NRA pro-tip: In-your-face open carry is probably a bad idea, folks

posted at 12:41 pm on June 2, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

We haven’t written much about the open-carry protests in Texas, in which pro-gun activists carried rifles into retail establishments in order to make a point about gun rights in one of the most pro-gun states in the union. The effort ended up backfiring, as two retailers — Jack In The Box and Chipotle’s — ended up having to make explicit rules banning firearms from their establishments. Last Friday, the NRA appealed to common sense in asking activists to ool-it-kay with the arry-kay and quit frightening people who might otherwise be sympathetic to the cause:

The second example comes to us from the Lone Star State, which is second to none for its robust gun culture.  We applaud Texans for that, but a small number have recently crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness.

Now we love AR-15s and AKs as much as anybody, and we know that these sorts of semiautomatic carbines are among the most popular, fastest selling firearms in America today.  Texas, independent-minded and liberty-loving place that it is, doesn’t ban the carrying of loaded long guns in public, nor does it require a permit for this activity.  Yet some so-called firearm advocates seem determined to change this.

Recently, demonstrators have been showing up in various public places, including coffee shops and fast food restaurants, openly toting a variety of tactical long guns. Unlicensed open carry of handguns is legal in about half the U.S. states, and it is relatively common and uncontroversial in some places.

Yet while unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms.

Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one’s cause, it can be downright scary.  It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises (more information can be found here and here).  In other words, the freedom and goodwill these businesses had previously extended to gun owners has been curtailed because of the actions of an attention-hungry few who thought only of themselves and not of those who might be affected by their behavior. To state the obvious, that’s counterproductive for the gun owning community.

More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas. Using guns merely to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners.  That’s not the Texas way.  And that’s certainly not the NRA way.

The activist group involved in these protests, Open Carry Texas, isn’t exactly convinced by the argument:

It’s a little unclear exactly what point OCT had in staging these demonstrations at retailers who either supported or at least tolerated firearms on their premises. The protests made them a target for anti-gun activists, and raised their profile to the point where they had little choice but to respond. Whatever one thinks of carry issues, few dispute that private-property owners have at least some legitimate rights in setting conditions for service and access. and these protests made it significantly more difficult for common-sense gun owners to do so in these establishments for no real clear purpose … other than gaining attention.

John Ekdahl warned about this last September at AoSHQ, when a similar demonstration convinced Starbucks to change its policy on access:

Gun rights activists started “Starbucks Appreciation Day“, which encouraged people to open carry in stores where the law allowed. Frankly, I think this is where it started to go off the rails. Gun rights is an issue we’re winning pretty comfortably. The left seeks to paint gun rights supporters as “gun nuts” and nothing helps their case more than pulling stunts like this.

Now tell me, what was the point of that? Any CCW class, or NRA gun safety program you take will relentlessly preach the importance of responsibility. There are few things more irresponsible as a gun owner than bringing a rifle to a business with the express purpose of creating an argument or altercation, all for the glory of your YouTube channel.

Apparently, Starbucks didn’t want to continue to have their stores be ground zero for a political debate. You know what? They are completely within their rights to make this call as a private business. …

Notice, this is not a ban. It’s a polite request they are asking customers to honor (It’s a little unclear as to whether this applies to just open carry or concealed as well). Some are claiming he just buckled to liberal pressure and he’s lying through his teeth. I’m willing to take him at his word, because I assume the company just wanted to sell coffee without the endless headaches that go along with people making a spectacle of the previous policy.

Like John, I fully support must-issue carry laws, including open carry as a means to defend one’s self. As readers know, I have a carry permit myself.  It’s important to defend those legal rights, but it’s even more important to do so intelligently, in a way that extends sympathy to the cause rather than fear of law-abiding gun owners and their motives. The NRA has offered good advice in this case, and hopefully activists will give it due consideration before they convince even more public businesses to ban firearms altogether in their locations.


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There was no change of heart.
blink on June 2, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Ok. You’ll pardon me, I hope. This is really confusing to me. We’ve established that management was on board with this demonstration so much so to the point of posing in pictures with the group. Now, there is a policy issuance by said management that such demonstrations are now verboten. If not a change of heart, what is this change?

anuts on June 2, 2014 at 8:32 PM

blink on June 2, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Oh geeze, you trying to start over thinking people have forgotten?

It’s your standard bearer writing it.

Open carry statement

Looking back, it has become clear that there is one area in which we have gotten the most resistance and suffered the largest setbacks: open carry of long arms into private businesses.

We are humbly and emphatically imploring our members to cease taking long arms into corporate businesses unless invited.

