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In the ongoing fight to restore Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, there are pro-gunners who support pragmatic incrementalism. They’re OK with laws clawing-back some gun rights, to prepare the political soil for a future day’s harvest. There are others who believe that “shall not be infringed” means “shall not be infringed.” Any stance removed from that position is abject capitulation to gun control advocates; an unacceptable compromise that emboldens the enemies of firearms freedom. We’ve seen this dilemma in . . .

Colorado, where legislators moved to increase the ammo magazine capacity mandate from a 15-round maximum to 30 rounds (as opposed to rescinding the ban completely). And in Texas, where permitted open carry replaced Constitutional carry on the legislative agenda. And now Michiganders may be facing the same “choice” . . .

Michigan law prohibits concealed pistol permit holders from carrying concealed weapons in schools, but the law does not prevent owners from openly carrying a gun on their hips.

“This has created a a quandary for school administrators, public safety advocates and police,” said Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. “I think it’s something we need to address.”

Bieda proposed linking the air gun reclassification package to a House bill that would prohibit open carry in schools.

“Regardless of your stance on guns, I think we should all agree that the safety of our children should be paramount,” he said.

Jones, R-Grand Ledge, argue that Bieda’s amendment amounted an unrelated issue that should be debated separately. He said the Senate Judiciary Committee would debate the proposal if it passes the House. The amendment was not adopted.

Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, is preparing to introduce a bill that would allow CPL holders who undergo additional training to bring concealed weapons in schools.

Green, speaking to reporters during a lull in the Senate session, said he thinks there should be some restrictions on open carry in schools, and indicated that will “probably” be a part of his proposal.

“I think that to assure all of our rights, I think the best thing to do is concealed carry,” Green said. “I think that’s the best way we should go, but I’m only one vote. I can’t determine everything.”

No, he can’t. Thankfully. Because any “true” supporter of gun rights knows that the distinction between open or concealed carry is not a thing, Constitutionally-speaking. But it is a thing, politically, in The Great Lake State.

As the article points out, the issue of legally carried guns in schools recently erupted in Ann Arbor. Parents and staff at Pioneer High School were “taken aback” when a gun owner openly carried a firearm into a choir concert. That led the Ann Arbor school board to create a “dangerous weapon and disruption-free zone” prohibiting guns on all district-owned property. A policy in direct contravention of state pre-emption on all firearms laws.

Last month, gun rights advocates brought their openly carried guns into Madison Heights’ schools, triggering two school lockdowns.

You could say this sort of thing is extremely inadvisable, given that “scary” long gun open carry demonstrations in California led to a blanket open carry ban. Or you could say what about the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in?

The last thing I would say is “extra training required” with “special certification.” That approach cedes the antis’ claim that guns are prima facie dangerous. That gun owners are ill-equipped emotionally to handle them in public – never mind a school! Besides, practically speaking, how would that work? Show us your papers! No thanks.

Nor do I accept that concealed carry is the best way to assert gun rights. That would be open carry.

Once again, I draw your attention to the civil rights struggle in the 60’s. Until American blacks showed themselves where they weren’t accepted by peaceful protest, their plight was invisible. Ignored. It was only when they and their supporters made their discrimination visible that the movement made the gains that led to legal reform. Restoring their rights.

Anyway, whether or not the People of the Gun support gun rights restoration incrementalism, they should respect those who choose to reject it. Publicly.

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    • In a way the Michigan law makes more sense than some states. There’s some strange belief that criminals open carry guns, which couldn’t be further from the truth. So if you’re going to discriminate it makes more sense to discriminate against concealed carry.

    • Just what problems have MI schoolchildren had with law abiding gun owners in their schools, OC or CC either one? As in, what problem is being addressed? Or are we just making things up to worry about?

  1. How do open carry in Michigan schools and the federal gun free schools zones act intersect? It would seem the federal law prohibiting it would preempt the state law allowing it.

    • One would have to assume that licensed open carry is allowed it unlicensed is not. Federal law allows the states to decide what permit holders may or may not do in schools. Most states have simply extended the ban to everyone.

        • Drew you can open carry, but you can not enter the magic school zone without a cpl. Federal law has reservation that a state can choose what licensed people do in school zones but prohibit unlicensed. So if you open carry into a school zone without cpl (state license) your not breaking state law but federal, if open carry into school zone with a cpl your good by federal law and the state only has laws against concealed in school.

        • Jeff the Griz,

          If you open carry into a school zone without a concealed carry license, you are breaking both state and federal law. If you carry concealed into a school zone with a concealed carry license, you are breaking state law and then by extension federal law. The ONLY way that you can carry into a school without breaking any (unconstitutional) laws is to have a concealed carry license and carry your handgun openly visible.

          Federal law allows carry into schools if your state licenses carry into schools. Since Michigan does not license concealed carry but only open carry into schools — and only then with a concealed carry license — you are probably violating federal law as well if you carry concealed into schools even with a concealed carry license.

        • Jeff is correct. You can open carry without a CPL in michigan, but not into any of the “restricted” areas where you cannot carry concealed even with a CPL. However, if you do have a CPL, you can open carry into the restricted areas, including bars (but you can’t drink) and schools. It’s a weird thing with the state laws, but there it is.

    • The federal law makes breaking state law a federal offense. If you can carry at a school legally in your state you’re not violating the federal law. In other words, the federal law is nothing but liberal feel good bullsh!t.

      • That’s interesting, because when states make breaking a federal law, like illegally entering the country, a state offense, the federal government cries foul and declares the states have overstepped their authority. Funny how that works.

  2. I am about 90% sure that the Colorado proposal was 15 to 30 rather than 10 to 15. 15 rounds is already legal in CO.

    • You’re right, the trial balloon recently floated was a bump from 15 to 30. It never even reached the point of a bill being put int he hopper, however.

