Oh, sure. I know what you’re thinking. Just after Martin Albright posted a well-reasoned, rational argument against Open Carry, here comes another article with a contrarian view. Will the madness never end? Why can’t we all just get along? When will Kozak stop shooting off his mouth?
Ahem. (Short answer: never.) Well, strictly speaking I do not disagree with Brother Albright. (Even if I did, I wouldn’t. It’s the unwritten 13th Commandment for TTAG writers: Thou Shalt Not Flame a Fellow TTAG Scribe in Public.) But I happen to think he makes some valid points. However (and this is a big “however”), I think we’re asking the wrong question, or more to the point, we’re dealing with the wrong issue. Let me explain . . .
I am a marketing guy by trade. I deal in the worlds of spin, MarketingSpeak, and mendacity. In short, I create, design, conceive, and shovel a compelling line of B.S., designed to make you, the consumer, part with the Benjamins for whatever product I’m hawking. As such I know how the game is played, and brother, lemme tell you, we is ALL gettin’ played.
You see, rule number one for social engineering types is to tell everyone that there’s complete agreement on something that is actually up for spirited debate. When you do this, you make anybody who objects sound like nincompoop, straight off the banana boat from the Land of Ludd.
For example, when Al Bore Gore says “all the science on ‘climate change’ settled…all the scientists agree that it’s a fact,” look out, boys cuz you just been bamboozled. In point of fact, there are plenty of highly-regarded climate scientists who strongly disagree with the idea that global warming is a “fact” or that the discussion has been settled. But when Gore says this, it’s not to encourage an open discourse. It’s to shut down debate.
Rule number two for social engineers is to then offer up two choices to fix the problem at hand. You saw this recently with the healthcare debate. The Progressives said Everyone agrees that the system is broken and must be fixed. Therefore, we must fix it NOW…we must either fix it, or doom millions of Americans to suffer painful deaths from the total breakdown of the nation’s healthcare system.
Sounds pretty dire, doesn’t it? It’s called “framing the debate,” as in “set the terms of the discussion so that you define and control the point of view, so it’s favorable to your own position.” But if you don’t accept the argument about the system being broken (Broken for whom? Those that have health care are generally pretty satisfied, especially now that they are finding out how the system is changing under ObamaCare), then it’s impossible to accept that there are only two choices: the equivalent of swatting flies with a bazooka, or making like an ostrich and waiting for disaster to strike.
The gun control debate is a lot like that. In the Clinton Years, the Progressives coined a term – “assault rifle” – that was, frankly, a masterstroke in spin. These guys completely changed the debate from “why is one gun inherently more dangerous than another” to “we must ban ASSAULT weapons! NOW!” Before the “assault weapons” moniker was applied, an AR15 or AK47 was just another semi-auto weapon. Afterwards, in the hivemind of the public, they are to guns what a Hummer H1 is to fuel-efficient automobiles. And don’t even get me started on what in Hell is a “Saturday Night Special.”
So because our gun rights had been all but lost from the 1920s through the 1990s, the fans of the 2nd Amendment had to go on the offensive. Over the course of a decade, state after state passed laws that allowed qualified citizens to carry weapons.
Think about that. States passed laws that would permit you to exercise a right that the U.S. Constitution guarantees you as an inalienable right. Huh? Yet, because of the nature of how are laws are enacted and interpreted, that’s the situation in which we find ourselves. And now, we on the 2nd side o’ things find ourselves arguing over if we should have the right to open carry or be restricted to concealed carry.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Well, for one thing, I believe most, if not all current State laws and regulations are unconstitutional, simply because they attempt to regulate the purchase, possession and use of guns by citizens who have not broken any laws. Now understand, I’m all for laws that will keep guns out of the hands of mental patients, felons, gang members, and those that are too young (or frankly, too old) to responsibly handle a firearm. But that’s where my enthusiasm for firearms regulation ends.
You see, the minute you allow a government to impinge on a right, you start down a slippery slope. It’s a miracle that we’ve seen the pendulum swing back towards sanity in the last decade, and away from the knee-jerk “all guns are evil” mantra of the left. But without eternal vigilance, it CAN happen here.
Take Texas, for example. Now you’d think that, given our reputation in the rest of the 49 states (or 56 states if you’re in the Oval Office), Texas would be wide open for open carry. And you’d be wrong. In fact, open carry is completely banned for civilians in the Lone Star State. Concealed carry is banned in schools, hospitals, bars, restaurants that derive more than 51% of their income from alcohol (believe it or not, this is known by it’s real statute number as the “30-ought Six” law), and any place that posts a sign to ban them.
In Austin and other liberal enclaves they call these places “Gun Free Zones.” I prefer to call them what they are (which is coincidentally the way most psychopaths think of them), “Target-Rich Environments.” While i certainly understand the law’s aim to keep guns out of the hands of drunks, it also means that when I go play a gig in some bar, I have to go in unarmed. Do you really think a drunk is going to hesitate to bring a gun in to a bar, just because some sign says don’t do it? Not on this or any other planet.
So the Left has us all chasing our tails. What we should be doing is to talking about a complete retooling of State laws that would ban gun ownership for criminals, those diagnosed as having a “mental defect,” the very young, and that’s about it. Period. End of story. Anything else is legal.
Now before you say, “that’s insane and irresponsible,” hear me out. If this kind of law passed, what would you see? I think you’d see something very similar to the kinds of things that go on right now is distant lands with mysterious, exotic names like “Vermont” and “Alaska.” What Martin fails to mention is that there are already states that have open carry laws, and nobody seems to be treating it as the second coming of Matt Dillon or the little picnic they had back in the day at the OK Coral.
So let’s recap, shall we? The U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to arm ourselves. State laws have created a patchwork quilt of regulations that range from “shall issue” to “don’t hold your breath.” And many of the regulations in even the least restrictive laws fail the McDonald and Heller litmus tests.
So I think it’s time to fix this. While we have the momentum. While people are turned sharply away from the ObamaNation’s Progressive policies. And while we still have the collective will to stand up for ourselves and protect our rights.
This is not an issue of open versus concealed. It is an issue that speaks to the heart of a philosophical chasm between pro- and anti-gun factions. Do our rights come from the people where we allow our government to make laws, or do our rights come from a government where they decide which ones we get to keep, and for how long, under which conditions.
Campers, the choice is clear. Open carry versus concealed is a little bit of misdirection from the political Left. The real issue is does the government work for us, or we from them.
Remember in November.