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Views From Around the Blogosphere

Some other viewpoints on the slung AR-15 at a rally incident:

Murdoc covers the story here, and here, largely in agreement with my position.  I also agree with Murdoc’s assessment of the potential gain from incidents like this.  I’m willing to take more risks with something that has the potential to greatly benefit the cause, like National Concealed Carry, or even National Open Carry, if Congress wanted to go that route.  But I just don’t see much upside potential to this for a lot of risk.

In contrast to Murdoc, Linoge takes great exception, and points out that the folks involved in this did everything right, from dress to disposition.  I actually agree with this portion.  I think the individuals who did this played their cards well.  I’m just not sure what I win in the end, and I see a great risk in encouraging other attention seekers to use this tactic.  Maybe I’m wrong and this will fizzle out, but what’s going to happen with some other fringe groups wants to use this to attract the cameras?

Jeff Soyer initially think it’s not helpful, but then softens his opinion based on how the White House handled it.  I think the reaction on the part of the White House was smart.  I think if the Administration had alluded to being displeased, or upset, it would probably mean more of these incidents would happen.  The White House’s goal is to take the message for their health plan to the public, and this is a distraction.

Instapundit covers a lot of reaction, and thinks the press is overreacting.  Certainly they are overreacting, because they think this kind of crap will get people to consume whatever media they are selling, and the more sensational the better.

Dave Hardy suggests maybe carrying rifles to rallies isn’t such a bad idea, but thinks these guys pulled it off very well, and hilariously suggests they do Monty Python or BlackAdder.

Robb takes pretty strong disagreement to those of us who think this isn’t the best public relations strategy for gun rights.  I’m not against people open carrying generally, and if this guy had just been some poor schlob who got picked out of the crowd by the media because he was openly carrying a firearm, I would have been sympathetic.  But I think there’s a difference between that, and strapping on, and going out and looking for the cameras to push issues only tangentially related to gun rights.  In short, I think open carry as a form of activism doesn’t have that much upside.  I’m not sure what I get in the end.  If people want to do it, it’s your right, but I don’t think it’s a great public relations tool for the cause.

UPDATE: More from Exurban Kevin and The Arizina Rifleman

UPDATE: Gun Nuts Radio had a whole show on this, which I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to yet.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer

24 Responses to “Views From Around the Blogosphere”

  1. Robb Allen says:

    One – my pingback system I wrote over the weekend worked. COOL!

    Two, we’re going to have to disagree on the PR aspect. I can’t see how this could have gone any better. The legacy media hates us and will portray us as loons any chance they got. Chris shattered the stereotype and forced the major media players to ‘twist’ the facts to fit the narrative. People are starting to see through that.

    Some also seem to be forgetting these guys were OC activists. Meaning, they OC whenever they can – the mall, playgrounds, or in this instance, a political rally. And the fact remains they are going to continue to do so, and I personally think it is in our best interest to support them because it lends credibility to us when we talk about how the vast majority of gun owners are decent people.

  2. Murdoc says:

    Good round-up. A point that should be made is that (I think) all the pro-gun types who are not really in favor of this particular behavior actually LIKE the idea of being able to open carry at events and LIKE the idea of people being educated a bit about what’s legal. I know I do. It’s the risk of things going bad or the risk of one lone nutjob (or plant from the other side) painting the entire gun community with an incident of some sort that we’re concerned about.

    Whatever the exact reasons for whoever’s opinion on this, it’s important that we remember we’re all on the same side. We all want the same thing, even if the exact details of how about getting it aren’t always identical.

  3. Murdoc says:

    I can’t see how this could have gone any better.

    I agree 100%.

    Now all that has to happen is the next 1,000 times also go just as well. If all 1,000 times go just as well, we’ll be about where we are today. Maybe a little headway, but not any more than the media will allow.

    If only 999 of the next 1,000 times go well, we could be all screwed for years.

    I don’t think anyone is looking back and saying “That went badly.” I think they’re saying “This could become a trend that could lead to something bad if it gets out of control.”

