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how to NOT protest
November 14, 2013 - John Stack
Recently, there was a story out of Texas about a…disagreement between Open Carry Texas, membership meeting for the state chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America at a diner in Dallas. While a group of women were inside, OCT showed up with about 40 members legally carrying long rifles. It was not a coincidence. First about the two groups. The “Moms Demand” group is for what they believe is common sense gun laws. They aren't trying to ban handguns, or rifles. But, they believe something should be done to counteract what is seen by them as a culture of gun violence. They believe more common sense gun laws are a good starting point.
What is Open Carry Texas? It is a group advocating for Open Carry of hand guns in Texas. In what seems to me to be counter-intuitive, it is illegal in Texas to carry a handgun outside in plain view, but you can get a permit to carry a concealed hand gun. As my friend Todd tells me, part of this is hysteria, buit also that “Open carrying” is an “attractive nuisance”. In other words, just by the very act of openly carrying a gun, you are exposing yourself and others to harm.
Where do I stand? I had always thought of open carry as being less “scary” than concealed carry, in that you aren't sneaking around with a gun, and you are very “open” about carrying a gun. That being said, I am also in favor of concealed carry. I think a lot of people do get hysterical or judgmental about people carrying guns openly. Living here in the North County, we see people openly carrying rifles almost daily these days, so I may not really recognize how people in other areas feel. Also, I think that a hand gun already usually has stringent requirements to own (unlike rifles) and therefore it is less likely that an “undesirable” has a pistol. Also, I’d prefer to conceal carry. If I was open carrying, and some nut was bent on destruction, I feel like I would be the first one shot. Anyway.
So, what happened between these two groups? The group showed up in order to counter protest a group of people who, don’t want to ban guns, but to have common sense laws about firearms. For all purposes, it seems like the OCT members were law abiding and civil. But – why on earth show up and protest a group of 4 women meeting? With guns? On the OCT website, their #2 purpose is “)to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them. “. I really don’t see how showing up to protest women looking for “common sense solutions” with guns achieves their goals. If anything, this sets their movement BACK. What did this protest show? Did it help to make other Texans feel safe around guns? No way at all. Regardless of intent, the women felt intimidated. These women did not feel comfortable around guns, and this only had the effect of scaring them more, and bringing this situation into the spotlight.
I think back to the ridiculous Kanye West/ Taylor Swift debacle. Kanye West rushes on stage to protest Swift receiving an MTV award, he thought should go to another woman. Now, I think it is one of the most cowardly acts ever. Can you imagine him doing the same if it was 50 cent up there? Fiddy would have torn his arms off and shoved them down his throat. West intimidated a small woman, even smaller than him. Same outcome here, regardless of intent. 50 gun toting people scaring a small gathering of women.
Know how to get the word out? Coach your kids soccer team as well as being seen carrying your rifle to go hunting. Have your gun in a safe, non-threatening environment. THAT is how to get support. Show people gun ownership need not be threatening or scary. Plus, understand one side is not right. Its not perfectly proven that greater gun ownership leads to an increase, or a decrease in crime. At some times, the easy availability of guns may contribute to a crime, whereas in another, the availability of a handgun has deterred a crime. Some people will always be afraid of guns. Some people also will believe they should be able to carry a pistol sloppily, unsafely, into a bar and get drunk and in a fight and not see why people think this is a bad combination.
Regardless where you stand on open carry/concealed carry/ whatever – one should be able to understand this was a protest that did nothing to help the cause. Gun control advocates will use it as proof of the need for more restrictions. Of course, many gun rights advocates will support these guys all the way, saying they were completely in their rights. But this misses the point. They are not the ones needing convincing. You are preaching to the choir there. You have to get out and preach to the non-believers, and listen to what they say.
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