Regardless of political ideology, reasonable, intelligent people have a very hard time understanding what good can come of bringing firearms to political rallies or protests. Even among those of us who own them and champion their utility, the idea of using weapons to make a political statement is distasteful. Most of us understand that the media’s laser-like focus on the displayed weapons completely overwhelms any other message the protesters may be attempting to champion. You would hope that open carry advocates learned from that debacle.
They didn’t learn anything.
The second train wreck took place this past weekend in a pair of parks in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. In a sad display, critics in the on-hand media gloated over the fact that they outnumbered the armed protesters significantly. The rag-tag group of malcontents featured violence-championing militiamen, extras from a casting call for the People of Walmart, and a bizarre activist from California who attempted to merge a Revolutionary War-era replica of a tri-corner hat with SWAT-style paramilitary web gear. It created a display that would have any normal person recoiling in horror. And it did.
Such rallies, featuring a mix of fringe personalities seemingly more interested in getting on camera than appealing to the sensibilities of their fellow citizens, do a great disservice to America’s gun owners. Worse, they reinforce stereotypes of gun owners as part of a potentially violent subculture precisely when it is politically advantageous for our shared political opponents.
As a result of these poorly executed and often dimwitted displays, open carry is now under threat precisely because of how open carry advocates have conducted themselves. A Bakersfield, CA, news story makes that fact painfully clear:
The California Assembly is moving closer to banning gun owners from being able to carry their unloaded weapons openly in public.
Over the last few months there has been an increase in the number of open carry rallies and meetings in Northern California. On Tuesday a committee moved closer to ending such practices.
As concealed carry grows across the country and more Americans adopt shooting sports, the open carry movement alone seems to be moving backward.
Like the aforementioned shooter with his finger in the trigger guard trying to holster his weapon, all these open carry advocates seem to manage is shooting themselves in their own posteriors, time and time again.