  4. Skullz says:

    This is might be a blog faux pas, so please excuse it. Same comment left on the 240 million post.

    I woke up this morning and the world was backwards!

    It’s got to be close to the end of times when a 2A blogger is worried about guns at political events and the…

    White House Backs Right to Arms Outside Obama Events

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/18/AR2009081803416.html?hpid=topnews

    {Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said people are entitled to carry weapons outside such events if local laws allow it. “There are laws that govern firearms that are done state or locally,” he said. “Those laws don’t change when the president comes to your state or locality.” }

    Read it again, Sebastian. The White House backs our 2A rights – and in this case, you do not.

    What I find even more interesting and surprising is that if a “normal” person, with no evil intent had not decided to carry a rifle to a political event, the White House would have never been put in the position of making this statement. At the end of the day, the White House has taken another, rather large, chink out of the armor of the Bradys and other like minded pants-wetters.

    I would argue that the actions of a few rightfully armed citizens attending rallies and exercising their 1st and 2nd amendments have done more to normalize the external view of the gun owner than anything else since Heller. A lot more.

    And the opportunity to be supportive and act with one voice has been squandered by a number of new media outlets. While the Brady campaign is being shown to be more and more irrelevant, the division in the online 2A community has unintentionally (I hope) provided fodder for the antis to exploit the division in our ranks.

  5. Robb Allen says:

    Murdoc, I can’t agree with that. I didn’t read in the news today about the hundreds of thousands of people who safely drove into work today. I did read about a fatal 5 car pileup*. Somehow, the bad news about the busload of orphans getting killed in the wreckage doesn’t seem to diminish the utility of driving.

    The reason being is that the 999 times is quite evident by drivers, even if the news doesn’t report it. That’s the same thing here.

    Finally, an agent provocateur doesn’t need us to gather to cause problems. We have no control over someone willing to run a false flag operation. We can only point them out when discovered. This is the same as saying we shouldn’t have the NRA because AHSA might do something that makes them look bad.

    It is in our best interest to drown out any troublemakers by continuing to carry our weapons peacefully. I can’t openly let people know I have a gun because I’m in Florida, but I do no shy away from talking about them when I can. It helps to remind people that it *is* nothing to be concerned about.

    *Example only. I have no idea if there was a wreck this morning.

  6. Murdoc says:

    Read it again, Sebastian. The White House backs our 2A rights – and in this case, you do not.

    See, that’s what I was alluding to. I don’t see anything anywhere indicating that Sebastian is against the 2A or not backing the 2A. I don’t even see anything anywhere where he says it should be illegal to carry to these events.

    I would argue that the actions of a few rightfully armed citizens attending rallies and exercising their 1st and 2nd amendments have done more to normalize the external view of the gun owner than anything else since Heller. A lot more.

    I might agree with you. Today. What if something bad happens this afternoon? Will we be saying “I would argue that the actions of one guy attending a rally has done more to damage the external view of gun owners than anything else since Columbine”?

    What’s happened so far has been good. If a few more good things happen, that will (obviously) also bee good. If it grows into a fad the risk of it suddenly becoming bad will grow significantly.

    As often happens in debates of important issues, arguing against one extreme position gives the impression that the arguer holds the other extreme position. That is not the case. If I don’t think it’s GREAT that people are doing this, it doesn’t mean I (or Sebastian, for that matter) think it’s TERRIBLE. So don’t pretend it does.

  7. Sebastian says:

    I love how me saying maybe this isn’t such a great public relations strategy turns into me not supporting the Second Amendment. Where did I advocate the government making open carry illegal? At what point did those words leave my fingers?

    He has a right to open carry. I support that right. I support expanding that right. My issue is I think these kinds of stunts put that agenda in jeopardy. Remember how California lost open carry. And that’s not to mention a lot of civil unrest, threats of political violence, and several high profile of assassination put the public and politicians in the mood for gun control, giving us GCA ’68.

    This incident seems to be petering out without too much damage. In this case, I’m glad to be wrong. But will there be more of these people? What views will they represent? And what happens if, God forbid, something happens to Obama? Think the press won’t try to tie it to these incidents?

