Friday, February 13, 2009

Openly Carried Firearms, Fellow Gun Owners, and Liberty

A gun forum I frequent (well, I frequent the part of it where issues regarding carrying guns openly and concealed is discussed) seems to have developed an interesting trend. Someone links to a drive in a state to allow citizens to openly carry their firearms. Often, someone responds with something to the effect of "open carry isn't a good idea because of..." and then lists a number of non-factual "reasons" why you shouldn't openly carry a handgun. The reasons are usually along the lines of:
You'll scare people.
Someone will take it from you.
If you're in some place and some guys want to rob it, they'll shoot you.

I've been attempting to refine my response. Today's incident had me responding to a poster who said, essentially, why would you open carry if you have a CCW permit?

Why concealed carry? Better yet, who are you to tell me how I am allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment Rights?

Law Enforcement is sometimes a victim of gun grabs. However, most of those grabs happen not while the Officer is strolling down the street, but during physical tussles in which the Officer is hands-on attempting to make an arrest (or is in close proximity to a person who knows they have warrants and doesn't want to jail and the officer doesn't know it yet). Either way, using LEO gun grab stats to apply to citizens is not correct - it is apples and oranges.

Then there are those that always yell "someone will take it from you!" To be entirely fair, I have now heard of a grand total of one (1) case where this has happened in the US. Ever. The guy was out alone at 2 or 3am, in a dark area, and was mugged. They came up behind him (poor situational awareness) and got the drop on him. Can it happen? Yes. Will situational awareness help? Sure. Should you wear a holster with active retention systems - absolutely.

Ultimately, questions like this show that we're still our own worst enemy. The goal for all gun owners should be the unfettered, unrestricted ability to own and carry any gun we want, any way we want, so long as it is done responsibly. Whether it be rifles that are semi-auto (or please - full auto) versions of their military counterparts, big pistols, small pistols, shotguns, whatever, gun owners should be supportive of the 2nd Amendment as written - shall not be infringed. The moment we start thinking (and saying): "I don't think you need to....", and then attempt to validate that statement with emotional arguments that we can not back up with facts, we show that while we may talk about Liberty, we do not truly understand what Liberty means.

What is Liberty? In this particular case, Liberty means me carrying a pistol any way I want. Open, concealed, in a tactical rig, whatever - so long as I am doing so in a manner that will not directly endanger those around me. Questioning my need for exercising Liberty in that manner opens a Pandora's box that allows anyone to infringe anyone else's rights simply on the basis of their own biases and potentially flawed perceptions. It is from this direction that most Statists and Leftists come - "I don't think that's necessary, so you shouldn't be able to do it."

Why would anyone carry openly? Why indeed would anyone carry at all?

I feel all too often we really are our own worst enemy. How often do you hear someone who hunts say "sure, I'm for the Second Amendment, but those handguns (or assault rifles, etc) need to be banned"?

We really do need to focus on what is at the core of our ability to keep and bear arms. That is "arms". Not "bolt action deer rifles", not "revolvers", not "anything but assault weapons", just arms.

Allowing the banners to ban a class of weapons is like allowing a three year old to paint on the wall. The three year old doesn't care that you're just allowing it on the kitchen wall because that one's easier to clean. They know only that they just got away with it. So, if the kitchen wall is ok, let's try the living room wall. You have to tell that three year old right up front "No! It's never ok to draw on a wall!" A consistent message drives home the point.

Our inconsistency as a group in allowing the usurpation of certain freedoms and not others allows the banners to accomplish a divide and conquer strategy. We waste time bickering, they just laugh and proceed with banning something else.

That's why I have pursued a wider range of topics in this blog. I feel that as people who are concerned with Liberty, and if you're fighting hard on the gun issue, you're certainly concerned with Liberty, we have a responsibility to do our best to fight all forms of tyranny. That doesn't mean I think David Codrea at War on Guns should diversify - we need our specialists. I'm also not asking you to divert your limited resources and spread them out all over the place. However, take a little time to be aware of other issues, and drop an extra call or email to your reps letting them know your stance on those non-gun related issues.

Being involved in a wider range of Pro-Liberty activities will not only help to bolster the cause of gun rights, but will also allow you to argue more effectively on a number of subjects related to gun rights.

Most of all, think long and hard before throwing another Liberty oriented group under the bus. It's not ok to let someone go after someone else's rights just because you're not directly affected.

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"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." – Thomas Jefferson