Sunday, February 14, 2010

Comments on Open Carry

SFGate published this article about the Buckhorn Grill prohibiting open carrying of unloaded firearms in their restaurants. The article is not remarkable, being pretty much a rehash of all of the other articles about the same event that have been published by Bay Area newspapers this week.  But reading the comments posted by readers can sometimes be a barometer of their views on the issue.

Do Bay Area citizens support the goal of the Open Carry Movement to reform California laws to allow carrying of loaded weapons in urban and suburban area, either openly or concealed?  Or do they want the open carry activists to just go away.  Here are the two most highly rated comments to that article:

Posted by: no1thing
Believe it or not, most people do not want to be surrounded by guns. The open-carry crowd seems intent on making scenes and making people uncomfortable.
This comment was rated at +348, -67 at the time I read the article.  Note that this comment contains none of the condescending liberal jibes that so many of the other highly rated posts have, but it has the highest positive rating of any comment.

Contrast that comment with the following one, which is typical of comments posted all over the Web by gun-rights advocates:

Posted by: obamacommie
So now the only people carrying guns into their business will be criminals. The same people carrying guns to rob the place and perhaps just be intent on murder. Whereas the gun carry crowd legally purchased, carry and advocate their beliefs; spend $1300 to help a small business and get kicked out.
This post is rated at +124, -386, the highest negative rating of any comment posted for this article.  This post would be considered a rational exposition of the gun-rights view of the open carry issue, but the general public, judging by the rating, is simply not buying the argument.

I think that there is a political message here that the Open Carry movement needs to understand: regions of this state that have votes and political influence do not want armed people in public.  One hundred people open carrying unloaded handguns in public alarms them, and if the Open Carry movement continues to generate high profile news coverage, it will be only a matter of time before some favor-currying politician in Sacramento (DeLeon, or  Lowenthal)  decides to cash in on the publicity windfall by writing legislation that will outlaw open carry of any weapon.  Indeed, they just might go further and abolish the California CCW permit system as well.  We all know that every urban police chief and sheriff would support that bill.

So, I ask the Open Carry movement:  Could you please tone it down?  We are at a critical juncture in the nation for gun rights: oral arguments for McDonald v. Chicago are set for March 2, and I have every expectation that the SCOTUS will strike down the Chicago gun ban.  Many high profile cases in California are currently waiting for that decision to determine how those cases will be decided, cases that challenge the capricious CCW system and ever more restrictive DOJ Roster of Handguns.  Lastly, guns are so unpopular in the urban areas of this state that I don't think that there is ANY chance of a legislative solution to the awful CCW issuance practices in the state.  Relief will only come through the courts, so these open carry events are NOT helping, and may end up hurting all gun owners in California.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to ask. If we were talking about gay rights just a few years ago... would the advice to the homosexual population be "the average citizen just doesn't want to see you, can you please tone it down... perhaps skip the pride parade this year"?

LeftCoastConservative said...

Anonymous,

A fair question.

If the gay activism was taking place in a state with a homophobic legislature that had just enacted a major anti-gay rights law, but there was also a gay civil rights case before the Supreme Court that just might change the entire legal situation regarding gay rights, then maybe I would.

I am not insisting that I am right concerning my comment the effectiveness of open carry events as political activism. But in California gun rights are not viewed as civil rights, a BIG mistake in my opinion, as there is a history of gun rights being used to secure other civil rights. CRPA published a Gene Hoffman article about the Battle of Athens and the about the Deacons for Defense that provide examples of armed men defending their civil rights against government oppression in the 20th century. How anyone can be a minority, racial, sexual, or gender, and be against gun rights is beyond me. The Pink Pistols really have the correct view on gun rights.

I am taking a purely political view that open carry events might not be smart tactics at this time with McDonald v. Chicago before the Supreme Court. All it would take would be one shooting incident at an open carry event, no matter who pulls the trigger, to inspire a legislative backlash.

Keep in mind that unless and until the 2nd Amendment is incorporated, there is no legally recognized right to keep and bear arms in California.

LeftCoastConservative said...

UPDATE:

Let me add this to my previous post:

If the Supreme Court finds in favor of the plaintiffs in McDonald v. Chicago, and incorporates the 2nd Amendment, the I would say to Open Carry.org: ramming speed!

Once there is 2nd Amendment limitations on the possible reactions of the gun haters in Sacramento, open carry events could then be useful tools to open the political conversation about the CCW permit process in California, the DOJ Roster, AB 962, concealed carry on college campuses, and perhaps other laws as well.

I just do not think we can persuade the citizens of California that guns are not "evil".