      It’s possible, though that RF was thinking of when the bill was originally enacted, and the original draft read ten but they were talked into raising it to fifteen. I doubt it, though, because that truly was a move in the wrong direction either way, as opposed to a small move vs. large move in the right direction, which is the sort of choice he’s talking about.

  3. “There are others who believe that “shall not be infringed” means “shall not be infringed.”

    That’s where I stand. I’d volunteer one amendment to our fair Constitution/BoR in retrospect. A plain English rewrite to prevent all possible “interpretation”, with a vast increase with respect the scope of the supremacy clause. On the supremacy clause, specifically where concerning states/counties/municipalities attempts to abrogate in part, or en toto.

    I agree with Senator Bieda, though not in the way he’d like, where he states: ““Regardless of your stance on guns, I think we should all agree that the safety of our children should be paramount”

    Certainly Senator. You and I both know they are no more safe than having armed angels looking out for them realtime is the most logical solution. I mean, it works for you with your guards, correct? Then why, pray tell, are you advocating the protectors of our children be unarmed? Methinks your hypocrisy is showing Senator. You might want to look to that.

    Sen. Greene, is the more dangerous one in my humble estimation. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, that one. At least you know which side Bieda’s actually on.

    • It is in plain English. We’re just too stupid to understand it due to the dumbing down by the government educational complex. I’ve been reading Gutzman’s biography of Madison, and the record shows that the constitution’s meaning as understood by strict constructionists was debated and considered redundant by the writers of the founding documents.

      • Pardon for the misunderstanding, perhaps I should have writ with better clarity.

        By plain: I mean an airtight common modern usage English that no person, Congressional, Judicial, or Executive may seek to “interpret” it and thereby alter it’s original intent. As it were, the understanding of the wording of the document in the modern sense is lacking, with respect to the government on all levels, as evidenced in the repeated & prolific unconstitutional law(s) issued heretofore.

        Also: Gutzman on Madison 😀 A good source to develop some righteous indignation, if not boiling anger, at the current sordid state of affairs.

        • They will always manipulate their double speak to mean what ever they want a word to mean- one of the main points of 1984. Just like the non-sexist adjectives that are sexist when they’re referencing Hillary Clinton- they mean what she says they mean, and she’ll have Webster change the definitions for the next edition.

        • There is no such thing as language a progressive can’t bend to the breaking point. That IS what they do – manipulate and pollute language to their political ends.

    • “There are others who believe that “shall not be infringed” means “shall not be infringed.”

      I’ve definitely come around to being in a hard and fast alignment with this belief. Constitutional carry is as much a foundation stone of our nation’s freedom as 1st amendment rights or 4th amendment rights (or any other amendment for that matter). Gun rights just happen to be the target of the day. At other times freedom of speech was considered “to dangerous” for modern people to practice with abandon. In point of fact, our founders for the nation to shape itself around these written-in-stone concepts of freedom and liberty. Despite their butt-hurt sensibilities, those in modern society who find this problematical are just going to have to deal with it. America’s foundation’s of freedom are not to be challenged (gee I’m sounding like an NRA commercial . . .) and the open carrying of arms is an essential core of those foundations. Sorry gun controllers and urban hipsters, but it is what it is. Now deal with it because we sure as hell are.

      • One reason constitutional carry, concealed carry, and open carry are attracting attention and gaining political traction across the country is that people are facing the hard to ignore truth that just once armed person Sandy Hook could have stopped a stupid kid from killing innocents. Really, gun-control ideology has no viable arguments against that simple fact. Put guns in schools!

      • Same/same on all counts. The Constitution & BoR were always intended to be absolute in theory & practice. Only the power hungry politicians (prostitutes?) of today would have you believe otherwise.

        • Afraid not. For example, you have the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, not the absolute right to be secure against all searches whatsoever.

        • As I’m unsure to whom you are replying, I don’t see anyone here making a claim to the contrary. Nowhere are you guaranteed to be free from search and seizure, as you noted. However, you must admit that the standards applied to “unreasonable search & seizure” at the time in no way reflect the modern usage of search and seizure. Things have changed radically on that front in my lifetime alone.

        • This “absolute-ism” argument does us more harm than good. Observe, as noted by another commentator, the 4A use of “unreasonable” and the fact that warrants were authorized. It’s really hard to frame an absolute-ism argument around the 4A.

          Instead, we ought to be using the diverse language used in the BoR (and elsewhere in the Constitution and amendments) to argue that the 2A is deserving of the same strict scrutiny now understood as applicable to the 1A. It took a long time for the 1A to build its jurisprudence of strict scrutiny. Now that that has been accomplished with respect to 1A we ought to capitalize on that foundation and argue that the language of the 2A is comparably unequivocal. Other amendments’ language such as “unreasonable” or “speedy” admit of greater legislative or judicial interpretation as compared to “No law” or “not be infringed”.

          Absolute-ism is difficult to defend because if the listener deems just a single law that in his mind does not “infringe” then in his mind the absolute argument is deflated. It is much easier to persuade the open-minded listener that the most egregious law on our agenda constitutes a prohibited infringement. To succeed in rolling-back that most egregious law we must succeed in persuading a majority (of justices, legislators or voters) that IT constitutes an impermissible infringement. Get the listener to concede the point on that most egregious law and roll-it-back. Now, attack the next most egregious law and it’s not so hard to make your case again; and so forth.

          Consider national registration, for example. The text of the 2A doesn’t seem to speak directly against registration. Nevertheless, it’s easy to make the argument that an effective registration scheme renders possible confiscation; and, it is precisely confiscation which would be absolutely inimical to the express and highest objective of the 2A. RKBA under registration would be no guarantee at all. Such an argument ought to be easy to articulate; if our audience can’t be persuaded by such a powerful argument how could we imagine that it will be easier to persuade that audience to subscribe to absolute-ism?

