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Old August 27, 2012, 04:29 PM   #1
Rob Pincus
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Irresponsible Open Carry Activism Jeopardizes The RKBA

Irresponsible Open Carry Activism Jeopardizes The RKBA

Guns should be carried for personal defense, not Activism.

The best way to do that 99% of the time is Concealed Carry. Even if people do choose to Open Carry, they shouldn't do it to provoke confrontation nor be uncooperative with the police while doing it. It makes gun owners look bad, turns cops against us, wastes their valuable time and certainly isn't going to make it more likely that people will think "oh, gun owners are normal people, not trouble makers.

Spread the Word. Most people have realized that the time for "solidarity" through tolerance of the guys carrying guns with video cameras has come and gone. Their bravado is jeopardizing our RKBA and should be seen as an embarrassment to responsible gun owners. When the OC Movement started, people carrying while going about their daily business to show responsibly armed people are part of everyday life, it made some sense... but, the extremists have spun out of control. Let's make sure that the firearms community is condemning this behavior.

I am not calling for a change in laws or for us to ostracize people who carry openly in a responsible, civil manner. Perhaps responsible OCers should be most concerned and the most openly critical of those who are using their guns to get (inevitably negative) attention?

Obviously, I am a proponent of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and do not want to to see OC made illegal, but I fear that will happen more and more often, in more and more places (as it already has in at least one state), if the confrontational actions of a very few reckless people continue.

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To see what some of your fellow gun owners think, check out this thread on Facebook.

Last edited by Al Norris; August 27, 2012 at 07:04 PM. Reason: reformatted for better readability
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Old August 27, 2012, 04:40 PM   #2
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That's your $.02, and you are entitled to it.

Mine is this: Of what value is a right if you are afraid to use it?

By assuming that all attention gathered by OCers will be "inevitably" negative, you are ceding the argument to the other side that "Guns are BAD." ......

......And that by throwing bricks at folks on our side of the barricade, you are not helping the fight.

OC is legal where I live. I do it occasionally, but not to make a statement.
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Old August 27, 2012, 04:52 PM   #3
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I'm still on the fence about OC,,,

I'm still on the fence about OC,,,
In that I don't know if I will ever OC.

But I will agree that the jerks who OC and bait an LEO confrontation,,,
Are hurting the entire RKBA cause with their actions.

Oklahoma will be an OC state come this November the 1st,,,
My great sigh of relief is that accidental brandishing is a thing of the past.

All of my non-carrying friends simply assume,,,
That I will strap on my biggest pistol and dive right into OC,,,
I am definitely not going to strap on my full size CZ and walk around town.

The only place I know I am carrying openly is the river,,,
When I go down there to collect my driftwood,,,
I want my snake-gun to be more accessible.

I will change to a more comfortable carry holster,,,
I'll still keep it concealed by a shirt or coat,,,
But now I won't worry about printing.

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Old August 27, 2012, 05:16 PM   #4
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Jimbob, Rob clearly stated:

Quote:
Even if people do choose to Open Carry, they shouldn't do it to provoke confrontation nor be uncooperative with the police while doing it.
I don't see that as throwing bricks. Part of the problem is that those of us who are unsure of the merits of open carry can't seem to have an intelligent conversation about the idea without being accused of being turncoats to the 2nd Amendment.

It's not all that black-and-white.
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Old August 27, 2012, 05:17 PM   #5
Willie Sutton
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"And that by throwing bricks at folks on our side of the barricade, you are not helping the fight"


And actions that make us look like a bunch of buffoons is not helping the fight either. Case in point: Baiting LEO's by carrying MP-5 clones, etc, and then posting videos of the confrontation:... that's just stupid. None of us should encourage this sort of stuff. OC is for the woods, fields, and streams.


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Old August 27, 2012, 05:34 PM   #6
Rob Pincus
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Quote:
I don't see that as throwing bricks. Part of the problem is that those of us who are unsure of the merits of open carry can't seem to have an intelligent conversation about the idea without being accused of being turncoats to the 2nd Amendment.
Well said, Tom. That is the reason I am sharing that essay around. I think a the huge majority of gun owners think those guys are problems and there are too many people running cover for them by waving the RKBA Flag at anyone who criticizes their irresponsible behavior.

We lost the legal right to OC in CA at the beginning of the year and a "gray area" in the MS law was shutdown this summer. Now when the wind blows your concealment garment to the side, you could in violation of law in those states... directly attributable to the guys wearing guns just to provoke confrontation. Instead of blindly rallying to their defense because they claim to be interested in RKBA, let's rally together around RESPONSIBLE gun ownership and shut the attention seekers down.

