training as their last defense against Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Open Carry’s a done deal but we still need to control it.
Good luck with that. Not. Once licensed open carry gains acceptance in Texas, Constitutional Carry (no licensing) is next. It’ll be interesting to see what weak-ass arguments writers Kristi Nipp, Natalie Martin, Raffaella Gullo, Ruben Espiricueta and Davis Domingue will marshal for that, should they find gainful employment amongst their left-leaning friends in the mainstream media. Meanwhile, class dismissed.