        • I’m responding to you, Raven. You claimed the BoR were always intended to be absolute. I disagreed and gave you an example where’s it’s not absolute, even within the text of the amendment. I’ll give you another.

          Look at the 3rd amendment, which concludes “…but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” The amendment itself is open ended and to be determined. So how can it at the same time be absolute on its face? It cannot.

          Factor in further that the BoR wasn’t intended to and didn’t actually apply to the states. Several 19th century Supreme Court cases affirmed this principle. How can a right be absolute, when it doesn’t even bind the states and protect people from the states?

          True, eventually the 14th amendment did come on scene, but that’s nearly a century later and doesn’t speak to the Framers’ original intent.

        • J-H, the examples you give are the constitution itself specifying conditions, not being “interpreted”. 2A has no such qualifiers. 3A and 4A should be and are taken as absolutes, they mean exactly what they say, and no one has a problem with them. 2A deserves the same, and “shall not be infringed” cannot be misinterpreted, but it can be violated. Gun control violates the constitution, *absolutely*.

        • And, BTW, 2A certainly was meant to apply to the states. If you think not, explain why it was not simply included in 1A, under “CONGRESS shall make no law …”

        • Agreed; it is by no means clear that rights enumerated in the BoR were intended/or-not to apply to the States. It’s true that an early SCOTUS decision ruled to that effect; however, it’s also clear that several State supreme courts ruled to support RKBA under the 2A.

          Bear in mind that the rights enshrined in the 2A were selected in very large part because these were the rights about which there was a consensus or virtual consensus in the founding era. There were debates around a few fine points on one or another amendment; however, the overall principles were well understood at that time. Could the law disarm an: Indian; slave; black freeman; Tory? Sure; goes without saying! Could the law disarm a free white male of militia age? Of course not, so long as he were peaceable. These were natural rights, after all.

          The focus of the People’s attention at the founding era was the looming power of the Federal government. Would THIS particular government become a threat to the liberties of the People of the nation? There wasn’t much room in the debate halls as to the extent – if any – to which the Federal Constitution ought to be used as a vehicle to secure the rights of citizens vis a vis the States.

          A far easier case could be made that the People – upon ratifying the 14A – understood that it would incorporate the Federal Constitution upon the States. The fact that SCOTUS promptly gutted that understanding can be argued to have been a crass error; an error that has gradually been corrected through “selective incorporation”. Now that the current generation is accustomed to the understanding that virtually all the Amendments have been incorporated vis a vis the States, I think that the issue of 2A being applicable/in-applicable to the States is largely moot. I think the Antis would have a really hard time trying to UN-incorporate the 2A.

          Now, I think, the fight is about the extent – if any – to which an infringement upon “the right” to KBA is impermissible under a correct understanding of the 2A. The Antis want to ignore the 2A’s existence or dilute it to a nullity; I doubt that they expect to gain any ground (as in Highland Park) on UN-incorporating the 2A.

        • The place where your heads are at where the definition of absolute in my earlier statement, is not what I attempted to convey in my usage. You, Johnathan, and I do not disagree that the amendments are open ended to the future as to how/why/when. Merely that the BoR is absolute in that it may not be abridged, and it has been, many times in subsequent law. Some of which has been deemed unconstitutional & removed from the books, but plenty that still is in effect (and even some that has passed SCOTUS under supposed strict scrutiny while still being decidedly unconstitutional).

          The point Mark makes on the states not being subject to the Constitution & Amendments would be the one weakness contained therein. That should’ve been precluded by our forefathers, & it’s unfortunate that they didn’t foresight to include it.

          As to whether the framers would allow weapon registration, or find that to be a gross infringement with gigantic potential for abuse, that is self evident when taken into context with their writings outside of the Constitution & amendments. They would not have just opposed it, & likely they may have shot the one that suggested it in the first place. *joking a bit about the last bit*

        • Correction *The point Mark makes on the states not being subject to ALL OF the Constitution & Amendments would be the one weakness contained therein.*

        • Larry, that response was so pathetically grasping that I’m embarrased for you.

          Geez, even the very words of the Constitution bespeak limitations on rights, and you just blow right past that unassailable fact and repeat, in hands-covering-ears, I-can’t-hear-you style, that they’re still absolute. That’s mind numbingly stupid. It’s exactly the kind of leave from reality that the POTG accuse the antis of, but which both sides are abundantly guilty of. After all, the first thing someone will do in defense of his beliefs is lie. Absolute. Good grief.

          So five thousand heavily armed open carriers would be within their “absolute right” to keep and bear arms by taking up positions in front of the White House? Or is that their absolute right to peaceably assemble? Better yet, may a dozen extremely violent ex-cons, with restored 2A rights, of course, stalk you and your family everywhere every day, openly and menacingly armed, so long as they don’t commit or explicitly threaten violence? Lie to me and say yes.

          Go read McDonald. It’s the case that incorporated Heller and bound the states to the 2A. You’re saying 2A is and was always absolute. Yet, the Framers and two hundred years of Supreme Court justices disagree with you, for not applying it to the states prior to McDonald. And even then, plus Heller, the SC allows for 2A limitations.

          I get the appeal of the rah rah sis boom bah 2A cheerleading. It’s fun, real fun, but good lord, man, don’t be so daft. Someone’s apt to use your nonsensical and rabidly partisan posts here as evidence to get you adjudicated a mental defective.

          Pure assininity spews forth from you echo chamber zealots. If we someday lose our firearms rights in this country, it will be because you selfish and semi-informed absolutists snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

      • “At other times freedom of speech was considered “to dangerous” for modern people to practice with abandon.”

        That time is now, if you are paying any mind to today’s college campuses.

  4. A good incremental step might be to give up open carry as a token to the hoplophobes (it’s already impossible in practical terms, so it’s not much of a loss) in return for concealed-carry legalization.

