Yep, this was legal. yep, he was within his rights. Yep, this person and people like him are just as dangerous to our rights as anti-gun voters.

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

24 thoughts on “YOU. ARE. NOT. HELPING.

  1. Gary Wright

    Amen brother. I have the right to do as he does but i do not for the same reson. People are afraid enough now and with good reason. Too many morons in the world. I see no reason to carry my LR308 with my USMC Sniper Scope on it to impress anyone one, though it is my right, i refrain from it.
    Gary Wright
    Semper Fi

  2. Pingback: Friends Don’t Let Friends Open Carry | Active Response Training

  3. Front Porch Anarchast

    I don’t open carry a long gun, but this essay makes me want to. I don’t care when or what you think I should carry. If you feel the need to step up to me and give me an unsolicited opinion, be prepared for me to give you one as well. Then we will both have wasted our breath and neither one will be any better for the experience.

    Side with the gun grabbers if you wish, feeding them fuel by agreeing that guys who carry guns are just looking for attention. Remember, you, too, carry a gun.

    You can pacify them today by agreeing to cover it up. Tomorrow, you will be sitting on the back of the bus.

    1. tinker1066

      I don’t think that people who carry guns are looking for attention; it’s the last thing I want! But the person in the incident above was hurting our cause by unnecessarily alarming the public, which will bias them towards the anti-gun side of things. That affects us all, and if you think a realistic appreciation for the consequences of such actions is ‘siding with the anti-gunners’ then we will indeed be wasting each others time by discussing it. Thanks for sharing your opinion, and I hope you have a good week.

  4. WhiteNyte

    The media is the biggest culprit in making people scared of guns. You don’t hear about the CDC-estimated 500,000 to possibly as high as 3 million crimes that are deterred every year because of legal gun owners. You only hear about the times when there wasn’t a legally carried gun present and the crime was carried out.

    I agree that more people should open carry, both handguns as well as long guns. The normalcy of open carrying has gone by the wayside because of the gun regulations that have been put in place to restrict carrying to the point where you have to take it off and put it on depending on where you are going.

    If more people open carried (to answer the question of a previous commenter, yes at least a million) then it would begin to become normal again.

    I am an absolute supporter of the 2nd Amendment, even to some points that most “2A supporters” say “well, in such and such a case, they shouldn’t have firearms” and fully believe that if someone is open carrying and not committing a crime, they should be left alone…

    The Police did the right thing here in assessing whether or not he was acting in a threatening manner and leaving him be…

    Everyone else should do the same and mind their own business… Keep an eye on him, for sure, but if he is not threatening with it, leave him be… Even walk up to him and ask about the rifle and his purpose for carrying… some very interesting conversations are started when you ask questions rather than accusing…

    Just sayin’…

    1. tinker1066

      I agree the man was within his rights and the police acted correctly. I also maintain that this man and people like him actively harm our cause, as I expressed in my post. People should act as you say, but the problem is in the real world we have to deal with the consequences of what people actually do, not what they should do. In the situation in question people were needlessly alarmed, and that isn’t going to make them feel warm and fuzzy about gun owners. If you want to make a show of your 2nd amendment rights, educate people and sway them to support the 2nd amendment it would probably be more productive to secure a booth, distribute information and answer questions.

    2. House Llama

      You don’t hear about it because it is illegal to study it. Which is absolutely fucking bugnuts crazy. Those numbers you quoted are basically meaningless for a whole bunch of reasons, but the chief reason is that there is no real science behind it because even the government can’t (or rather won’t) study it.

      If you truly believe that carrying weapons is a good thing and that everyone should be allowed to do it, then suggest tha the NRA lobby to have the ban against studying gun violence removed. If it is really a good thing, you have nothing to fear.

      Otherwise, you are just spouting numbers with no meaning.

      1. A Wood

        You are incorrect sir. The CDC has never been barred from studying gun violence. They have been studying it for years. The numbers he listed above came from President Obama’s 10 million dollar 2013 CDC study on gun violence. Those are documented numbers. Link below discussing the study and it’s findings. The study has been widely ignored by the anti-gun crowd as it does not help their case.

        What you are referring to is the is the Dickey Amendment which blocked the CDC from pushing an anti-gun agenda. In the 1990’s the CDC officially made this statement.

