In part one of this discussion, I laid out my concern that the second amendment right as we currently understand it may not be as guaranteed as we would like. Boy, did I get my head nearly shot off. I really appreciate the discussion and the “gentle” suggestions as to where I may be off the reservation. That said, please don’t misunderstand my intentions. All I was trying to illustrate (apparently not as clearly as it sounded in my head) was that the court system on which we as gun owners have somewhat relied upon is a fragile one at best and our best hope is to drive for clearer laws from our congress critters and their local equivalents. To do this, we need to get more of our fellow citizens on our side and combat the nonsense spewed by the gun grabbers. . .
So, as the fount of all wisdom, (sarcasm heavily implied here), what do I suggest to help counter the inanity of the gun grabber lobby? Well, put simply, make more people gun owners. Or at least make others as sympathetic to gun ownership as possible. Pro-gun positions are on the rise across the country and we need to encourage these movements, but we have to be careful not to be too heavy handed. Remember that our opponents want to cast every one of as as a bunch of semi-psychotic killers in waiting, so we need to show our fellow citizens that nothing can be further from the truth.
I know that I’m going to get harpooned here (but if you saw me on a beach, you would think that is a likely possibility anyway, so I’m probably not taking that big a risk after all), but I would like to humbly suggest that open carry, unless you are a uniformed LEO, may not be helpful to our cause. It’s been postulated here, that the average person does not notice people carrying guns, but I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve been with non-gun owners and they have clearly identified people they have seen with guns strapped to their hips. Before I became one of the Armed Intelligentsia myself, I was keenly aware of exposed firearms in my vicinity, so while I’m sure that some people will indeed ignore them, others may not.
Add to this the fact that I have never seen a person in a business suit or similar garb open carrying. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen – I’ve just never seen it. Which makes me wonder if we could convince Prada or Burberry to make a holster rig, but I digress.
Most of the people I have seen more generally fit the profile of that guy you see on the news who went nuts and took out a McDonald’s with an assault rifle. Now, just because a person looks like Grizzly Adams does not make him a nutjob-in-waiting, but we live in an image obsessed world and unfortunately, many of our fellow sheep (I mean citizens) will have negative associations with people who carry weapons openly. This, in turn, has the potential to evolve into one of those Helen Lovejoy “think of the children” moments and we have lost a potential ally in the fight against unreasonable gun laws.
I understand that if you don’t live in a place with reasonable concealed carry laws, then open carry might be your only option. Here in New Hampshire however, we are fortunate to be a “shall issue” state, and they practically hand you a concealed weapons license when you move here, so there is absolutely no reason that anyone who should be allowed to carry a gun can’t get a permit to carry one concealed. And if for some reason you can’t get a permit, you probably shouldn’t be carrying a gun (just sayin’).
Open Carry by sketchy looking individuals gets the sheep upset. When the sheep get upset, they petition the shepherd to change the laws and we get stuck with more, rather than less restrictive rules.
The best way to convert non-gun people to our cause is to show them that we are not a bunch of armed lunatics. Let’s face it, those guys from the Michigan Militia who let Michael Moore film them in “Bowling for Columbine” did not do us any favors. While I’m sure many of those folks are just normal people, they let Moore twist them into something they were not and added more ammunition to the arsenals of the anti-gun lobby.
We have to learn from their mistakes and not allow ourselves to be turned into caricatures. Legal gun owners are responsible citizens, not a nutcases. The more our fellow citizens realize that, the better the climate is going to become for gun owners everywhere. Remember that the United States is rather unique in the world when it comes to the personal ownership and carrying of firearms.
As I’ve said before, it will not take much to move the judiciary from pro-gun to anti-gun. Some would say it is likely to happen, possibly as soon as President Obama’s next term. So we need to be actively working working the other side of the street and getting more politicians who will support pro-gun laws. The best way to do that is to create more pro-gun voters.
It’s important not to take your Second Amendment rights for granted, but it’s equally important to not assume that the Second Amendment is an unambiguous guarantee that you will never lose your right to gun ownership. Consider the 1960’s when Brown vs. Board of Education overturned southern public school segregation laws. Sure, the southern politicians and people disagreed, but when the National Guard came in to enforce the law, people ultimately had no choice but to fall into line.
Please don’t post comments like “they’ll have to pry my guns from my cold dead hands” or any of that dreck. The fact is that unless you are former special forces, any armed conflict with the Government will end badly for you. No matter how good you think you are, most of us are just part-time gun guys (or gals). Uncle Sam has seriously scary people he can call on to deal with threats and when threatened, he is not too concerned about legal niceties. Just ask David Koresh or Osama Bin Laden.
The point is that convincing more of our fellow citizens to support pro-gun positions is our best course of action and the best way to do it is the soft, gentle approach, not the in-your-face one. So by all means, please do show up at Starbucks this month with your $2 bill. Just don’t have a .45 strapped to your hip or your AR-15 slung over your shoulder when you do it. Just because you can do something does not mean that you should.
Okay, my flame suit’s on. Let me have it.