    No extra requirements, just plain old licensed CCW, which would recognize that concealed carry licensees by definition have already met standards (e.g., fingerprinting, background checks, and whatever training the state currently requires) that the average parent hasn’t, and should therefore be considered safer and more reliable than people who don’t want to carry guns.

    Give up something useless (even if it offends constitutional principles) to get something REAL. Something you don’t currently have: the ability for teachers and parents to give children at school some honest-to-God protection. It’d be a step forward.

    • I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but this give-to-get mentality is what’s gotten us all upside down fighting to restore our rights in the first place. Now is the time to toe the line & fight, not capitulate even on what seems as though it’s the smallest unimportant issue.

      Caving on principle is a sign of weakness, and if you don’t think they’ll capitalize on any chink in the armor they can find, you’re fooling yourself. That’s the reality that got us here prima fascie.

    • You’re offering a trade. Even if I thought that were a worthwhile trade (which I don’t), it’s not parallel to the situations described here

      The old situation: We have the right to do A, B, C, D… through Z. Some pukestain hoplophobe demands we give up rights N-Z. We’re pretty sure he’s really after A-Z, but right now he’s just screeching about N-Z. We end up giving him T-Z in the hope he’ll go away and choke on his own feces and never bother us again. We’ve lost a bunch and gained nothing in return, which is bad enough, but worse: He’ll come back and repeat the process. This describes American gun politics from the 1930s (if not earlier) through 1994.

      The newer situation: We used to have A-Z. Right now, we have A-M; the hoplophobe pukestain has already taken N-Z away from us. We have a chance to get N-S back right now, it’s fruit hanging in front of our faces. In return the hoplophobe doesn’t get a damn thing. We don’t have the chance to get N-Z back. Yet some guy on our side hops up and down and says we should refuse to get N-S back, because it’s not N-Z.

      That guy on our side is a jackass. Particularly when we aren’t giving up the right or ability to try for T-Z at a future date.

      • That is indeed infuriating, people who would rather win nothing and feel proud for having “stuck ti their principles”, than to win something today, and continue the fight tomorrow.

        I’m OK with incremental gains, in the same sense that I recognize that football is a game of inches. I’m OK working and making progress, sometimes getting less than I want, but I’m not OK with giving up what I already have. Any compromises to be made will be over how much forward progress we make, this time. I won’t compromise over how many steps to take backward in exchange for some fewer steps forward.

        What’s problematic in our camp is people who are wiling to settle for limited, but all positive, gains this time, being called out as Quislings by the purists who demand all or nothing. The purists figure that if you’re willing to accept something less than perfection, now, then that must be your end game, too, and you’re a fud. Then comes the internecine conflict over who’s more principled.

        Jackwagons swinging for the fence every at bat never seem to realize that they lose every game because they never get on base and never drive runs in.

    • The last thing I want is more laws restricting open carry. I do not want to end up worried if my holster peeks out I’m breaking a law. I only started open carrying recently, I have had no issues. I have said in a previous article, bringing the ak could be the Chipotle thing all over again, but I have also said it is no buisness of mine to tell someone else how to exercise their rights. I carry every day, sometimes concealed, sometimes open. I have only had 1 person notice I was carrying and just yesterday observed another open carrier in Taco Bell.

      • In my area, I see people open carry often and I look around to see reactions of others. No one even cares. Of course, most of them have their noses buried in their iPhones.

    • “Open carry is impossible”?,

      I beg to differ. I’ve OC’d here in NM now for almost seven years. Most places out here aren’t posted against carrying a weapon.

      Those that are, you can’t legally carry, open or concealed. Post office, government buildings, schools, and so on.

      Carrying a weapon, open or concealed is a right, people understanding this is why we keep having more and more states go constitutional carry.

      No need to go soft now. Chamberlain showed what happened when he used appeasement to try to stop those wanting total power and control. It just emboldens them.

      Make no mistake, those denying us our natural and G-d given rights are tyrants. Giving them our right arm in the hope they will allow us to keep our left will simply leave them hungry for more.

      • ThomasR,

        Ing was stating the practical reality of open carry in many regions of the nation: carry openly into an establishment and an agent of that establishment will ask you to leave in many cases.

        Michigan’s list of “pistol free zones” — where the only people who can carry without running afoul of law are people who have concealed carry licenses and carry openly only — includes the likes of hospitals, bars, large entertainment complexes, sports arenas, casinos, churches, day care, schools and college dorms/classrooms. If you carry openly into any of those locations, you are virtually guaranteed to have an agent of that establishment tell you to leave.

        Rescinding the legal sanctions for concealed carry at those establishments would enable people to carry concealed at most/all of them without an agent of the establishment telling them to leave. Thus, from that standpoint, it would be a definite gain.

        • We need to see normalizing OC as a protracted and incremental process.

          Because NM is a low population State in a remote location, the extent of OC there matters as little as it matters in AK. AZ is a higher population State in a remote location; it matters just a little more. TX might make a big impact IF and ONLY-IF OC is routinely practiced in the major metropolitan areas. Businessmen and tourists will come-and-go to these precincts and observe OC with no blood-in-the-streets. They will return to their homes and remark to that effect. Hopefully, that will spill-over to OK and OC will become commonplace there.

          I’m not saying that 30% or 20% or 10% of the adults will be observed OCing; just that 2% do so and it becomes unremarkable to see a couple of people OCing on most outings to the public square.

          By slow and careful introduction in the OC-legal States throughout the other regions, OC will become normalized.

          We should not imagine that rapid popularization of OC throughout the US will suddenly achieve some great goal such as Constitutional Carry nation wide. That’s the wrong way to think about it (IMO). Instead, what we should be thinking about is that in 10 – 20 years guns in polite society may become as unremarkable as Black people sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworths has become. Once that happens, gun-control will be a political dead letter for a century.