        “We’re going to systematically build a case that owning firearms causes deaths. We’re doing the most we can do, given the political realities.” – P.W. O’Carroll, Acting Section Head of Division of Injury Control, CDC

        The actually said they were not going to study the facts and offer them to the people. They were going to make sure to twist the data in favor of banning guns. No federal agency such as the CDC should ever be allowed to push an agenda like this. That is not their purpose. The CDC intended to say guns were bad regardless of the facts. It is the same thing that the gun control organizations are doing today. They would have loved to have had the CDC push their agenda as it would validate their cause and agenda. The problem is all the real studies by the CDC do not back up their claims so they act like the CDC can’t study gun violence so people don’t even go look for what research the CDC has done. The CDC can study gun violence. It just can’t twist the data to push an agenda that does not accurately represent their findings.

        Obama’s 2013 CDC study findings.

        About the gun studies that never stopped.

  5. Pingback: The pushback against Open Carry Idiots continues.

  6. Eirik Blackwolf

    It’s like saying: “Oh, you can be gay, but you shouldn’t express your gayness in public, even though you legally can. You don’t want to annoy the straights into voting away your rights!”

    Fortunately you can’t just ‘vote away’ the 2nd Amendment, but I am assuming you knew that, right?

    As to your particular issue here, advocate for permitless concealed carry then, as you should know that in VA, to concealed carry legally you need a permit, but to open carry you do not. Not to mention there is no way to ‘conceal carry’ a rifle, so in essence you are defacto arguing for curtailing your legal right to be armed merely to satiate the fears of those ignorant of the law and disdainful of the rights of a free people.

    So while you have some salient points about the wisdom of his open carrying in that venue, your obvious disdain for his right to do so and your defense of those who are active enemies of ouir Constitution and Freedoms make me question your ‘logic’.

  7. John M. Buol Jr.

    >> “You may look at the photo above and see a patriot standing up for his rights and ours.”

    No, just an unhelpful attention seeker.

    The alleged point of open carry is to “desensitize” the general public to their fear of firearms but open carry can not possibly achieve this.

    Exposure therapy to a fear/phobia is a legitimate approach, however, it must be done in steps and gradually over time. The open carry approach to exposure is the foolish equivalent of unexpectantly dumping a cluster of spiders on an arachnophobe to allay their fear.

    Better approach: Organize a shooting event, publicize it and invite the general public, then promote the results in local, general media. Repeat many times. This exercises rights, puts them “behind glass” for the skittish, and makes them available for those more interested.

    The real solution is to create a new normalcy, where guns and shooting are considered a normal, typical thing that normal, typical people in the local community regularly do. It will take time, but it will eventually work.

  8. Dee

    I agree with this article 100% !! I am a strong supporter of our 2nd ammendment rights, but every time I see an obviously untrained, ignorant individual like this I know we are fighting an uphill battle to keep our rights.

  9. House Llama

    While I am rabidly anti gun, I applaud you on the fact that you did your research and actually proposed a plan that would indeed work. Your reasoning is sound, your plan is based in solid human behavior and proven techniques. I can even appreciate your end goal: to reduce the fear surrounding firearms. This is actually not a bad idea.

  10. Russell

    I was at “Shooters Roundup” here in Minnesota and many were open carrying. No one had a problem with it and I suggest that individuals with an irrational fear of guns avoid those situations.

  11. Clinton J Shaw

    In agreement. Jut because you can does not mean that you should. Common sense is key and it was surely missing there.

  12. Joe

    When I see, or hear about one of these idiots I tell this story.
    I man is walking down the street. He is about 40, well dressed, tassel loafers and all. He has no opinion of the gun issues of the day. They are simply not on his radar. He holds the hand of his daughter, a cute little kid about 5 years old. Approaching from the other direction is an open carrier with a rifle, dressed, well easy to figure out his camo pattern. As soon as they pass the little girl looks up at her Dad and asks, Daddy, is that man going to shoot me? So now the gun issue is on his radar, and you can bet he is not going to be friendly about it. He is being driven to vote against us, he is now a strong anti gun person. Now we have an enemy rather than a neutral, or don’t care, person. Is this what we want? How does this help our 2A rights? Story takes about 30 seconds to tell, and I think it works.
    Thanks for all you do!

  13. bart york

    Our local city fathers intended to enact a noise ordinance aimed at motorcycles with loud exhaust pipes. My brother-in-law, a motorcyclist with loud headers on his bike was furious.
    I explained to him that he had brought this action upon himself. He thought it was cool to disrupt
    an otherwise quiet neighborhood (mine) by rattling windows up and down the block every time he left our house. I told him that the little old lady up the block that he just scared the stuffing out of might just be the grandmother of a city counsel critter, and that his actions caused this issue.
    This is no different.
    If you go around scaring people, you will find that you have fewer allies. If we are to avoid the conflict that many see as inevitable, we need to stop doing ill advised things just because we can, because it is our “right”.


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