There was an awful lot of hand-wringing about demonstrators openly carrying firearms outside the RNC, from everyone from union bosses to cronies of billionaire plutocrats like Shannon Watts. Even comic pseudo news sites like The Onion and Reuters got into the act. There was a little bit of regulatory silliness — for some reason, tennis balls and canned goods were banned from the area around the RNC, but to his credit, Gov. Kaisich refused to unilaterally suspend civil liberties.

As a result…nothing happened.

The New Black Panthers (considered a group of dangerous radical extremists by left wing outfits up to and including the OLD Black Panthers,) Biker groups supporting Trump, rifle-carrying activists, who announced that their intention was to support the police, and pretty much anyone who wasn’t a prohibited person had the freedom to strap on a sidearm or shoulder a rifle and openly carry those firearms right outside the Quicken Loans Arena.

Not to say that there weren’t any incidents or arrests. In the free-for-all atmosphere outside the RNC, stuff was bound to happen. Whether it was the )three-way urine-spraying fight between the KKK, Black Lives Matter activists, and the Westboro Baptist Church, the dude who set himself on fire while trying to burn an American flag, or these, um, gentlemen, there were definitely a normal level of stupidity and arrests. But there weren’t any gunshots, there weren’t any gunfights in the streets, and peace prevailed.

Part of that is, no doubt, to the credit of the Cleveland PD and police from other cities who clearly did a good job of keeping the peace. But another part of that, in my mind, is the very fact that Americans….are responsible with firearms. You can’t have a country in which there is, essentially, one gun for every man, woman, and child, without the citizenry having at least some knowledge and respect for the tool. Maybe there’s also something to the idea that people behave at the maturity level that is expected of them. We expect a higher standard of behavior and personal responsility from citizens who exercise their right to keep and bear arms. That’s not a bad thing.

My personal beliefs on open carry — described earlier — haven’t changed. I won’t openly carry a sidearm in public outside of a range until I feel confident that I have the skills and awareness to fend off a gun-grab. I remain skeptical that open carry of rifles is a good idea for political demonstrations. But these are questions of self-defense and political tactics. The test is not the conditions under which I think you should exercise your rights, but the conditions under which you think you should do so.

That, my friends, is the difference between a constitutional republic that protects liberty, and the mere mob rule of a majoritarian democracy.

Alas, some people prefer the latter. Let’s hope they don’t win this year.

Speaking of which, the DNC is going to take place next week in the city of Brotherly Love. While Pennsylvania has preemption of firearms law, there are some special statutory laws that only apply: in a “City of the First Class” (so defined under Pennsylvania law as having more than one million residents,) a citizen may openly carry a firearm, but only if they have a license to carry firearms from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (or a state with which Pennsylvania has reciprocity – check before you go, as usual.) I haven’t seen anyone talk about an open carry demonstration in Philadelphia…but I know that the Keystone State has a strong and successful open carry activist group, some of whom live in the southeast.

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62 Responses to What if Demonstrators Openly Carry Firearms Outside a Political Convention and Nothing Happens?

  1. Hey I was surprised when essentially NOTHING happened. Maybe everyone was busy playing Pokemon. I was expecting WWIII-we got unicorns and flowers(well pissy ones)…I vividly remember 1968 you young whippersnappers.

  2. Living in a no-OC state, I’d at least like the option to OC if the situation called for it. There’s no good reason for the government to allow CC but not allow those same people to OC.

    • The government would prefer if you stopped CCing too and just handed over your scary things, please.

    • Laws banning OC but allowing CC are 100% for the ‘feels’ and not for anything grounded in reality. If CONCEALED carry is okay, surely open carry must be okay as well.

      I’m going out on a limb here…laws that ban open carry while allowing concealed carry manage to have even less justification than bans on rifles based on cosmetic features….

  3. Have the Philadelphia police stopped arresting open carriers for “disturbing the peace”? From what I’ve read, there is nothing a Philadelphia cop hates worse than someone who is not one of them carrying a firearm.

    • Yeah, and a whole lot of other myths about OC have, yet again been shown wrong.

      It’s almost as if people that say what “will happen” if you OC are full of crap.

    • There was apparently one idiot that accidentally set himself on fire while trying to burn an American flag. I think that was the worst of it.

  4. I’ll admit I was wrong. I had the over/under at 7 for # of protestors killed in Cleveland. Now Philadelphia…

    • While you can’t force people to join them, it would have been nice to see pictures outside the realm of white guys.

  5. Yes, there were no untoward incidents involving the open carry of firearms. Just like in every other place where open carry is legally practiced.

