Texas Open-Carry Laws Blurred Lines Between Suspects and Marchers The New York Times proclaims. To save you precious time and brain cells, let me highlight the fact that The Times doesn’t offer any testimony from any police officer indicating they were confused, delayed or otherwise hampered by the presence of open carriers at the Black Lives Matter protest — the scene of the resulting police massacre.
This is as close to a front-line indictment of open carry as the Gray Lady’s troika of “reporters” get:
The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, described to CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday the amount of confusion the armed protesters initially caused.
He said the event had attracted “20 or 30 people” who “showed up with AR-15 rifles slung across their shoulder.”
“They were wearing gas masks,” Mr. Brown said. “They were wearing bulletproof vests and camo fatigues, for effect, for whatever reason.”
When the shooting started, “they began to run,” he said. And because they ran in the middle of the shooting, he said, the police on the scene viewed them as suspects. “Someone is shooting at you from a perched position, and people are running with AR-15s and camo gear and gas masks and bulletproof vests, they are suspects, until we eliminate that.”
Open carriers wearing gas masks? That’s news to me. You might have thought that the dozens of cameras filming the scene would have caught ONE example of a gas mask-wearing open carrier. Be that as it probably isn’t, the Chief’s declamation that open carry caused confusion is highly dubious.
One of the state’s most prominent open-carry activists, C. J. Grisham, the founder and president of Open Carry Texas, disputed the extent of the confusion caused by marchers carrying rifles. In videos from the scene, he said, “you can see that police are walking right past people who are open-carrying rifles and it’s not a problem. So obviously it’s not that difficult to tell who the good guys and the bad guys are.”
The fact that there were open carriers at the Dallas protest is also . . . wait for it . . . irrelevant.
First of all, Texans have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to bear arms. Period. If that confuses police during a mass shooting, so be it. If the cops had killed an open carrier by mistake, call me a member of Gun Nut Nation, but again, also so be it.
Second, the fact that there was an armed attack in Dallas proves that Texans were right to carry firearms at the protest. What’s more, given the threat presented — a racist madman armed with a rifle — it’s perfectly reasonable that the law-abiding citizens carried rifles in their own defense; handguns being a less-than-ideal weapon against a rifle.
Micah X. Johnson’s tactics prevented an immediate ballistic response from open carriers, but it could have gone another way. An open carrier could have seen a less well-trained attacker (or attackers) firing on the crowd and dispatched them. Or at least slowed them down.
I’ll even go so far as to suggest that the presence of open carriers may have caused the shooter to be less effective. That’s conjecture, obviously, but so is the idea that open carriers are, in general, a disadvantage to police.
Again, the fact that the open carriers didn’t shoot or slow the bad guy is neither here nor there — unless you’re someone who favors civilian disarmament looking for any old excuse to vilify legally armed citizens defending their lives and the lives of other innocents.
The legality of carrying a rifle on the streets is just one element of a gun culture that continues to define and divide the state. It is not just that many Texans are armed. It is that many are allowed to display the fact that they are armed, and more now do so than at any point in modern Texas history.
Wait. What? Who says Texas’ gun culture “divides” the state? I open carry in Austin, the very liberal heart of a deeply conservative state. While I have been asked to leave undetected “gun free zones,” I have never been assailed for open carrying.
There is no division here, save the one that The New York Times seeks to create. At least they include this:
“Doesn’t make sense to us, but that’s their right in Texas,” [Dallas Police Chief David Brown] said. He did not say whether he supported restricting the carrying of rifles on the streets.
Who is this “us” of which the Dallas Police Chief speaks? Police officers in his force or politically-appointed cops with their political handlers intent on using open carry as another excuse to attack gun rights? The answer’s obvious, at least for those of “us” who care about the truth.