  8. RAH says:

    This disgreement about OC in the gun community reminds me of the disagreement on gun rights by the hunters,They think their rifles are OK but gun carry is not and that black rifles are not.

    WE castigate their failure to support gun rights. Lets not fall into that same pattern.

    Gun carry anywhere and anyhow should be our mantra.

    Murdoc contention that there may be crazies that starts shooting will reflect on the gunrights community. Well there are criminals who use guns and shoot people. That has not hurt the gun rights community.

    The real point if a person goes nuts and shoots whether he was a good person up to that point or not, there will be others to take him down.

    Choi bought his guns legally and went mad at VT. the antigunners have being trying to use that and have FAILED.. The real message that Katrina and VT was that it is better to have a gun than not. That supports our positions.

    Chris in AZ message was very good. He dressed in dress clothes and wore a tie. He looked llike nerd with glasses. He is black and carried the “evil black AR 15” slung over the shoulder and “not ready ” position. It was unloaded. Police were there in case others hassled the OCers. They had the police there to protect their rights of OC.

    Sebastian that is all a win, not a loss. Yes, bad things can happen but lets not obsess over that and refuse to push for out rights because bad things could happen.

    Crap if we think the trend lines is that more people will OC and that because of more guns more shootings will happen then we have accepted their arguments.

    Robb is right. Even the Whitehouse accepted that. I like Dave Hardy title that Brady people should shop their resumes except they no longer have but one and two people.

  9. I’ve been pondering my p.o.v. about this. But since I’m from a State that doesn’t allow legal carry, open or not, I’m not sure if I can have an unbiased view. The collective conscious of NJ is carry guns is bad across the board, and actually, it seems like only a microcosm of gun owners in NJ actually want CCW. You can see how NJ’s state of mind seeps into everything.

    Part of me says God Bless Him!!

    The other part says, maybe not such a good idea.

    Then again, he does shatter that white redneck christian hillbilly gun nut image, so…..who knows.

  10. Murdoc says:

    Robb: That’s not a good comparison at all. The press would not report a traffic incident as relating to car ownership the same way they’d report a gun incident as relating to gun ownership.

    Again, for the record, my position is not “people shouldn’t do this” and it’s certainly not “this should be illegal.” My position is “proceed with caution”.

  11. ExurbanKevin says:

    My opinion (http://exurbanleague.com/2009/08/18/its-legal-but-is-it-wise.aspx) is that the firearms involved have become the story, and not the causes themselves. As a shooter and Arizona resident, open carry is no biggie to me, (though I don’t do it myself outside of camping trips), but it does freak out the media, even here.

    What do you want the story to be: Your gun, or your cause?

  12. Caleb says:

    Hey, we talked about this on Gun Nuts last night, and no link? What am I, chopped liver?

    In a side note, I cannot believe the WH came out and basically said “chill out dogs, those guys aren’t breaking the law”. It has to SUUUUUUCKKKK to be Paul Helmke this morning.

  13. Murdoc says:

    Part of me says God Bless Him!!

    The other part says, maybe not such a good idea.

    Then again, he does shatter that white redneck christian hillbilly gun nut image, so…..who knows.

    This.

  14. LFS says:

    Why is there a fear that something bad may happen at a political rally? Either we trust that citizens can open carry or we do not — regardless of the venue. Bad things could happen with an open carry incident in a movie theatre, a playground, a restaurant, etc… but we trust that the benefits outweigh the risks.

  15. Sebastian says:

    Murdoc contention that there may be crazies that starts shooting will reflect on the gunrights community. Well there are criminals who use guns and shoot people. That has not hurt the gun rights community.

    So the Brady Act, One-Gun-A-Month schemes, Lost & Stolen schemes, the proposals go close gun show loophole…. all purportedly to reduce crime are a figment of my imagination then?

  16. Caleb says:

    Guys. Why are we not focusing on how sad Paul Helmke is today?

  17. RAH says:

    Brady bill was the height of the gun control suceess in the 1970’s. Because those of us who supported guns did not speak out they suceeded. No more.