    • OC is apt to be more valuable to the cause of the 2A than it now seems. Things not in front of our noses are hard to recognize as valuable.
      I once thought that CC would – eventually – normalize RKBA. Eventually, everyone would have a couple of acquaintances whom they know to CC. Since these few acquaintances are OK in their minds then CC would become innocent by association. I’m no longer convinced. Gunnies hang out with gunnies; hoplophobes with hoplophobes. Those hoplophobes who know a few gunnies won’t necessarily know that they are gunnies. Even if they know these acquaintances are OK, they won’t believe that every other gun keeper/carrier is OK.
      The ONLY security of ANY right is to NORMALIZE that right. E.g., blasphemy was not – initially – deemed protected speech. It is becoming – gradually – to become protected speech by regular observation in the public square. No-Knock raids would have been perceived as unreasonable at the founding; today, they face no popular backlash. Security against No-Knock has been lost by normalization without objection. It’s really an ugly fact of life, but it’s true. A parchment protection isn’t worth the paper its written on if at least a majority of voters won’t defend it.
      OC – will – eventually – become a major element in normalizing the role of guns in polite company. So long as we closet ourselves in LGSs, ranges and fields guns are out-of-sight/out-of-mind. Guns in civilian hands – in polite company – will come out of the closet when everyone observes a couple of civilians OCing on each outing to the public square.
      The legal battlefield is well prepared. We have plenty of States where OC is nominally legal. We need to find ways – the least objectionable ways – to gradually introduce OC into these jurisdictions. By way of illustration, suppose in the Memorial Day or 4th of July Parade, the American Legion is marching with parade rifles. Behind them is a unit of the Open Carry group for that municipality. How will the hoplophobes make a sharp distinction? The listener says to himself: ‘There is Uncle Bob marching with the American Legion with a rifle on his shoulder; behind him is Cousin Charlie marching with the OC group with a six-gun on his hip. Why is Uncle Bob OK but Cousin Charlie an affront to my delicate sensibilities?’
      If implemented delicately and gradually, OC may give the RKBA the greatest leverage toward normalizing guns as compared to every other technique in our arsenal.

    • “A good incremental step might be to give up open carry as a token to the hoplophobes (it’s already impossible in practical terms, so it’s not much of a loss) in return for concealed-carry legalization.”

      While I am sure you get a lot of hate mail over that, I can agree under one (and only one) circumstance, which is to create a Constitutional Amendment which would easily pass, to enshrine the remaining right uninfringed for the next 200 years. Otherwise, it sounds like you are young, since many of us have already seen that allowing what you are discussing would not be a week old before more restrictive laws were being pressed forward. Clinton’s AWB was CONSTANTLY being peppered with proposed amendments, additions, modifications, even as it was expiring. Many laws, during my lifetime, have been proposed as the be-all to end-all, this will solve all our problems, and the day after the law was signed, some jackass finally admits that it was but a “start”, and by itself will have no effect on crime whatsoever. Banning OC by law abiding citizens will have no effect on crime whatsoever, therefore we and the NRA should continue to insist that it would have no effect on crime whatsoever, not somehow “accept” it, except as a part of an Amendment, in order to direct proper fashion, and realizing that it will not affect crime. Requiring men to wear hats outdoors might be a nice addition, too, and that would also have no effect on crime.

  5. Here’s a simple analogy I thought of just now:

    Let’s take a football game as an example. You never give up the chance to move the line of scrimmage closer to the opponent’s endzone, simply because you can’t go there in one big play.

    • Incrementalism in the gun rights restoration plan is like shooting the home invader in the leg (incremental) and not the chest w 2 (shall not be infringed) because he has a machete (a token right offered back) and not a gun. Then he whacks off your whole family’s heads! IMHO incrementalists are secretly afraid of real success, constitutional carry.

      • IMHO incrementalists are secretly afraid of real success, constitutional carry.

        I believe that you are correct in large part. I’ve noticed that a high number of incrementalists do express concern over things like carry without mandated training, background checks, former felons, etc. Not all, mind you, fit that correlation but I think a high number do. I also believe that if you look at other areas of individual Liberty, they might fear, or at least be greatly concerned by, the notion of real individual freedom. Another subset of that group tends to be agents of government (law enforcement, etc), attorneys, and politicians. It’s good for their pocketbook, job security, and (sometimes) egos to have a complicated RKBA that is compromised.

        • No doubt there are incrementalists who harbor some hoplophobic reservations. It’s easy enough for a gunny with some training to think that at least some training is a remarkably good idea that SHOULD be mandated. I don’t agree that such sentiments out to be confronted by an argument that: ‘You don’t believe in liberty’. Remember, these incrementalists are our allies, not our targets.

          Our targets are the uncommitted voters and the gun-control-sympathizers. (Not the strident Antis who won’t ever be converted with any amount of reasoning.) We need to move the uncommitted/sympathetic in our audience; and, we need to do that in any way that succeeds.

          The problem with absolute-ism is that it is a pretty swift path to failure. As soon as the listener concludes that our argument is universally extremist he turns-us-off.

          Suppose we are debating in a Won’t-Issue jurisdiction. The objective shouldn’t be to get them to move to Constitutional-Carry in one fell swoop. Instead, our objection should be to wear-down the audience’s conviction that Won’t-Issue is necessarily the ‘right’ idea. It’s much easier to attack the listener’s confidence in the wisdom of Won’t-Issue chip by chip.

          Suppose training is one of the issues in the mind of the listener. He thinks that the elite few who are given permits in this Won’t-issue jurisdiction imagines that these few are well-trained. Get the facts on how little training armed curriers, judges, prosecutors, and political cronies are required to have. That bursts the illusion. Get the facts on the experiences of Shall-Issue States with high/medium/low/zero training requirements; they are not statistical distinguishable. List the States that have dropped the training requirements they had in the past. Explain why gun owners get training voluntarily.