    What. A. Shock.

    Okay, not a shock at all. Not even a surprise.

  6. Many people who don’t open carry assume that open carry is all about Chipotle ninjas and confronting the police.

    Those of use who do open carry know that 99.9% of the time, nothing happens…which is exactly how it should be.

  7. “Even comic pseudo news sites like … Reuters”

    Johannes, it’s a very good thing I was not drinking coffee when I read that.

    Good job.

  8. Then they’re doing it wrong. They should at least be firing off a few rounds in the air whilst ululating.

  9. See, that wasn’t so difficult was it?
    When you support white men wearing bed sheets and hoods marching through black neighborhoods carrying guns and call it free speech? Many TTAG posts have supported this over the years.

    Then why can’t a group of black men carry guns in public?

    You would think the world was going to end based on the comments on TTAG before the Republican convention started.

    There seems to be many people who still have a problem with black people with guns. Why????

    I suggest you read Negroes and the Gun, the black tradition of arms by Nicholas Johnson.
    Black people have always had guns. It’s just that whites have always tried to take them away and prevent blacks from openly carrying them.

    • Wasn’t scared of black people with guns. I was scared of the violence seen outside other trump rallies occuring, and then an all out gunfight ensuing. Could have been bad indeed. You know the whole stupid people in stupid places thing….

      It appears however, that everything was relatively orderly: maybe the guns had a deterrent affect on the rable-rousers. Imagine that….

    • Gee Chris accusing all of us white folks of loving the Klan. Even me married to a brown gal? TTAG is not-I repeat- NOT pro-white boy with a sheet on his head. Or violent black separatist felons open carrying. The vast majority of evil white men who comment support black men carrying guns. I’ ve often commented black folks need to arm up to fix their violent neighborhoods(like Chicago). Get that chip off your shoulder. Yeah it’s not so hard…you want racist BS try Stormfront.

      • Agreed. Claiming that someone is racist simply because they have white skin is racist. Skin color does not denote behavior, and sometimes, it does not really denote ethnicity either. During the Winter, I have white skin, but guess what, my grandmother was 100% pure Native -American.

    • Negroes and the Gun is a good book, and should be required reading for anyone who doubts that the roots of American gun control are inherently racist.

  10. I am from the western part of PA. I usually see at least 3 or 4 people open carrying everyday. I carry every day, but I prefer concealed carry. Every time my company would send us to work anywhere near the overflowing toilet bowl known as Philadelphia, we were told the same thing. If you’re going to carry, do it concealed. We are not going to bail you out and you will be arrested if they see you with a gun.

    • I, along with most other people, prefer concealed carry as we go about our daily business, and have no desire to engage people we do business with on the issue of firearms on a regular basis.

      There are people whose lifestyle choices, profession, and financial situation allows them venture out each day with a camera and an openly (and legally) carried firearm and politely engage the general public on the topic of firearms. Those people are heroes, in my book.

      I don’t use my right to sculpt and publicly display statuary of nude figures, my right to avoid self-incrimination, or my right to a trial by a jury of my peers on a daily basis, but I’m glad there are people defending those rights, too.

  11. The peaceful open carry we saw in Cleveland sends a strong, positive message about American Gun Owners. It will be studiously ignored by the Far-Left controlled News Media.
    I recall the DNC Convention in 1968. At that time the far-left, Maoist/Alinsky inspired protests were aimed at the Democrats because of the Viet Nam War. It was in Chicago, IL and violence between protestors and Police was dramatic.

  12. Perhaps this is a good case study. The presence of guns did not lead to gun violence but why is that? Could it be that armed, law abiding citizens served as both a deterrent to criminals and police abuse? Think of it from a psychological perspective. Given the opportunity to get away with a crime, many people will do just that. Here, the opportunity to get away with a violent act was not likely. Not only do armed citizens discourage petty crimes and criminals they discourage mass violence or terrorist attacks. It also stands to reason they discourage police violence as well. Could it be that police are likely to resort to their guns? Perhaps it was the armed protestors who discourage police from using crowd control measures that incite additional violence. Think back to the psychological principles of the cold war. When mutual destruction is highly probable, the odds are even and peace prevails.

    • “Think back to the psychological principles of the cold war. When mutual destruction is highly probable, the odds are even and peace prevails.”

      IMHO, that is part of what’s behind ‘a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state’.

    • In my opinion, there are two big reasons:

      (1) The people who were openly carrying and demonstrating were responsible types who wanted to make a point, and the most essential part of that point was that they carried firearms for self-defense. There was no way they were going to initiate anything. I expressed doubts earlier about the New Black Panthers, but to the extent any of that group showed up with firearms (I haven’t seen any follow up,) they didn’t start anything, either.