For those of y’all not stuck on stupid, the whole thing is a good read.

cozmo on June 2, 2014 at 8:39 PM

by said management
anuts on June 2, 2014 at 8:32 PM

No – not by “said management”.
blink on June 2, 2014 at 8:37 PM

By whom, then?

anuts on June 2, 2014 at 8:45 PM

We are humbly and emphatically imploring our members to cease taking long arms into corporate businesses unless invited.

For those of y’all not stuck on stupid, the whole thing is a good read.
cozmo on June 2, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Respecting property rights. Novel idea.

anuts on June 2, 2014 at 8:54 PM

Murphy9 on June 2, 2014 at 8:07 PM

And wrong on damn near every one of the comments. blink, whats up with you? One day cogent and such. Today unhinged and such. Oh well.

Bmore on June 2, 2014 at 9:09 PM

blink on June 2, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Just shaking my head…

Bmore on June 2, 2014 at 9:09 PM

I’ve been wondering that myself. Tunnel vision maybe.

cozmo on June 2, 2014 at 9:13 PM

There is the blink I know and love. blink, I am glad to see you there. Enough damage was done here for one day.

Bmore on June 2, 2014 at 9:26 PM

blink on June 2, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Just stay stuck on stupid.

cozmo on June 2, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Bmore. In your heart, I know you agree with me.

blink on June 2, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Lolz! The way this thread went sideways blink, I just might, we’ll never know. ; )

Bmore on June 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Just stay stuck on stupid.
cozmo on June 2, 2014 at 10:16 PM
I’ve provided you with clear explanations of everything. I’m not sure why you decided to troll this thread. Being bored on a Monday really isn’t a good excuse.
blink on June 2, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Dude you are still at this? Lolz

500+ comments and I am afraid 400 are just yours. Lol

Good luck!

coolrepublica on June 2, 2014 at 11:34 PM

I lived in Texas from 1982 to 2005. Long guns were visible in many civilian vehicles, and no one made a fuss over it.

Al in St. Lou on June 3, 2014 at 12:21 AM

We’ve established that management was on board with this demonstration so much so to the point of posing in pictures with the group. Now, there is a policy issuance by said management that such demonstrations are now verboten. If not a change of heart, what is this change?

anuts on June 2, 2014 at 8:32 PM

A higher level of management making a policy that overrode the initial decision.

Have you never worked in a hierarchal organization?

malclave on June 3, 2014 at 12:52 AM

This is a situation of conditioning. Society is being conditioned to be fearful of guns, of any type from kids’ fingers to poptarts to drawings to the real thing.

However, not that many years ago in my youth having guns, short and long, on a person or in a vehicle openly displayed was normal.

We are talking forty years folks…forty! That is not that long. But it shows just how hard the Left has worked to make guns evil.

That said, people who own them must realize the delicate balance needed to get people used to weapons again. There is a difference between open carry of a pistol and slinging an AK. We are not in Afghanistan and this is not the tribal region.

People have been trained to be frightened. You can’t re-condition them with brute force. It will take time

archer52 on June 3, 2014 at 7:40 AM

As readers know, I have a carry permit myself.

Why?

What I mean is, since the second amendment guarantees your right to keep and bear arms, why did you think you needed permission from the govt to bear arms? Because they said so?

Someone close to me did the same thing. He was later pulled over on a routine traffic stop. The officers, having run his license plate and discovered that he had a carry permit, demanded he exit the vehicle while they were under cover. With guns drawn.

In other words, govt agents who knew he was armed because he told them, treated him like he was armed and dangerous. And he was surprised at this.

runawayyyy on June 3, 2014 at 9:20 AM

I’m a strong proponent for concealed carry and the second amendment. In Tennessee, they are working on open carry, which is fine, but not something I would do. With open carry, you become a clearly identified threat and may be shot in the first action of a robbery, etc. I prefer concealed carry, because the element of surprise then rests with me.

The ‘in your face’ open carry action can alienate people who might otherwise be 2nd amendment supporters. If a mob of AR-15 sporting men and women come into a restaurant I am in, I will be wary of them. At this time, I see no need to flaunt heavy firepower in front of civilians; we’re not at war, yet. I think these actions are detrimental to 2nd amendment supporters.

xmanvietnam on June 3, 2014 at 12:06 PM

No, these actions have an overall positive effect for 2nd supporters.

blink on June 3, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Does the fact that people have literally lined up to tell you that this is a counterproductive idea influence you in the slightest? Have you made any allowance for that? Just curious.

V7_Sport on June 3, 2014 at 3:04 PM

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