-RJP
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Old August 27, 2012, 05:45 PM   #7
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There's a time and place for everything.I've had a .45 on my hip and sat and had lunch in Bisbee,Az and no one gave me a second look.You sling an AK or AR across your back,and wander down the streets of St.Louis and you're going to have issues.It just seems to me that the individuals who are taping themselves getting "accosted"by LEO's are pretty much attention deprived individuals,who get off trying to raise an issue.
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Old August 27, 2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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It is not the question of OC vs CC. The question is how you carry.

If you are acting like the Cock of the Walk, constantly touching or otherwise calling attention to the piece, you probably should not carry.

However, is you carry discreetly in a natural manner then you will not encounter a problem
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Old August 27, 2012, 06:24 PM   #9
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I OC a lot. Never had a LEO say a word though I have had a few people give me the old, "Good Lord, did you know your gun is cocked?" One man actually approached me and told me he was glad to see me carrying a 1911 cocked and locked like it is supposed to be. Appearance is everything when you OC. If you look like you just pulled a three day drunk right after a three day cocaine high, then yeah, you might make some people a shade nervous. If you are clean and neat and decently dressed the majority won't even notice your weapon. I agree that "setting up" confrontations is idiotic, and maybe a little dangerous. Never know when your going to "catch" a nervous rookie. It will be hard to prove your point (whatever that point may be) if a probie puts one in your boiler room.

Bottom line: if you're going to OC, act like somebody, don't provoke cops, be courteous and gentle with anyone who expresses fear, and you'll be fine. Oh, and don't constantly touch your weapon.
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Old August 27, 2012, 06:26 PM   #10
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Yes, I fear that we are indeed sometimes our own worst enemy. Whether the radical open carry advocate, the person who accidently discharges a firearm in a department store or the guy that leaves his gun in the grocery store restroom these things make us look irresponsible.

The average American supports the RKBA which is why we have seen a steady return of rights in most places. However, the pendulum of public opinion can very quickly swing the other way and self serving politicians will once again seek ways to deny our freedoms.
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Old August 27, 2012, 06:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob86
...OC is legal where I live. I do it occasionally, but not to make a statement.
And no one is quarreling with that. The concern is open carry as political activism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob86
...Of what value is a right if you are afraid to use it?...
It's a funny thing, but it is in fact reality, that if enough people do something that's legal but they do it in a way that enough other people find obnoxious, the activity probably won't stay legal for long.

[1] There are plenty of examples of rights being lost because enough folks didn't like the ways in which they were being exercised. Over the years, in many communities, we have seen many zoning and other laws adopted restricting how you can use your own property. In some places you may not work on your car in your own driveway in view of the public street. In some places you must get design approval of remodeling or landscaping visible to the public. In some communities, you may not park or store large vehicles like boats on trailers or RVs on your property so as to be visible to the public. These sorts of restrictions have in large part been the result of strong enough public sentiment that some things previously lawfully done by private parties on their own land were unseemly or unattractive.

[2] In California in 1967, because some folks with whom much of the public lacked sympathy legally carried loaded guns openly in public, loaded open carry was made illegal.

[3] And because demonstrations in California in which folks legally carrying unloaded handguns openly in public made too many other people too uncomfortable, the open carrying of unloaded guns in public was made illegal, effective 1 January 2012, in California.
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Old August 27, 2012, 06:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Pincus
We lost the legal right to OC in CA at the beginning of the year and a "gray area" in the MS law was shutdown this summer. Now when the wind blows your concealment garment to the side, you could in violation of law in those states... directly attributable to the guys wearing guns just to provoke confrontation.
I question whether legal OC is the direct cause of a legal restriction of legal OC. It is more likely that people opposed to legal OC in the first place had something to do with that process.

Where OC is legal, a PO who considers OC itself to be confrontational should be better educated on the subject. If every PO responded appropriately, we wouldn't have people carrying video recorders to capture evidence of poor behavior. That we have video in which the carrier looks like the jerk is evidence that PDs are getting better. That didn't happen because people refused to exercise their rights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Pincus
Instead of blindly rallying to their defense because they claim to be interested in RKBA, let's rally together around RESPONSIBLE gun ownership and shut the attention seekers down.
If someone captures an abuse on video, that he happens to be subjectively motivated by the attention he would receive is incidental. His activity is data collection, which would help document abuses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Pincus
Their bravado is jeopardizing our RKBA and should be seen as an embarrassment to responsible gun owners. When the OC Movement started, people carrying while going about their daily business to show responsibly armed people are part of everyday life, it made some sense... but, the extremists have spun out of control.
Emphasis added.

