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Chuck Avery’s a gun owner. Just ask him. And he didn’t just inherit grandpa’s squirrel gun that he keeps over the fireplace, either. He owns both rifles and pistols. As he tells it, he even “used to go out to the woods and target shot at all times of the year.” That means winter, too folks. So Chuck’s no nervous nelly. He’s not some namby-pamby shrinking violet when it comes to being around firearms. And that only serves to illustrate how truly disturbing his recent experience in the grocery section of  Wally World was. I hope he found time to make a side trip to the men’s unmentionables department while he was there because, from the way he describes the horror he experienced, he likely needs a new pair of Fruit of the Looms…

Picture it for a moment. Chuck and the missus are strolling down the potato chip aisle looking for something to munch on when – out of nowhere – up walks a tall dark stranger.

My wife and I were walking down the “potato chip and other salty snacks” aisle in a nearby Walmart when I spotted this character coming toward us. He was decked out like a cowboy — big hat, neckerchief, high pointed-toe boots — the whole outfit.

That may have been unusual for east central Indiana, but it took Chuck’s experienced eye to spot the real threat.

Michelle looked, but her reaction seemed strangely nonchalant.

“Didn’t you see that?” I said.

“Yeah, the guy is dressed like a cowboy. I don’t care.”

“That’s not it! Didn’t you notice he was carrying a GUN?”

She looked again. Her reaction this time was, “Well, for Heaven’s sake!”

It might have been more appropriate had the guy been totin’ a six-shooter in a leather holster, but instead he had what looked like a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol strapped just above his right hip.

Right there in front of the pretzels! Can you imagine? You’d think the cow poke character had turned around, yanked the Glock from his holster and pistol-whipped poor Michelle right there in front of poor old helpless Chuck.

Chuck goes on to helpfully recount for his readers – with thinly veiled disapproval – the sorry history of the liberalization of gun laws in recent years. Not to mention the trend of people taking brazen liberties with the rights afforded them by the constitution.

But, just as we shouldn’t revert to all kinds of anti-social acts because there is no law against them, neither should we do things that are outrageous and irrational — like packing heat through the salty snacks aisle at the local Walmart — just because the law says we can.

Though I think it smacks of paranoia, I am familiar with the reasoning of those who exhibit such behavior.

Thankfully, Chuck was evidently a teacher at one time and has, as you’d expect, seen all manner of silly, incomprehensible behavior. He’s an old hand at all this ‘acting up’ stuff.

So when, for instance, a group would come to school wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants, I would tell them, “Yes! Yes! I know you have the right. But, c’mon, let’s use a little common sense here, folks.”

And isn’t that really what we need here, people? Just a little common sense. That quality that’s sadly in such short supply these days. I ask you, who really needs to wear a gun on his hip as he walks up and down the aisles of the local mega mart? As mom told you, just because you can, doesn’t mean you ought to. Carelessly strutting around that way can make unsuspecting innocents upChuck all over their Rockport Prowalkers from the mere shock of it all.

Just a word of caution to considerate Armed Intelligentsia members out there. Next time you have a hankerin’ for a family size bag of Doritos, untuck your shirt and hide that heater. The last thing you want to hear over the PA system is “Larry, cleanup on aisle five!”

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  1. Is that a g-g-g-g-g-gun? In Wally-World? Oh the humanities!

    Chuck, don’t get your panties in a bunch. Even in Massachusetts, I see people walking around with their Glocks exposed every day. We call them “cops,” and they are way more dangerous than cowboys.

  2. The Cambridge Dictionary defines Common Sense as “the basic level of practical knowledge and judgment that we all need to help us live in a reasonable and safe way”. The law explicitly permits carrying a firearm, which would meet the definition of reasonable. And it also helps the owner increase their safety, by either leveling the playing field or giving the owner a distinct advantage in a hostile situation. I wonder what that guys definition of common sense is?

  3. Sooo… A .45LC SAA revolver sitting on his hip would be OK because it fits with his attire, but a Glock is too much?

        • Naw, real man would carry a 10″ barreled S&W .500, Wildley .475 like Charles Bronson, or a .44 automag like Clint Eastwood!

          • No way. A modern mid-western cowboy in the pretzel isle would only be properly dressed if he was carrying a stainless steel 357 revolver.

