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Openly Carrying Guns Can Be Unwise, Even When It’s Legal

Gun owners should think hard about whether it serves our best interests to offend and disturb our neighbors.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

Bio

October 25, 2009 - 12:00 am
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My article did not propose that open carry should be illegal. There are some unusual circumstances where it might be the best choice — and in some rare circumstances, in some states, it may be the only choice that you have. (Wisconsin, for example, completely prohibits concealed carry of handguns, but does allow open carry.) What I did argue is that gun owners should think long and hard about whether it serves our best interests to offend, disturb, or concern people that would prefer that we keep our guns as well hidden as our excretory organs.

I was expecting some negative reaction to that article — but I was not expecting the level of vitriol. I received one polite response, yes. But I also received a number of really angry and not very polite emails, including:

I have been a loyal SGN reader for many years and have subscribed several times.

Having read Mr. Cramer’s column on open carry, “How to Lose Friends,” this will no longer be the case. Mr. Cramer’s column should have been titled “Why We Should Be Ashamed of Our Rights.”

I will NOT be buying any further SGN magazines EVER; nor will I encourage my friends and family to do so, until and unless Mr. Cramer is FIRED publicly and SGN apologizes for his failure to support the rights of American citizens.

In the course of attempting to calm this reader down, I discovered that this poor guy feels tremendously trapped by the enormous success that the anti-gun crowd is enjoying. I have talked to a few others over the last few years who seem to think that the gun control crowd is on one continuous winning streak and that at any moment, the federal government is going to complete the final confiscation of firearms from private citizens.

The gun control movement is dangerous, in spite of their small numbers, because they exercise enormous influence over the entertainment and legal communities. But for those who haven’t been following the news: the gun control movement is in such sorry shape that if I worked in that area, I would be getting my resume up to date and looking for some other windmills to joust against.

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Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His most recent book is My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill (2012). He is raising capital for a feature film about the Oberlin Rescue of 1858.
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