“Open Carry” has headlined any number of news stories of late. Most recently some of the members of “Open Carry Texas” pushed the issue in various restaurants resulting in a few more chains asking folks coming to their places of business to leave their weapons home. Honestly, I can’t argue with that position – it’s a private business, they are responding to uncomfortable customers . . . those decisions are the very essence of “free enterprise”.
This particular occurrence also brought the first formal communication from the NRA asking that those advocating open carry exercise some basic level of common sense and pointing out that many of these actions due our “cause” more harm than good. Fair point . . . but I guess I’d like to take a slightly different angle and approach it from the question of;
“Why do you carry a personal defensive weapon?”
And then, roll that question around to whether open carry advances your ability to accomplish your reason for carrying – or defeats it.
For me – personally – I’ve made clear my particular reasons for carrying a defensive weapon. Our nation is no longer the nation I grew up in. It’s “coarser”, it’s much more “in your face”, it’s less respectful, in many areas of our nation it’s more desperate – and growing more so every day - our nation is simply not as safe today for its citizens as it was 50+ years ago. To use a phrase I’ve used many times in the past – things have become “frayed around the edges”.
As a human man – I have the right to defend my life. I also assume the right to defend the lives of my family and anyone else in my charge. I assume the right to defend the life of a person being attacked. That this basic right – the right to exist – has become a matter of debate is simply one more indicator of how far we have slipped past the “crest of the hill”.
To this end, it is simply natural to carry a defensive weapon to accomplish this task, period. It also follows that to provide someone that means me harm the knowledge that I am armed by subscribing to “open carry” makes no sense to me at all.
The other component to carrying a defensive weapon is that it isn’t “about me”. I see no reason to advertise that I AM ARMED. The reason I carry is for the defensive of myself and others – not to show the world the size of my . . . well, you get the idea.
And that, I believe, is the rub with many of the most public open carry “issues”. Many of those advocating open carry do so with an AR or and AK slung over their back or hanging from their chest. Really?? In what world does this choice of firearm make sense for a personal defensive weapon as you move about your day? If I’m awake you have a 95% chance I’m armed – whether in the car, on the street or in my recliner. How do you accomplish this with an AR or an AK? The answer is – you don’t. So there must be other reasons.
“Defense of the 2nd Amendment!” This comes up pretty damn quick along with phrases like “the 2nd Amendment is my carry permit”. The reality is that you win this particular argument in the voting booth – not by open carrying an AR into your local restaurant. And we ARE winning that argument.
Personally, I believe much of what we see in the news today with Open Carry Texas and other OC groups is to simply accomplish that – to get themselves noticed – get a photo and a quick blurb in the paper. Not to protect themselves or their families and friends, not to defend the 2nd Amendment, not to advance gun rights of citizens . . . but simply to grab their little chunk of column space in the local paper or 45 seconds on a local TV station.
Perhaps a rededication of these folks is in order. I would ask them to dedicate their time, efforts and skills to the defense of those around them . . .
. . . and not to their own personal 15 minutes of fame.