  4. Somebody call Ray Stevens
    “I yelled ‘Don’t Look, Ethel!’ but it was too late, she got a free shot…”

    That said “The individual openly carrying what appeared to be a Glock 9mm dressed as a cowboy” is not nearly as catchy as “The Streak”

  5. From the photo, Chuck looks to be in the neighborhood of my age group–somewhere either side of 60. Chuck should be able to remember the days of those restrictive gun laws he apparently yearns for us to return to. You know, when kids brought their shotguns and rifles to school during hunting season so they could do a little hunting after class. When it was legal for college students to have firearms on campus–sometimes even permitted in dorm rooms. When you could buy a firearm from Sears, Roebuck & Co. Mail order. The days before background checks.

    From his blog: “Though I think it smacks of paranoia, I am familiar with the reasoning of those who exhibit such behavior….Yes! Yes! I know you have the right. But, c’mon, let’s use a little common sense here, folks.”

    While I sort of agree that there is an element of exhibitionism and fashion statement present in the open-carry crowd, Chuck seems to be the one with the paranoia.

    • There’s no exhibition in open carry for me. I do it to normalize guns. Remove the fear and mystique of guns through positive exposure.

  6. Chuck’s column coincides nicely with the open carry debate and repeal going on in Ca. Coincidence? You decide.

  7. “But, just as we shouldn’t revert to all kinds of anti-social acts because there is no law against them, neither should we do things that are outrageous and irrational — like packing heat through the salty snacks aisle at the local Walmart — just because the law says we can.”

    You know, one of the caveats of living in a free society is that I have to put up with whatever thing you may choose to do, even if I consider it “outrageous and irrational”, so long as you aren’t infringing on my right to do the same. Freedom can be scary that way, and full of unexpected twists and turns. It’s still far less scary than being forced to live someone else’s ideal of orderly regimentation. Given that, I have to give Mr. Avery the nod for *not* saying, “there should be a law against this.” All he’s done is express his opinion that people shouldn’t carry heat in the snacks aisle; he hasn’t said people should be forced to give up their gun to enter Wally World, that people should be forced to hide it, or that they should be forced to do anything else. He’s described his disagreement with the idea of packing into a bar or on campus, but given the context of the article it’s pretty clear he’s not begging for new laws, just for people to behave a certain way. So while I disagree with him about what people should or shouldn’t do, my disagreement goes no further, because he’s not calling for someone to abridge my freedom.

    • “All he’s done is express his opinion that people shouldn’t carry heat in the snacks aisle”

      Perhaps he feels the beer aisle is more appropriate? =)

  8. Dan, no.

    Open carry serves two purposes above and beyond concealed carry.

    1. You carry a gun because you might need it. Open carry is preferable because you might need a gun fast. That’s why cops open carry. Unless not scaring the nervous nellies is your highest priority, in which case police officers should also tuck their ‘heater’ under their shirts to avoid spooking the hoplophobes.

    2. Open carry normalizes the Constitutional right to bear arms. This permit holder acted as we all hope he would: as though having a gun on your person is no big deal, because it isn’t. Maybe after Chuck and others like him see a few people openly carrying and acting normally, he might realize that.

    It might have gone better had the permit holder not been ‘all decked out like a cowboy’. But who knows? Maybe he was on his way to or from a SASS shoot. Glocks are certainly more effective self-defense tools than a single-action revolver, and I would not blame the man for switching out his ‘heater’ when not at the range.

  9. Funny how the phrase “common sense” can be so perverted by someone who equates it with his own screwed up world view. Same with the word “paranoia.” (who seemed like the more paranoid person in this article: the armed man calmly shopping or the moron getting the vapors at the sight of a polymer tool?)

    Of course, people like this are what led to the mutilation of the word “justice.” At least he actually recognizes it as a right, apparently.

  10. The people in that Seal Beach hair salon didn’t think they needed a gun to get a new hairstyle either… RIP

  11. Every time I see one of these articles I have to laugh. I run into someone engaged in open carry in South Dakota … oh… once a week. Wal-Mart, Target, down town, nobody cares. At most, you just gets asked if you have a permit (you need a CCW permit to open carry in SD, just to make sure you don’t have a criminal record).

    Personally I don’t like to open carry, I am too worried about someone trying to steal my gun off of me.