      (2) I gather that the Cleveland PD and other police/security forces at the RNC had a highly visible presence and was proactive in stopping things from getting out of control. AFAIK, none of those ‘teetering on the brink of violence’ instances (of which you’ll find at any mass demonstration) involved gun carriers – at least, I haven’t heard of any.

      Someone please correct me if those perceptions are wrong….

  13. Funny… a shitload of firepower on all sides and no one starts anything. Hrmm… I wonder why?

    Maybe because even the most serious hardass on a given topic thinks twice when they realize screwing around could cause a massive firefight in which they get shot?

  14. The MSM has a perplexing allergy to positive defensive uses of weapons, while suffering from an addiction to negative portrayals of firearms and inadequate/non-existing research in their quest to demonize guns. The head of the police union warned of impending Armageddon, suggesting Constitutional rights should be curbed. The press NEVER pulled his coat on this attempt at subverting rights. Had there been a single incident of a gun being negligently discharged, (as guns do NOT magically “go off”) the press would have had a field day in reminding America why guns are icky and we need a whole slew of unenforced new laws to stop gun violence. But that wasn’t the case. Not a single one of the doomsayers are heard today uttering the obligatory and dare I say mandatory OOPS!……….some would wonder…….WHY?

  15. What happens? Nothing happens. And then the anti’s forget about it five minutes later & start banging the drum again about the Wild West.

  16. My personal beliefs on open carry — described earlier — haven’t changed. I won’t openly carry a sidearm in public outside of a range until I feel confident that I have the skills and awareness to fend off a gun-grab. I remain skeptical that open carry of rifles is a good idea for political demonstrations. But these are questions of self-defense and political tactics. The test is not the conditions under which Ithink you should exercise your rights, but the conditions under which you think you should do so.

    Very well said and I couldn’t have said it better. I too am a little wary of open carry but it’s a right and if it’s not excersized, it will go away.
    Many an argument about OC and I’ve always said, “Do what you think.” You want to open carry? Do it but be responsible. Don’t want to do it? Don’t.
    I have done it before and have always worn some type of retention holster. Be it a snap, button or other. Just made sense to me.
    Carry on.

  17. Guns everywhere, no shots fired.

    Why not?

    Because they all know that two-way rifle ranges are just no fun.

    • This.. I’ve often been asked if I like firearms so much why not join the military? And I patiently explain that I enjoy *shooting* firearms, not being *shot at* with firearms. Paper and steel don’t (usually) shoot back (steel does sometimes!). So like this guy says, two way rifle ranges are just no fun at all.

    • LOL, That should be one of Murphy’s laws.

      Wait a minute, it think it is: “friendly fire isn’t”

  18. “What if Demonstrators Openly Carry Firearms Outside a Political Convention and Nothing Happens?”

    The Stupid Party, The NRA, and The non-MSM completely fail to leverage this fact in support of what they’re supposed to be advocating.

    They won’t even craft a reply for the inevitable “Eeee-vil Kasich wouldn’t even declare an emergency at the convention…” You just know some “more rules – better” comment-bot or congresscritter will go there the next time The Wrong People are being obstructionist about Doing Something That Won’t Help.

    They ought to have a crafted answer in their pockets, like: “And nothing happened. Unlike the D-party convention with it’s lots of restrictions, and stuff getting out of hand anyway. It’s almost like *who* has the open carry gun matters more than the gun.”

    Oh, wait. You’re asking about something less than obvious that might happen next.

    I got nothin.

  19. No I’m not a troll but I don’t think open carry of long guns in downtown Cleveland paint gun owners in the right light.

    • This. It’s sad that some gun rights advocates can’t see the difference between you & I, and Shannon Watts or Michael Bloomberg.

  20. I’m not at all surprised. When the New Black Panthers announced they’d be open carrying, I assumed it would be fine. Open carry of long arms doesn’t, by itself, increase danger for anyone.

    What it does do, however, is convince fence sitters that we’re all pseudo-paramilitary nut jobs, and that our opponents’ stereotypes of us are accurate. In all but the rarest instances it is, at best, a net neutral, and in most cases it’s a net negative for the gun rights movement.

  21. I actually hope the Open Carry folks sit the DNC out – why give them any free security. Stay home and watch home much more unrulty the DNC gets, you know, for the sake of comparison….for science.

  22. There will be some awesome looting and rioting at the DNC convention. I bet dollars to donuts. Should be a grand ole shitshow.

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