*Disclamer1* – This is being filed in the “Guns” and the “Police” categories. I am not a police officer, in fact my experience in LE is limited to watching “Cops” reruns, the movie “Super Troopers” and a ride along I did with my buddy where I was instructed to “Stay in the car, unless I start getting my ass beat, then I need you to give me a hand.” I am a career firefighter, 13 years of service and other than a gun lover, that’s all I clam to be. I am writing this as it is an issue that I see LE face and it is being caused by a group of gun owners, however it effects us all, so here we are.
*Disclamer2* – I am extremely pro 2A. Probably more so than you are. True story!
I am writing this because of a misunderstanding on our Facebook page over this post:
I had a disagreement with a follower that I don’t think really was a disagreement, I just don’t think our points were clearly enough drawn-out. I am writing this post here because I feel this is actually a very common issue and here is a great chance to air it out. You see the first thing that many pro 2A people see is someone having an issue with a particular open carrier, and they assume that you then have an issue with all open carriers. That is not the case! I will go on to explain below.
First, let me start by saying that there are 2 different types of open carriers. The first type is made of true Patriots who bleed Red White and Blue and piss Freedom. These are people who know their rights are God given and recognized by the United States Constitution. Their intentions are simply to open carry, and are usually (I hate painting with a broad brush, but this isn’t profiling, it is statistics) very down to earth people who are pleasant to talk to. There is no agenda here with this group. A tell tale way to distinguish this type of Open Carrier is that any run in they might have had with the law will usually be retold verbally. These are the folks I have no issue with.
Now lets talk about a second type of open carrier. This type is a different breed with different motives. They are attention whores who publicly give most all of us responsible gun owners a bad name, let me explain. This second type is out for one thing and one thing only and that is conflict. Their guise is that they are doing it in the name of education, or to rub their rights in the faces of the general public. You see, these guys walk around in public not with a handgun on their side (which in most places can be carried in the ready to fire condition inside of a holster) but instead with a rifle over their shoulder which is usually, in accordance with law, unchambered. Their primary choices are AR-15 rifles and AK variants as those are publicly recognizable and they know that the typical brainwashed non pro-gun bystander will assume it is of course fully automatic and dial 911 in a full panic. They don’t choose to do this with a shotgun or bolt action rifle, because that won’t get the reaction they are looking for, which leads me into the second thing these guys are armed with. Somewhere on their person in the ready to go position is a video camera, ready to record conflicts with LE. These guys brush up on the ins and outs of the law, things like when they have to produce identification or answer questions. No matter how friendly or polite the cop they encounter is being with these guys, they always reply in very frustrating way reciting lines over and over vs engaging in actual conversation.
Now you might be one of the aforementioned second types, if you find yourself getting frustrated as you read this, you are probably who I am talking to. I’ll answer your question that I already know you are asking, “If I’m not breaking the law, then what is the issue?” Well, for starters you are setting out with a loaded gun in search of conflict. Now you aren’t planning on using that gun in said conflict, instead your weapon of choice is a video camera and YouTube. The gun in your case is simply being used as bait. And that ladies and gentlemen is the problem, you are knowingly using a gun to look for trouble. This goes against everything I as a member of the responsible gun owner crowd stand for. I carry a gun every day of my life outside of work, and do absolutely everything in my power to avoid conflict. Being armed should NEVER be a basis for seeking conflict, this is in every way stupid and could end up getting someone killed.
You are probably shaking your head and thinking: “But, but, but, it is my right!” Well, here is the thing about freedoms, they aren’t without consequences. You have freedom of speech, walk up to the biggest guy you can find and tell him that his mother took real good care of you last night. You will become quickly aware that your actions do in fact have consequences. The reactions you get from police while walking down the sidewalk wearing a kilt (backwards mind you, pleats go in the rear, apron goes in the front) with an AR strapped to your back is a consequence of you choosing to be so careless with your rights. The police have a responsibility to investigate calls that are made to 911. The public safety community simply does not have the luxury to decide which calls they respond to, and are responding blindly sans the information the caller(s) provided.
I want to also point out that this second type of open carrier, in their quest to seek attention, is the type that will flood a business mistaking a “guns not prohibited” policy with a “these guys love guns just as much as we do” policy. Time and time again their actions have forced the hand of these establishments to pick a side as they were being thrust into the spotlight being hailed as “pro-gun” when in fact they were neutral. These businesses honestly had no stance on the subject, they did not and probably still would not care about guns as they were not causing a problem for them. That is until you and your Facebook/Call of Duty buddies invaded the place, dressed in your fresh from Ebay, made in China Airsoft tactard gear, and started to hurt their wellbeing as you were driving away their customer base. Yes, you were making it hard for some of your fellow Americans to provide for their families. Once again, your freedoms do not come without consequences, and in this case the consequence effects anyone who carries a gun, not just some jackass who wants to have a gun circle jerk party at a coffee shop.
In conclusion I want to say this, I have argued time and time again with anti-gunners stating that they were simply uninformed and members of the gun community were some of the most genuine, good people they would ever encounter. I still stand by this comment, as most of the people I encounter exemplify that opinion. However the majority are easily drowned out by a small but vocal minority who go out of their way to show off how big of an asshole they can be by posting videos of their shenanigans on YouTube. I mean, if someone else wanted to publicly “exercise their right” of freedom of speech by walking down the road shouting insulting words, you would probably label that person as a _________(insert your word of choice here). While this is one way a person can “exercise your right” of freedom of speech, you could also do it in a way that isn’t so abrasive to others by showing a little thing we call respect, and (gasp) still have all of your freedoms intact. Here is the thing guys, if you are hell bent on making a point, I’ll give you a piece of advice. You can still make your point without being a total douchbag in the process. Yes, it is possible to talk in a civil manner to your fellow man and still stand your ground, maintain your rights, and even educate others. If those things were ever your true intent it shouldn’t be a hard thing for you to do, unless of course you are just looking for conflict, and hoping for a chance to cash out in a lawsuit, in which case I honestly hope reading this helps you realize what a piece of shit you really are.