Gun guru Massad Ayoob reckons there are very few times when it’s OK to open carry a long gun. “Experts will tell you that handguns are carried holstered, in case they’re needed for a life-threatening emergency, while long guns are traditionally carried only when their immediate use is anticipated,” Mas writes at backwoodshome.com. “For us, that’s hunting, response to an already identified emergency (think “Rodney King riots”), or a target shooting range.” And . . . that’s it. Open carrying a long gun to make a political point about gun rights? Ayoob’s not down with that . . .
To the general public, that image instantly calls to mind Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Newtown. When an otherwise obviously smart and articulate poster says the officer confronting such a person with hand on service pistol is the one being provocative, I can only say “Wow…just…wow.” . . .
Doing things that alarm those people in the middle will do nothing to help the pro-gun side. Fear is the key ingredient that creates hatred. Doing things that put the general public in fear will cause more people to hate us, and anyone who seriously thinks flaunting rifles around schools in cities and suburbs will somehow acclimate the public to an acceptance of armed citizens is simply delusional.
Please, don’t compare the heavily armed guy who video-records himself confronting police to Rosa Parks on a segregated bus. Ms. Parks did not put anyone in fear of their lives. Don’t tell me that “a right not exercised is a right denied,” when we’ve seen confrontational open carry result in stricter laws in California, and hamper the responsible open carry movement in Texas much more recently.
You can’t argue with that last bit: open carry demonstrators (a.k.a., Chipotle ninjas) triggered the end of long gun open carry in The Golden State and took Constitutional Carry off the legislative table in Texas. “Prancing around” with a long gun in public (as Mas puts it) is politically incorrect on all sorts of levels. And yet . . .
A right is a right. It’s not for me to tell someone how, when, where or why to exercise their gun rights – any more than I should dictate terms to someone exercising their First Amendment right to free speech or religious worship. I’d prefer long gun open carriers to dress in polo shirts and chinos, make sure there are women involved, “march” in small groups, arrange a suitably hospitable place to gather, avoid confrontation with the cops and provide ID when asked, but it’s not my call.
Mr. Ayoob ends his column with a quote from a commentator: “Open carry of long guns to advocate for 2A rights is exactly the same as blowing smoke directly in people’s faces for smoker’s rights.” Not true. Open carry of long guns assaults some people’s sensibilities but it doesn’t harm them in any way. Quite the opposite, if they but knew it. [h/t James]