The Open Carry Debate

I see many critical of the Californian open-carry movement and quite a bit of heated discussion on the subject.   (See some great discussion over at the PAGunblog.com). I, personally,  am of the opinion that California has pushed to the point where we need vocal and disruptive action, and perhaps even civil disobedience. 

People forget that there was a time not so long ago where in many places you could not carry a firearm.  Ironically, I grew up in San Diego in the 80’s where you could actually carry (if done openly). 

What are Californians to do?  It’s not like the activity is eroding their rights. Their rights have been continually eroded. (Carry bans, ammo purchasing limits, etc, etc, etc.)

I believe that Americans in California have four options:

1. Give up their rights (Bad, bad, bad)

2. Peacefully protest and object through traditional channels (fairly ineffective but there is some hope, Federal court system, etc).

3. Civil Disobedience (Breaking of laws you feel are immoral.  Carries many consequences, but sometimes we have to bear the consequences for change. If not for civil disobedience we might still have segregation.)

 Recently, I even considered the possibility that certain rifles and handguns might be able to be carried despite the bans on carry – using BATFE’s own regulations.  Take the Sig P250, which receives the serial numbering is an internal trigger component.  That is the part that is OFFICIALLY the gun.  An AR15 has the serial # on the lower, this allows you to buy uppers without the need for an FFL transfer. So what happens if an individual carries a pistol or a rifle but leaves the serial # portion at home. It would seem to me that they would not legally be carrying a firearm.  And perhaps this is the next protest we should expect to see in California. 

4. Armed Opposition (This is the last route we want to take. And I believe that while things like Open Carry, etc stir up the pot.  That such activism is indeed necessary. But the truth is, there is a point, and may we never reach it again, in which the rights are so infringed that the only choice is armed opposition.)

There was a time when we practically lost carry in much of America.  We could have easily found ourselves a disarmed nation akin to Great Britain.

Realize, we could very easily be having this same debate regarding “The need to carry, versus not having the need to carry” OR the “need to own a firearm versus not having the need to own a firearm”.

There are many people who feel as opposed to firearm ownership in general, as feel opposed to open-carry. 

And let’s be brutally honest here. Open carry is the AR debate ALL over again.  Let’s rewind to the 80’s and 90’s. “Why no one needs more than 10 rounds and no one needs an military style weapon.”

How much was the gun community split on that? How many top dogs in the industry split on that or even came out on that end? Be it Bill Ruger or Jim Zumbo?

Imagine if the gun community came out and said “No one buy AR15’s or even Mini14s. We know they’re just semi-auto rifles. But well, their presence and ownership might get all semi-autos or even all firearms banned.”  Where would we be today? Would the AR15 be the #1 selling rifle platform?  I don’t think so…

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My position, is if you’re going to open-carry. Be respectful. Be polite. Respect private property.  Be a Norman Rockwell Boy Scout. 

For safety considerations I tend to advocate “open carry” only when two or more gun owners are out and about.  Less you present yourself as a target.

As for activism, I believe open-carry is better in a group activism and when that activism has cleared all hurdles ahead of time. By this, I mean – do not go to a restaurant chain and argue it’s a public place blah blah blah.  Rather, approach the management ahead of time in a polite fashion. Receive the okay of the private establishment’s manager. Than proceed…

Guess what, not only will this reduce likelihood of an issue. But it will make for a much better witness as well.
For those who feel open-carry causes no good. I am reminded of an incident at a Costco in recent memory where an individual engaged in concealed carry had his firearm accidentally seen by a passer-by. The Costco was evacuated, the cops called in, and the man in question unwittingly walked out not even realizing he was the concern – he walked out to his death as the cops gunned him down and questioned later. Sure, different actions on the gun owner’s part might have avoided this situation.  But had there not been such an immediate fear on the mere sight of a man carrying a firearm, this and other similar incidents could be avoided.

 

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United We Stand/Divided We Fall

FOX article on the gun movement. One thing that bothers me is that it shows the division we have in our movement. A division that will impede our chances for success. Disappointment in the NRA is NOT reason to stop supporting it. Rather, it’s reason to become more involved.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/19/gun-rights-advocates-open-new/?test=latestnews

The NRA is a strong advocate for the 2nd Amendment. But they’re a political advocacy group. They have to deal with strategies as they relate to politics (ie: not burning bridges).

Sometimes they will not stir the hornets nest if it might get the 2nd Amendment stung. But if the nest is stirred, they will often come on board and aid it’s victory.

People need to realize that the NRA is a political agency that sways politicians. They have a certain amount of capital they can expend on big decisions.

EVERY GUN OWNER should be a member of the NRA. It provides the greatest reflection to our politicians. The so-called 800lb gorilla. (But remember that’s a gorilla in a jungle filled with lions, tigers, hippos, elephants and donkeys.)

The article promotes division. Which is sad. Rather than NOT joining the NRA and being a member of a smaller organization. Do BOTH!

