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“The intent was to raise awareness of the legal right of Californians to carry unloaded rifles and shotguns in public,” reports. Well, the media did cover it. That counts for something right? “The venue was a corner of the parking lot of Bayfair Center. And while mall management roped off 165 spaces to accommodate the rally, no more than 30 opponents of gun-control laws stopped by the midday event.” So was the San Leandro long gun open carry rally a good idea or not? I’m thinking . . . not. The main problem? This is not the normalization you’re looking for . . .

Rallies are, by definition, a group of people getting together to get laid. No wait. That’s Occupy Wall Street. In general, rallies are a show of force. In this case, a show of force to defend the right to use force as a forceful way to force the media to take notice of those who believe the Second Amendment grants them the right to keep and bear arms, period. But it’s scary. And not in a good way.

Good scary: when someone who doesn’t like/hates guns sees “a” gun on “a” civilian, freaks a bit and then, eventually, calms down. The more “normal” the open carrier appears  (and no I don’t necessarily mean white), the more innocuously the gun owner goes about their business, the faster the non-gun carrier loses their adrenal response. Wash, rinse, repeat, desensitize. Done.

Bad scary: flag-waving groups of “normal” gun owners (and yes I do mean white) gathered in a public place with “assault rifles” saying stuff like “I’m not here trying to intimidate people. Our government is trying to make life difficult, and this is the only option [for self-protection].” Note to Adnan Shahab: if you don’t want to intimidate someone don’t use the word “intimidate.” And most Californians consider SPF15 adequate person protection.

Now that AB 144 has specifically banned unloaded open carry handguns in the Golden State (as of January 1), California’s gun rights advocates are in a gun-free pickle. Long gun loophole aside, defending and extending gun rights by “normalizing” firearms. They’ll have to lobby for more liberalized concealed carry, attempt to move the cultural needle covertly and then maybe, if they can be bothered, move to open carry.

Good luck with that. I reckon what Joe Matafome calls COMMIEFORNIA is a lost cause. Nothing much is going to happen in terms of gun rights  unless and until Uncle Sam’s Supreme Court kicks CA’s legislative ass. Meanwhile, the open carry movement needs to focus on motivating its base. It should start by getting people in non-gun aversive states with open carry rights to carry openly. (No small project that.) Then encourage open carry in “borderline” states.

As a Rhode Islander, I first encountered open carry in Atlanta Georgia. A black gas station owner in a bad part of town had a Smith & Wesson 686 strapped to his hip. It was a bit . . . jarring. But it made perfect sense. Still does. If you agree that normalization is the key to changing entrenched gun-phobia and, thus, assuring our rights, do me a favor. Open carry at home now, rally never. The longest journey and all that.

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  1. Open carry at home

    I’ve been wondering for quite awhile whether at home, people a) carry on their person, b) leave loaded guns strategically placed in various spots around the home, c) both a and b, or d) neither.

    Since the true answer is probably d, I wonder what would be the preferred choice from only a or b?

  2. c
    Outside I always carry. When I come in and plan to go out later, it stays on me. Once my day is done, eventually it comes off. We always have at least two guns (and two dogs) available inside.

  3. These events are born of frustration – mostly a frustration of not being heard.

    The organizations that claim ownership for armed self-defense rights in California – The Calguns Foundation and The California Pistol and Rifle Association – are insular, secretive and, on occasion, openly hostile towards outsiders. Politicians of either party are at best indifferent. And government officials in California are committed to making the entire state one huge “gun free zone.”

    Of course parading around a mall parking lot with shotguns and ARs won’t “normalize” the population to guns. But those organizations that represent themselves as “protect[ing] the rights of individuals to acquire, own, and lawfully use firearms in California” haven’t had many successes recently, either. Yet when challenged on their actions, at least the protestors admit to the futility of their actions. The gun rights organizations simply tell everyone to shut up – and send more money.

    • I would note that the rally was organized by the Responsible Citizens of California (RCC) which is aligned with the CalGuns Foundation.

      CalGuns and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) have a failed shall-issue CCW case seeking a hearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in which the attorney has repeatedly argued (as recently as last Tuesday) that California may ban Open Carry.

      CalGuns wants to ban Open Carry in California and its BFF the RCC organizes this rally. Do the math.

  4. With respect to the above poster, speaking as a CA resident, who has looked into CCW, and done quite a bit of research, on line and talking to local trainers, and the clerks at the issuing agency,

    I dont find Calguns secretive or hostile – a bit of reading of forums will show the opposite. In fact you will find the wise heads there suggest open carry long guns might not be smart, politically and PR-wise, BUT acknowledge its a big tent, and others have the right to their opinion.

    They also educate, and inform, and fund legal efforts to reform the state’s shall issue laws, by step by step chalking up the wins for steady progress to helping more Sheriffs rationalize their carry issue policies.

    And thanks to smart, strategic progress, including funding cases with the legal strategy to build the case law that will lead to Federal decisions like Heller, appear to be slowly building the framework, that will properly balance out the errors of the well-meaning, but just wrong Democratic-controlled legislative branche’s laws.

    Its a step by step process, that a thoughtful reader will appreciate takes time, and again, if you can read, you can tell has been proven to work.

    Maligning entire groups and throwing one’s hands up in frustration, is perhaps satisfying to a less fully developed ego,
    but that approach is proven not to work, on the harder problems…
    and only plays into the aims of the gun-control lobby.


      The CalGuns chairman and board member of the NRA state organization, CRPA, is the loudest opponent of Open Carry in the entire state.

      CalGuns and the SAF have a lawsuit on appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of appeals in which its attorney (Alan Gura) has repeatedly told the court that California may ban openly carried firearms.

      The NRA/CRPA lawyer, in a separate lawsuit (also on appeal) has “warned” the 9th that if they do not make California a “shall-issue” CCW state then the laws prohibiting Loaded Open Carry and Gun Free School Zones will be overturned.

      The NRA/CRPA lawyer, Chuck Michel, says that this would be “drastic” if it happens.

      There will be only one lawsuit seeking to restore Loaded Open Carry to California – Mine. It will be filed on the 220th Anniversary of the Second Amendment, December 15th, 2011 ->

  5. Well, I OC in all places where it’s legal. The nice thing, I don’t live in California, I live in Michigan, so I can OC a LOADED handgun. The other nice thing, I also have a concealed pistol license, so I can OC in my car, and in many places where I couldn’t without the CPL.

    And honestly, with California’s gun laws, if I lived there now, I’ve be looking to move, REAL SOON.

  6. Rallies make people look like wackos. You could have a rally for better cup cakes and it would look like a bunch of food fixated wackos. Tea Party rallies, Occupy Wall Street, you name it … rallies = wackos. It does not matter if the issue is valid, timely, or critical to our society – it really doesn’t – because groups gathering to protest/make a statement rarely come off as a group of sound, clear thinking citizens.

  7. What seems to have escaped the author and the opponents of Open Carry is that by passing this law, California has made it easier to restore Loaded Open Carry to California. It is no longer necessary to prove that an unloaded handgun presents a “substantial burden” under the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals framework as openly carrying a handgun, loaded or unloaded, is no longer legal.

    The California legislature has created a mirror image of the Heller case. There are those of us who are raising funds for a Federal injunction against California’s 1967 ban on Loaded Open Carry ->


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