In Alexandris, Virginia this fine fellow showed up at a local farmers market to assert his 2nd Amendment rights and make a display of his stance, his patriotism and his tricked out AR15. As a result he frightened people into calling the police and apparently drove off some potential customers from the honest merchants trying to make a living. The police of course, could do nothing because the man wasn’t breaking any laws.
Actions such as this are counter-productive. They do not persuade anyone that they should become ‘pro-gun.’ Very likely they have the opposite effect, scaring uninformed citizens into calling for legislation against such actions, and against private ownership of such weapons. In today’s political climate and given the spate of recent spree-shootings this man’s actions are a bad idea, arguably a very bad idea. It’s likely to produce exactly the sort of reaction among non-gun people that it is purportedly trying to prevent.
I’m a gun guy, am pretty well informed and have a background that would allow me to assess the potential threat here accurately. But most of the folks at that market didn’t have that ability- all they see is a man who, incongruously, is carrying exactly the sort of weapon the press has told them is used in spree-shootings, and doing so for no apparent reason.
In the 1960s the Black Panthers took to carrying long-guns to events to encourage people, specifically law enforcement, to behave themselves. They were alaso making a point that they, too, had rights under the 2nd Amendment and would exercise those rights in their own defense and the defense of their family, friends and neighbors. The result? The Gun Control Act of 1968, which was supported by the NRA by the way. In the current political climate this person and people like him are only adding fuel to the fire started by spree shooters, and are likely to form a part of inspiring the next major, nation-wide gun control law or laws. For which we will blame Liberals and Democrats instead of spree-shooters and people like this.
I have no problem with someone wearing a pistol in public. I think open-carry in such a venue is a tactical error, but to each his own. I myself open carry when hunting or other outdoor activities, and think nothing of walking into a rural store wearing a pistol in such circumstances. Typically the people present also think nothing of it. But in urban and suburban venues like my own neighborhood I carry concealed. The reasons that I do so are for the advantage of surprise and to avoid unnecessarily alarming my neighbors and the general public. To the majority of these folks the sight of a firearm, openly carried, is a signal that there is danger present. It would be nice to live in a place where this was not so, where the sight of an armed citizen was reassuring, but I do not live in that place, and neither does the person in this photo.
You may look at the photo above and see a patriot standing up for his rights and ours. The overwhelming majority of people present at that event saw a person they didn’t know carrying a dangerous weapon that they have been taught to associate with spree-skillers. Understandably this made them afraid or at least uncomfortable, and neither of these reactions are liable to persuade them to support our 2nd Amendment rights.
Personally I look at the photo and see a thoughtless attention whore trying to ‘scare the straights.’ The most likely result is that he will scare them straight into the ballot box to vote away our rights. As such this person is not my friend, ally or comrade in the struggle; he is an active threat to my rights.
Our 2nd Amendment rights are under an exceptionally high level of threat right now, and we are very likely to lose some of our rights. When we do I will blame this person and persons like him before I blame Democrats, ‘sheeple’ etc., because he should know better. Adults are supposed to assess the likely effects of their actions and work towards their desired outcome. Actions like this are counter to our interests and should not, in my opinion, be undertaken. The mere fact that we can do a thing does not mean that we must, or even should, do that thing.
If I see a person like this in such a venue I will approach them, present myself as a gun owner and proponent of 2nd Amendment rights and politely, respectfully, explain why I think their actions are counterproductive. I feel that as a responsible gun owner, 2nd Amendment supporter and adult it is my responsibility to do so. I do not anticipate a positive reaction, but I feel I should at least try. I hope that each of you will consider doing the same.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 11 september 2019