To quote the left “Think Globally. Act Locally”. Much of the push of change needs to come from small local regional organizations. With the NRA focusing on national issues along with the Second Amendment Foundation and others.

But the single largest group to reflect our ideals is the NRA. As such, you should be a member. This shows how large a voting population we are. Furthermore, if you don’t like how something works in the NRA – join, and change it. Be salt….

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A letter to a fellow blogger….(thoughts on division versus multiplying)

Please note the following was a letter/comment posted. But I expressed so much of my views regarding divisions and conflicts within the 2nd Amendment Gun Rights family. That I think it worthy to share with all of you my readers.

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When I was in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, there was a saying…. “Perception is 90% of the truth!”

What that meant, is that how someone perceives something will be the truth in their eyes and how they treat the matter.

Often I feel the pro-gun/pro-2nd Amendment movement divides itself needlessly. To me it’s akin to the Marines and the Army bashing each other, along with the Navy…etc.

For instance, the NRA is not perfect. No one is. Just like there is no perfect church, and if anyone finds one, don’t join it as it’ll cease to be perfect.  Mistakes will be made…

That said, the NRA does a lot of good for the 2nd Amendment. So does GOA and many other organizations.  The NRA is akin to our army. It’s the big force….it may be slow sometimes, full of beaucracy, etc.  GOA might be akin to the marines.  More nimble, a bit more aggressive.

Stupidity sets in when we start tearing each other apart.  Sometimes we need to forgive. Sometimes we need to simply realize that there are different missions related to the same war.  Air Force fighter pilots are great pilots but they’d have done a lousy job landing amphibious assault vehicles on D-day. Hence, that job was filled by Navy and numerous Coast Guardsmen with small boat experience.

Wars are won and lost on two accounts. Firstly, they are lost militarily. And second, they are lost politically. We need the soldiers in our armed forces who can with both battles.  That means some need to be able to handle the politics that is dealing with the outside. While others need to be able to train those fighting on the front.  Both are needed…they should not disdain each other.

We are all akin to officers in the armed forces. We may be in different branches and different roles. But I think we all should act like officers, be gentlemenly.

Yes, sometimes the feathers get ruffled. Sometimes we need to all take a step back, sometimes we need to forgive.  Reconciliation isn’t likely to happen overnight..may take days or it may take years.

Lastly, I think we always need to be mindful of our image. Especially, as it pertains to outsiders (those not members of the pro-gun/2nd Amendment choir).  It can be too easy to provide fodder to the other side. When a pro-gunner mixes in vitriol, hatred, racism, or any other such denigrating activity is has the effect of tarnishing the image as a whole by providing an example to the anti-gunners/disarmament folks to use in portraying us to the masses.

And this is very much akin to religion. One does not convert one of the masses overnight. Rather it’s a prolonged conversion of influence, although it may appear that the individual member of the masses converts to our side overnight. There is usually a hidden trail of influences.

Now I am not sure what happened, or what went on behind the scenes. But I think you have the choice to choose the path that is either noble or ignoble. One can choose to quietly and gentlemanly walk away.  Or one can raise a fuss and try to light a hornets nest.  One is more noble than the other.  And I say this as one who just had to do so on a very personal level this past year. It’s NOT easy….but it’s right.

Often we are so full of pride that we cannot find it in ourselves to do such.  It is hard for Man to apologize when he has made a wrong….it’s even harder for Man to do so when he does not perceive himself to have made any wrong doing.  From personal experience, I have found that apologizing even if I have done no wrong can tremendously affect situations.

On a personal level…I’ll share my feelings. I am not trying to attack you or choose sides or anything of the sort. I am just going to share my personal feelings regarding ***** blog. I read it regularly. I find your blog very informative. It’s a good asset. But there are many times that I feel there is too much vitriole in the postings for my taste.  The information you provide is great, you are great resource. But the delivery sometimes prevents me from being able to pass it around to on-the-fencers.  Take that for whatever it’s worth.  (2 grains of salt adjusted for inflation, give it a few years of this present administration and it might be 2 bags of salt.) *lol*

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As for the NRA versus GOA.  I just became a member of GOA while at a local gun show today. I became a member of the NRA approx. 2 yrs ago.  I am a relatively new gun owner.  But have become fervent in defense of our rights both 2nd and others.

The one thing I dislike about GOA, and that probably delayed my membership a bit. Was that I felt there was too much finger-pointing at the NRA.  It divides and confuses. If you don’t think so, it’s because you’re not new to the gun world. Take it from a newer user of guns. It can become akin to our present political parties that like to blame and point to the failure of each other. Who cares… I don’t ever want to hear from GOA why the NRA is bad or sucks. I just want to hear why GOA is good. What GOA is doing. Anytime someone is wasting words trashing the NRA or another. They are wasting words that could have been spent furthering our cause.

GOA should really take the mantle. The NRA is the Army, and we’re the Marines.  Sometimes a smaller more mobile unit is required.

Sincerely,
Jason at the N.U.G.U.N. Blog