    • I might be able to relate to that analogy if the football game was being played under rules that both teams had to follow and was being honestly officiated. What we have now with the 2A is one team following the rules and the other is allowed to grossly reinterpret and violate them. The team following the rules is the one being asked to be understanding and compromising about the other teams need to cheat. Their ability to cheat is required for there to even be a game.

      • “if the . . . game was being played under rules that both teams had to follow and was being honestly officiated.”

        The “game” is a political game that is played under rules that are intuitive and are officiated in the court of public opinion. It’s rough-and-tumble in a way that makes hockey look like child’s play. Each culture has its own rules. Two contrasting examples will illustrate the truth of this fact.

        In Germany the law-is-the-law and the law will-be-obeyed. If guns are to be registered, then they were registered. When guns were to be confiscated, then they were confiscated. When Jews and other undesirables were loaded into box-cars they were loaded.

        In America the Constitution and the Constitution will-be-obeyed unless-and-until it is amended. The 2A guarantees the RKBA. Arms will be kept and will be born to secure a free state. These are aspects of American culture that have not changed for centuries. No other cultural value – not even “majority rules” – can supersede these cultural norms.

        Sovereignty vests in the People of America; 300 million citizens; 300 million arms. Game on!

        These sobering cultural and iron laws are intuitively understood – or will become understood – by the American voter. The Pew poll reflects this gradual awakening in charting the percentages of respondents valuing gun-control vs. gun-rights.

        No one wants a second civil war; least of all, those of us who best understand the consequences. It simply remains for us to remind our fellow voters of our commitment to our Constitutional form of government.

        • I was admittedly focused on the ideal rather than the unfortunate reality. My main point was that the football analogy is lacking. The game you described is definitely different. The provided assertion about football isn’t even absolutely true and if anything I find it provides plenty of argument in opposition to the incremental approach. I am not personally against all incremental efforts but I don’t think every one of them is a positive step.

        • “I am not personally against all incremental efforts but I don’t think every one of them is a positive step.”

          Therein lies the art of the deal. Not all of us are cut-out to negotiate smart deals. Politicians, particularly those who rise to Congress, must be astute deal-makers to survive and build seniority. That’s the way the game is played.

          There are two strategies that we can easily reason are sure-loosers.

          The first to make no deal whatsoever. Once one has adopted such a strategy he forecloses the possibility of giving up something of little-to-no value in order to gain something else of far greater value. This no-deal-maker must somehow gather an ever greater constituency of support so that eventually – he hopes – he will be in a position of domination where he calls the tune alone. What can he offer his constituents in the mean time? Patience, for one day we shall prevail and will have our way. Such a politician may be unable to grow his constituents to ever be in the dominant position.

          The second is to make bad deals; to consider it imperative to make a deal – any deal – so as to be able to claim a victory; yet, to have given up so much ground that he is apt to loose eventually.

          It takes an astute bargainer to figure out what would be the better deal. As an illustration, the Brady bill called for a waiting period. NRA pushed through the NICS system. Some today claim that the NRA’s NICS system forever conceded the point that background-checks are acceptable and useful. On the other hand, suppose NRA had not pushed NICS as an alternative to waiting periods? Some would have then claimed that we PotG conceded that waiting periods were acceptable and useful. Moreover, the gun controllers would probably have followed their waiting period with a system of national background checks because local police department checks had failed. We might have been stuck with both waiting periods (for cooling-off) and a NICS-like system. We can’t know for sure one way or the other; but, it might be that NRA made the right trade of NICS over waiting periods.

          The one think I think we can be confident about is that the 2A will be most secure when a super-majority of voters are convinced that an armed citizenry is, on balance, a very good idea. That is a lofty ambition – we need to be clear about this. To achieve this ambitious goal we need to choose our fights. It’s a lot easier to fight for restoring vets’ 2A rights compared to any fight to restore the 2A rights of felons who complete their sentences. It will be a lot easier to get Congress to impose National Reciprocity than to convert all the last Won’t-Issue jurisdictions directly to Constitutional Carry.

          It will be far more important to achieve 2A restoration for vets vs. felons. Far more important to bring Right-to-Carry to the Won’t-Issue jurisdictions than to flip a Shall-Issue State to Constitutional Carry. We PotG have to figure out what our priorities should be and how to achieve them. Ideological purity isn’t really high on my list.

    • Cute analogy. However, we aren’t on a level playing field nor playing by the same rules as our adversaries. Besides, even if we punt and play a field position game, we may still lose. I would rather take my football an go home than entertain the antis in a rigged match. We don’t have to cave. We just need to be more convincing.

  6. Eh… Read a book. Incremental-ism is how Rights are lost. They only ever get restored in big, ugly, bloody chunks.

    It’s not about being right or wrong, any more than it’s about whether liberals are right or wrong.

    It’s about reality. You can get in sync with it, or not. One way or another, you WILL obey reality. Either by getting in line with it, or succumbing to it…

    Reality is that incremental-ism doesn’t get Rights back. It’s not an argument. It’s reality. Get in line with reality and work accordingly, or succumb to defeat for operating in denial or reality… Consequence.

    It’s not an argument. You can operate in denial of gravity and jump off the roof, but guess what the consequences are…

    • Yep. IMHO, it’s not possible to completely restore individual Liberty incrementally. In the long game, beyond the lifespan of a generation, government wins that game every time.

      I don’t have a big problem with incrementalists as long as I can convince myself that they are setting the ball for the big play in my own lifetime. If they think Liberty will win by just setting the ball each time then they are sadly mistaken. Also, if restoration isn’t intended to happen in my lifetime then what was the point (from my personal perspective)? I will have passed on and been denied the exercise of my rights forever. When I was younger, I fought for the future of my children. Now, my children are old enough to fight for themselves and I fight for myself.