Isn't not being under the control of the state an attribute of the exercise of a right?


Questions about attitude, what one carries and how he walks aren't matters of the limit of a constitutional right, but community etiquette. If an activity under discussion is subject to community etiquette, it isn't a right.

Last edited by zukiphile; August 27, 2012 at 06:55 PM.
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
If an activity under discussion is subject to community etiquette, it isn't a right.
Isn't it? I can think of a few 1st Amendment parallels here.
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Isn't it? I can think of a few 1st Amendment parallels here.
You mean like the Illinois Nazis back in 1977?
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:36 PM   #15
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Just because no one ever says anything about open carry to the person doing it legally does not mean they did not have negative thoughts they kept to themself; after all, you already have the "whatever" to walk around displaying a firearm, people may be understandably reluctant to speak.

If concealed carry is legal, and it is here, I just silently think WHY.
IMO it looks like the person has something to prove / chip on shoulder.
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Old August 27, 2012, 07:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zukiphile
...If an activity under discussion is subject to community etiquette, it isn't a right.
Phooey. We live in a community, and people form impressions and make judgments about others. Something may be a right, but how a right is exercised has social consequences.

And it might also have political consequences. Many zoning restrictions arose out of broad community dissatisfaction with the ways in which others exercised what were rights.

It's fashionable to blame politicians. But politicians are interested in getting elected and re-elected. So what it really comes down to is our neighbors, the people in our communities, the people in our towns, the people we work with, the people we see at the mall, etc. If enough of our neighbors, enough of the people in our communities, enough of the people in our towns, enough of the people we work with, enough of the people we see at the mall, etc., don't like guns, and don't trust the rest of us with them, politicians who take anti-gun stands can get elected and re-elected (and bureaucrats who take anti-gun stands can keep their jobs).

So we need to remember that part of the battle to keep and expand our gun rights needs to start with our neighbors, the people in our communities, the people in our towns, the people we work with, the people we see at the mall, etc. We need to engage and include as many of them as we can. Exercising our rights in ways that frighten or antagonize those people won't help our cause.
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Old August 27, 2012, 11:28 PM   #17
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Open carry is quite legal in all of Virginia, praise be. I often do so. I have never done so "to make a statement," or to provoke a confrontation with the police, with my iPhone recording the encounter. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. I have not in all my years had any negative contact with law enforcement.

One reason (a tertiary one) is that I actually have a chance to be an ambassador for private carrying in general, in educating folks of what the laws here (in Virginia) actually are. I keep my eyes open and my head on a swivel, but I also open doors for people, help them carry their groceries, whatever. No, I'm no Boy Scout, but I work to be civil. I've actually had the chance to inform good folk that yes, this is legal, and yes, it is normal and good.

This wasn't possible about seventeen years ago. Exercising your rights in this county then could well get you proned out. Not any more. They've all got the memo. Guys willing to open carry, and the work of the VCDL (here in Virginia) made that possible.
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Old August 28, 2012, 12:44 AM   #18
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Rob, sorry but you are ignoring what happened in Ohio after the "loss" in Klein in...2003, I think it was?

Short form, our guys sued to get CCW (Ohio was a no-permits at all state outside of "special deputies"). The Ohio Supremes said "no you bad gunnies, you don't have a right to CCW because everybody already knows you have a right to open carry so the 2nd Amendment is still alive".

All the gunnies looked at each and said "oh really!?". And the various rotten police chiefs and DAs in Toledo and Cleveland that had been busting OCers for "disturbing the peace" went "oh poop!". Within a year huge open-carry rallies doing happy heavily armed laps around various state and local gov't buildings caused a CCW permit process to get adopted to end the annoyance.

Now. I can tell you for a FACT that California's anti-gunners soon after that first tried to pass an open-carry ban in 2004-2005 timeframe when I was still a California lobbyist for CCRKBA - and BEFORE there were any open-unload-carry protests in California. How do I know? Well not only did I fight those early bills, Irwin Nowick personally told me that they feared Ohio-style protests. First and only time I've ever felt the least bit tempted to strangle somebody on the other side.

So...if you point to our guys in California being in the wrong without knowing the whole story, then sorry, I know you're speaking from ignorance. Worse, you ignore the Ohio experience which is both recent history and an important turning point...if you don't know about than then you're not as serious an activist in this issue as you make out.

