Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On Open Carry, Businesses, and Prohibiting Weapons

There have been a lot of stores lately asking their customers to leave their guns at home. I really can’t blame them, especially when you get people carrying long guns at the low ready. Those of us who carry guns have gotten a lot of negative publicity lately with businesses, i.e. Starbucks, Target, Chipotle, etc.  Allow me to say that I do not condone what is being done in the picture. There is a right way to open carry a weapon and a wrong way.

Understand that in Texas, Open Carry of handguns is not allowed. In Texas, of all places.  I live in Washington, a blue state, yet open carry of handguns and long arms is allowed. Open Carry Texas is the organization trying to fix that particular problem. Up until the recent past, they've been getting hammered for completing their protest marches by eating lunch at Sonic, Chili’s, or going into Target. They've since backpedaled on this, as they realize it was doing more harm than good.
This negative attention has culminated in several businesses asking their customers to leave their guns at home.

Now, very few of these companies have outright banned guns. It’s mostly been paying lip service to the very vocal group “Moms Demand Action”, a Michael Bloomberg funded anti-gun organization famous for using emotional rather than factual arguments and banning anyone who disagrees with them from their page, refusing to actually debate and look into ways to reduce violence. For example, if you read Target’s statement, like most other businesses they stop short of banning weapons.
Those of us who carry guns are generally not violent people. We are fathers, husbands, wives and mothers. We all have family, and abhor crimes and the criminals who commit them.  I carry every day, either open or concealed depending on how I feel about it. Open Carry is far more comfortable, but sometimes being discreet has its place.

As a Concealed Pistol License holder, I have been vetted by the State of Washington and the FBI to have a clean background check, no history of mental health issues, no domestic violence, etc. What more can you, as a business owner, ask for in one of your customers? I go through a background check every time I purchase a new gun, even when I buy a gun online! Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just buy a gun anywhere.

The Bloomberg-bought-and-paid-for shills at Everytown and Moms Demand make their entire case on guns being scary and not wanting them around their children. Yet again, emotional argument, not factual. Even the guys at Open Carry Texas, while they were doing it wrong in MY opinion, never threatened anyone. I open carry a lot, and I have never *yet* had anyone call the police on me, or tell me to leave their store, or yell at me for “OMG HE’S CARRYING A GUN”.  We aren't scary. Guns are not scary. A gun is a tool, and only its user can determine what it does.

Here’s a question for you. Outside of movies, when have you EVER seen a criminal carrying a gun? Only when they are actively committing a crime with it? So then, why is there a problem when a regular joe open carries a properly slung rifle (even an EVIL BLACK RIFLE) or a properly holstered handgun? I do make the distinction of properly carried simply because carrying your rifle at the low ready IS threatening.  This is not Iraq. The ONLY time your weapon should be at any ready position is at the range. Now, I also believe carrying a rifle should be limited to certain occasions (say, a protest on the steps of the capital) but that’s just me. And that should be an option.

The other concern of businesses disallowing carry in their stores is the liability. What is going to happen in the off chance that someone DOES decide to commit a crime in those stores? If I get shot because I had to leave my gun in my car, what recourse do I have, now being defenseless when I could have at least had the chance to save myself or my family? You can bet there is a lawsuit waiting to happen. By telling me not to bring in my gun, you are opening yourself to guarantee my safety. (Stop laughing, I’m trying to make a point here.)

There’s an adage among concealed carriers, “Concealed is Concealed”. If you don’t know I have a gun, neither does the criminal attacking me. In WA and many other states, a “No Guns” sign does not carry the force of law. (note, this map is outdated) I can safely and legally ignore a “No Guns” sign. Hell, criminals do all the time. Your “No guns” sign does not protect anyone.

The odds of actually having to use my gun in anger are slim to none. That’s a good thing. I don’t want to shoot anyone. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I might have to shoot someone.  But in that slim chance that I might ever be put into that situation, I carry one… for the same reason that I wear a seatbelt in a car, or a helmet on my bike. The odds are against legitimately needing my gun, but I don’t carry for the odds. I carry for the stakes… and if you don’t want me to carry in your store, I simply won’t go there, because I’d rather not be caught in a time where I need my gun and don’t have it.