    • Look at the history of the resurrection of Right-to-Carry over the past 25 years. Did it occur in one year’s legislative sessions – all at once? Or, did it occur one or two States every year or two?

      Look at the history of the resurrection of civil rights for Blacks. There was a civil war; followed by the Reconstruction era, a sort of war in itself. That era was followed by the Post-Reconstruction era. Then a long struggle.

      Gradually, lynching tapered off. Some gains were made during the two World Wars, then Korea. The Civil Rights era unfolded during the 1950s and 1960s. Can we say that civil rights for blacks were suddenly achieved in one cataclysmic event?

      While it IS true that some rights are restored by short-lived cataclysmic events; others were achieved over a much longer period of incremental gains that become consolidated in public sentiment and spur further incremental gains. We’ve been winning in the latter mode; there is no compelling need to imagine that a Great Leap Forward next week is the ONLY solution to further progress.

      We can always remind our Progressive/Liberal opponents of their oft-quoted mentor, Mao Tse Tung: “Political power emirates from the muzzle of a gun.” The simple admonition to meditate on the Thoughts of Mao ought to lead to intellectual enlightenment – eventually.

  7. Aim for everything. Don’t start out pragmatic, the enemy never does. I’ve said it before…

    The Enemy of freedom has armies of sh!tsta!n idiots who will vote to shut off gravity because it’s a republican conspiracy to keep up all buying cars and oil, when if we would just shut off gravity, we could all flap our arms and fly around everywhere. These armies of idiots are fueled by hate over something that is simply reality, but they frame it like a horrible, evil conspiracy because they hate reality just as much as someone who suggests operating within reality… The know no limits. There’s nothing they won’t try to take. They want to take things that aren’t even real and don’t exist, and settle for anything they can get.

    This moves the goalposts for them. When they ‘settle’ they take everything. Their “half-way compromise” mark is the limits of reality.

    We, on the other hand, actually have brains. We don’t bother trying to chase unreal things. We don’t set-up frames of hate around reality simply because we are detached from it. We’re not. So, we have realistic goals. When we compromise, we end up with a whole lot less than they do when they compromise.

    You have to aim for impossible fairy tales and then settle for reality, because that’s what the enemy is doing. When we set out to compromise or be pragmatic, we actually do give things up. When they compromise, they “give up” things that were never real in the first place, so they really don’t give up anything. This is why we lose. We must be unwavering in the face of an enemy that operates like this or we generate the very incremental loss we complain about.

    • A thief breaks into your home and takes your television. You track down the thief and he is wanting to loan you your television once a month under certain conditions about how you can watch it and what you can watch. The statist is the thief. Don’t bargain with him for loan of part of what was wholly already your own in the first place. Don’t negotiate with a thief.

  8. Another really good article, RF! 🙂

    “I think that to assure all of our rights, I think the best thing to do is concealed carry,”

    What other rights is he talking about assuring? Oh, yeah, that fictitious “right” not to “feel” a certain way. *eye roll*

  9. I favor unfettered constitutional carry — openly or concealed. I only see two ways to get there:
    (1) Just do it and back up our actions with force (e.g. small scale war against enforcement authorities who enforce unconstitutional laws).
    (2) Roll back laws in the legislatures.

    I am sure that doing it with force would work. I also believe that rolling back laws can work although it is slower than using force.

    If we want to be successful rolling back laws in the legislatures, we have to understand the simple realities of people’s brains. Maintaining the status quo (no change) is the default choice for everyone. The greater the magnitude of a proposed change, the greater the assurance of positive results people want before they support the change. This is why many people do not support a wholesale repeal of firearm laws — it is too large a change without much assurance that the change will be good. That is also why it took decades to enact all of the laws — because people would have resisted them if all of them were suddenly proposed to take effect all at once.

    That being the case, I believe our guaranteed path to repeal of firearm laws is incremental. Voters can support a tiny change based on previous experience and a minimal assurance of a positive outcome. Once that change takes effect and people see that the outcome was positive, they will be ready to consider the next improvement. And so on. In other words we should not perfect be the enemy of good.

    I cannot believe I said all of that … but there it is.

    • You are correct.
      The Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s is instructive. Read any of the several books on the topic. I recommend in particular Negros and the Gun; the Black Tradition of Arms.

      Peaceful protest including non-violent civil disobedience gradually led to the recognition of rights for Blacks. Behind that overt political pressure was a not-altoghether-implicit presence of arms and the willingness of the Deacons for Defense and Justice to use those arms in self-defense.

    • I want to add another dimension to this: the advancements that we achieve with incrementalism will increase in magnitude over time. Why? Our side gains credibility with each step that demonstrates a positive outcome. As we gain credibility, we can propose successively larger steps and our assurances of a positive outcome are greater because of our ever increasing credibility. Thus voters are more likely to support the proposed change.

      Look at the progression of concealed and/or open carry laws in a constitutional carry state …
      Initially (0): carry in public was “illegal”.
      Round (1): carry license with background check and extensive training.
      Round (2): carry license with background check and reduced training.
      Round (3): carry license with background check.
      Round (4): carry without any license necessary.

      At each step we rolled back restrictions and after that the sky didn’t fall. So we proposed and rolled back another restriction and the sky didn’t fall. And so on. Each time we gained credibility and asked to repeal even farther reaching restrictions. And now we have, what, six states in the U.S. with constitutional carry starting from just one state in 1985?

      Let’s keep the momentum going!

      • Excellent point. I’m pleasantly surprised with the accelerating acceptance of Constitutional Carry. Moreover, I think we have 2 States now (LA, MO) that have amended their constitutions to mandate strict scrutiny on RKBA.