What I do know is, with open-carry relatively common in AZ we get more or less zero issues from it. I've never heard of serious harassment over an OC holstered handgun anywhere in AZ even in the lefty strongholds like Tucson (where I'm OCing a New Vaquero right this sec in a Subway sandwich place) and Sedona.

Where we agree is on the open-carry of long arms. That's...a bit much. A handgun is fundamentally defensive in nature. A rifle...esp. a "sport utility rifle"...well it can be argued to be otherwise. I wouldn't do that unless the need was dire - not "political need" but "civil insurrection or massive disaster" need.
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Old August 28, 2012, 02:22 AM   #19
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Saying something is a "right" does not end the discussion. The Supreme Court has said very clearly, time and time again, that almost none of our rights are absolute. Even the First Amendment has numerous exceptions for unprotected speech types.

I agree pretty much point for point with Rob's original post. OC in an understated and respectful sense is a legitimate exercise of the 2nd Amendment. Open Carry activism, police baiting, and other such noise is the equivalent to screaming your political views in someone's face. Allowed? Sure, but after a while people will get tired of it, and whether it's a right or not they'll find the legal and political muscle to address it.
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ettin
Phooey.
Which we learned in EL-skule is short for post hoc ergo phooey hoc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ettin
Something may be a right, but how a right is exercised has social consequences.
Indeed. One social consequence of OC is that as people see it, they become accustomed to it. Another can be that POs get used to it.

OC has not been prohibited by law in Ohio going back at least two decades. If a PO saw someone carrying, he would testify that he could not see the weapon as he approached because the weapon was on the pther side of the person and therefore was concealed. Combine that with a judge who is happy to convict anyone carrying a firearm, and you have a judicially imposed OC prohibition. It took people pressing the point to start to change the culture so that Ohioans don't end up with a felony conviction for exercising a right in ordinary circumstances.

I don't think a PO can be baited by legal activity. I don't consider myself to be baiting authrotities when I drive under the speed limit or speak publicly or vote. I don't trust everyone to do all those things responsibly, but the nature of a right is that people get to undertake those activities even when I think they aren't doing it correctly.

Should we strive to be good ambassadors? Certainly. An ambassador who carries and video records is one who carries a message that both are benign. That seems a fitting message for an ambassador to carry.

Last edited by zukiphile; August 28, 2012 at 08:27 AM.
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:11 AM   #21
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I fully support the OP and Tom Servo on this one. Wanna be jerk? Dont endanger my reputation when you do it!!!!!!!!!
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:16 AM   #22
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I think what the OP is missing here is that if the police involved followed the law in the first place, there wouldn't be a confrontation. As the courts like to say, ignorance of the law is not a protection from the law. This applies to cops as well as the rest of us.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:27 AM   #23
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I'm with the OP. The "In your face" attitude does more harm than good. If you want to O the do it, but don't walk around looking for a confrontation with the police.

If you want to make a comparison with the 1st A then go around the police yelling "FIRE" and see if that improves your 1st A rights.

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Old August 28, 2012, 09:29 AM   #24
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People said the same thing about Rosa Parks,,,

People said the same thing about Rosa Parks,,,
About how she was hurting the civil rights cause by being so blatant.

I've been thinking about this for a day now,,,
And I am somewhat torn in my thoughts.

Yes, the people who arm up and go looking for confrontation,,,
Are mostly idiots and hurting the RKBA cause.

Not so much for their confrontational actions,,,
But the stupid way in which they implement them.

What they are doing isn't necessarily the problem,,,
It's how stupidly they are doing it that is the problem.

If a person who was very knowledgable about gun laws,,,
Someone say with the stature of Massad Ayoob,,,
If he were to stage a similar scenario,,,
Would it go over as badly as most?

Rosa Parks was not a spur of the moment decision,,,
Her actions were planned and scripted well in advance of the act.

What if Massad Ayoob planned and scripted a well thought out scenario,,,
The recorded confrontation could have a very positive effect,,,
It could show the prejudices of some LEO's towards RKBA.

I'm not convinced that the confrontations themselves are a bad thing,,,
I will completely agree that the ill-planned ones paint us all in a bad light.

Aarond

.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:45 AM   #25
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For a police view: http://www.policeone.com/Officer-Saf...rry-advocates/

I agree with Rob, BTW.

Aaron - why don't you do it, instead of Massad - who is a police officer anyway.

If you know history - you may know that the open carry of long arms by African-Amercian activists had the so-called conservatives all a twitter. Laws were passed.
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