  12. “What looked like a Glock 9-mm,” eh? How could he tell? How close was he? Given that a G19 and G23 (or G17 vs G22… or G26 and G27) are nearly indistinguishable. Or is he that good at visually discerning bore size from a distance? Or maybe it was a “Glock 7” all-ceramic pistol??? 😉 Wait… no… Glock “fo-tay?”As long as the guy carrying it didn’t declare he’s the only one in the room “professional enough” to handle it… no worries!

  13. My wife and I used to go to the nearby Old Country Buffet on Sunday mornings to enjoy their brunch (they have since changed the menu and we no longer go there). Being a MN permit holder, and loving my wife as I do I regularly carried a ParaOrdnance P-14 .45 (double stack .45 fits my paws nicely) in a shoulder holster. Oftentimes it would be warm enough in the restaurant that I would need to remove my cover garment (MN is a carry state, not a concealed carry state). One time the manager mentioned to my wife that some people found me kind of intimidating when I was carrying a gun. My wife looked over at my 6’5″ three hundred and mumble pound frame, with my shaved head and bushy beard and said “You know, a lot of people find him intimidating even when he’s not carrying a gun.”

  14. Get some professional help, Chuck. Nothing to see here folks; continue shopping. Ohio is an open carry state, too. The only place I had a problem in recent years was -you guessed it- WalMart, in Greenville, Ohio.

    Went in, did my shopping, checked out, and on my way to the door heard an excited intercom page for a “Code whatever”. Thought nothing of it. Got to the truck, and remembered I’d forgotten the oil & filter. Drove around to automotive, parked, was walking in when a tire tech started yelling “sir, you can’t bring that in here!!!!”. I asked what he was talking about, and he pointed to the Kimber Custom II on my right belt and said “that. you can’t bring a gun into the store. That’s illegal”

    A little educational interchange took place. I summoned management, explained the situation, and when he understood that both Ohio law and WalMart corporate policy did not prohibit CUSTOMERS* from carrying in their stores, everything was hunky dory.

    On the way out of the parking lot, I stopped at the 3 police cruisers out front and explained I was the one they probably had been called about. A brief, friendly discussion with John and Jane Law, and we all had a good day.

    Lesson #1) I was open carrying because (a) it is my Right, and it is legal; and (b) I was not licensed to carry concealed in Ohio.

    Lesson #2) No one in the store, except the tire tech and maybe the initial cashier, showed the least bit of concern about my LEGAL conduct.

    Lesson #3) As this took place several years ago, and despite whatever Toby Hoover has had to say, the people in Ohio as a rule don’t seem to have a problem with law-abiding citizens exercising their God-given Rights. Certain politicians, and other idiots and tyrants, are, however, a different story.

    Lesson #4) Nobody was injured, or threatened. Totally harmless situation.

    Sorry for you, Chuck, but We, the People, aren’t the ones you need worry about.

    * – WalMart corporate policy apparently prohibits EMPLOYEES from carrying on the clock. Corporate idiocy, for sure; but it is their property, and I respect that. Unless and until they ban carry in their store for customers, they’ll continue to get my business. If they choose to discriminate against us, and Freedom, we can boycott and shut ’em down, just like we did with K Mart & Rosie O’Dumbass.

  15. As a Jewess in the US, I can only say that reactions like the one this article describes are but one MORE reason why all REAL Americans now put our 2nd Amendment FIRST! Remember that American wasn’t won with a registered gun!

  16. If gun owners like Chuck are what we call friends, I certainly can’t tell the difference between him and my enemies.

  17. I can’t believe someone would go out in public on purpose wearing a neckerchief and not wear his wooly chaps. It shows a total disregard for cowboy grooming standards. Furthermore, he could have at least had the decency to open carry a pair of single action wheelguns in a classic rig. It just spoils the whole effect. Tuck the Glock in a nice IWB holster under your pearl buttoned shirt as a backup gun, and please don’t act like a walking anachronism.

    Everyone knows that a Glock must be worn with tacticool pants, black combat boots and a nice crisp polo shirt! (Preferably one with a gun manufacturer logo matching the firearm being carried.) What kind of fashion sense are we teaching in schools these days!


  18. …and then said writer got in his SUV where he texted and talked on his cell phone swerving dangerously at speeds over 70 mph, endangering dozens of lives with his 4 wheeled deadly weapon (the cops say it is too)…

    who’s more dangerous, a trained law abiding citizen with a holstered gun, or a man texting at 70 mph on the freeway???

  19. If you have the right to carry a gun, but others tell you not to and you stop, how is this different than losing your rights?

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