        NRA-ILA continuously reports on a wide variety of bills presented to State legislatures for consideration. These bills typically go into 2 committees where they are debated and amended; they either die and are resurrected or they are sent to their respective chambers where they are debated and amended. They either die and are resurrected or they are sent to the governors. They are either vetoed and resurrected or passed. Some of them get passed.

        The longer these processes stretch-out the more publicity PotG get for the RKBA. Stories about all these local machinations are important LOCAL news that the LOCAL MSM MUST cover.

        What happens in the MO legislature stays in MO insofar as MSNBC is concerned. If its about guns then it is by definition NOT-news to the national MSM. Conversely, if LOCAL media could only cover stories that appear in the NYTimes then they would cease to serve any purpose to their local readers. The LOCAL media needs to cover the State legislative debates over the RKBA.

        What do local readers learn? They learn a lot of time is being invested in debate over fine points of gun-control. Law abiding gun keepers and bearers are not contributing to blood-in-the-streets. Their elected representatives are relaxing previous gun-control laws. Rinse and repeat.

        Eventually, local readers will tell their legislators to just get on with the program of rolling-back pointless gun-control laws.

    • @uncommon_sense: I rarely disagree with your comments and I, at one time long ago, would’ve agreed with this one. However, I perceive a couple of problems with the approach. One problem is that by going the incremental route, precedents are set that the People will allow infringement and the majority are correct in encouraging infringement on the individual right to keep and bear arms. I just read a pretty good paper last night that was written by a law student (or attorney?) which used the historical record to demonstrate that popular opinion was never supposed to be able to override the RKBA/2A. If the People were to hit back hard on this issue and be unmovable about it, future generations wouldn’t be as likely to see this issue until way into the future. By rolling back infringements piecemeal, we concede that government had the authority to infringe in the first place. Another problem is that indoctrination through the compulsory public education system, higher learning, media, etc the People won’t ever understand the true RKBA. So, if we aren’t successful in this generation or the next at the absolute most, exercise of the right will forever be watered down. Also, if given enough time, I suppose anything could happen (EVENTUALLY the RKBA might be recognized after 1,000 years). But, if I am denied my right in my own lifetime, how is that just? The right is mine and I intend to exercise it while I’m here. The founders of this nation could’ve waited around a few generations and probably solved their issues with the Crown. They didn’t because they knew that Liberty delayed was Liberty denied. These infringements on the right to keep and bear arms will never end in this nation until people stand up and refuse; if it leads to bloodshed then so be it.

      When I read through the Declaration of Independence, I am reminded that they fought a revolution for far less than what we tolerate today.

      • The difficulty here is that faced by “the army of 1”. If the supporters of the 2A are too few they will be overcome too easily. If the strident supporters are fewer still these will be overcome immediately.

        Consider, by analogy, the plight of Blacks prior to the Civil Rights era of the 1950s/1960s. They had long been lynched with impunity. If any interest group faced a threat so imperative certainly Blacks had just cause. Why did they not arise in mass in arms? One possible answer was that – constituting just 12% of the population – they could not have prevailed by such means.

        Civil Rights for Blacks took a protracted course of incremental change. In the 60’s the forces for a new consciousness reached a crescendo. Something like that is unfolding for the 2A.

        Whether the 2A reaches the same level of respect as the 1A within your or my lifetime is less important than that it reaches that goal within our children’s lifetime and is sustained through those of our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Lots of Blacks were lynched over the decades from Post-Reconstruction through 1969. Before this struggle, it took 75 years and a horrible civil war to end slavery. It is a shame on our nation’s history that the People did not awaken to the value of human rights of these people. We need not be surprised that Americans today are slow to recognize the importance of RKBA.

      • John in Ohio,

        You bring up good points as well.

        If the judges in our courts were honorable, we could wipe away all of these unconstitutional firearm laws in a matter of months. Unfortunately, as you probably already know, many of our judges are not honorable … hence the protracted, convoluted, and often unsuccessful lawsuits. Since we cannot depend on the courts to do their duty and eliminate these unconstitutional laws in one fell swoop as you described, our only remaining options are to gain popular support to change the laws or use force.

        I wholeheartedly understand and agree with your sentiment that our courts, legislatures, and enforcers are committing grievous wrongs for denying our liberty. How to respond … that is the question.

        • Some have chosen a response but it’s tactically unfeasible at the present time. I am confident that the situation related to the totality of individual Liberty will continue to slide down the slope at an ever increasing pace. I focus on one issue over all others; RKBA. IMHO, arms are going to be needful, indispensable things either in this generation or the one right after. Grab the tail of the bull. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

  10. Cops who wish they could do something but don’t know what to do are funny:
    –how long can that lady cop stare at those IDs for? Is there a cop trick where the more you stare at an ID the more likely they are to find some kind of damning information? “Oh I didn’t see that piece of information on here the first three times I looked. These state IDs are tricky…”
    –And then there is the ‘bullying police presence’ drill: If five of us stand in a circle around this guy maybe we’ll figure out what he did wrong so we can put him jail…Hey lady cop did that ID fess up yet? No? Keep staring, we’ll ask him some more retarded questions. He seems to know his rights and keeps saying all this mumbo jumbo we don’t want to hear. Can we shoot him yet? I know he’s law abiding and there are actual crimes happening blocks away but I think we need some back up here – he’s being one of those belligerent ‘I know my rights’ types.

    • Pfft.

      If I lived in Michigan I’d take every opportunity to visit a government school while sporting a P226 in one of those I-Look-Like-A-Total-Jerkoff thigh holsters.

      Just because I could.

  11. No you don’t understand. We’re just turning around the anti’s tactics. Start off with unlicensed open carry, and then when you ‘settle for’ licensed concealed carry they think you’re being reasonable and giving something up when all you’re doing is winning bit by bit.


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