    NJ suffers from cowardice on the gunrights community to resist gun restrictions. If NJ gunrights community operated as VCDL to change the laws in their favor the the one gun a month rule may not have suceeded. The VA GOP candidate has said he regrets the one gun a month rule. He was supported by VCDL in past elections and he has progressed to stronger support of gunrights.

    Lost and stolen is a new tactic. Use Aliinsky against these supporters. Demonize, use ridicule against those that support this.Did the PA gun rights community attend the town councils that approved Lost and Stolen and argue against it? If so I never read any thing.

    Those who have standing take these towns to court since it violates premeption. Refuse to obey an ilegal law.

    These are tactics and endruns because the antigun forces lost the big battle that we do have a right to have a gun.

    I have yet to see an effective organizarion such as VCDL in PA., partially because the gun carry organizations are not for OC they prefer CCW and do not support OC with whole heart.

    Gun rights activists pushed for CCW and then rested. They are protected so those who do not have a permit are left to twist.

    OC is pushing for Texas to approve. Tenn has had sucesses. They focused on getting the right people elected.

    Your new focus on the mayors is a good tactic to fight back.

    The Brady bunch are the old enemy and they have been mostly defeated. Bloomberg is the new enemy.,If we are effective taking down his mayors,then we neuter him.

    I do not say you are anti gun rights or even anti OC. But your blog also continually argues against OC as a political tactic.

    You blog is a political tool. So what is wrong with political demonstrations? Do you think OC is bad? If not then support those who go into battle supporting OC by carrying and figting the police hassles.

    So do you think that it would be better if OC is accepted or not? If so then support those who do it.

  18. Sebastian says:

    I do not say you are anti gun rights or even anti OC. But your blog also continually argues against OC as a political tactic.

    Yes, I do. Because I don’t think it’s a good one. I accept many people don’t agree with me on that, though… and it’s not going to suddenly cause me to stop favoring it being legal, or making it legal (TX and FL) where it’s currently not. But I don’t hide that I don’t think it’s effective activism.

  19. Sebastian says:

    I just don’t think OC conveys enough information to people to persuade or educate, and I think the movement attracts a lot of people who are just attention seeking. If someone wants to open carry because it’s more comfortable, or because their state restricts or prohibits concealed carry, I think that’s a reasonable reason to open carry. I have no problem with that. I just don’t think the practice advances the cause much.

    The argument that it promotes the social acceptance of guns in society is an interesting one, and often made by open carry folks. I’m still on the fence about that. I could be convinced it’s effective. But I’m not convinced enough people are going to open carry in places like Pennsylvania to really make a difference in that regard. It’s tough to convince a large number of people to put up with the downsides of not carrying concealed.

  20. Robb Allen says:

    Sebastian, since you work closer in the PR field that I do, and I’m not saying this sarcastically or snotty, but do you have proof that these events are causing harm?

    Can you illustrate a turn from support for the 2A that coincides with OC activism? Because all I’m getting right now is that you feel it hurts, but have given no concrete proof of it.

    Even where it is legal, it is rare, so any OC is bound to cause stares. However, bi racial marriages are also rare, and people tend to notice the black guy with the lily white wife. But the difference is, as rare as it is, it’s accepted and it was done so by people simply being out in public showing affection to someone not of the same skin tones. That didn’t convey a whole marketing brochure’s worth of literature either.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting 100% stock in OC being the silver bullet to push gun rights all the way, but I see no harm in it at all, even when done like these gentlemen did. Let the news try to portray us as a bunch of angry white men with guns and a hatred of “The Other”. It’s pretty easy to prove them wrong to a rather large audience.

  21. Sebastian says:

    I don’t really have any real proof that it hurts. You’d have to do focus group studies on the issue to see how the public really reacts to it, and to the best of my knowledge, no one has done any such study. And even focus groups studies can show biased results. Polling attitudes can get you an idea too, but much is dependent on how you ask the question.

    In these kinds of matters there’s never really absolute truth or certainty. If you’re successful, each faction will take credit for the success, and if you’re a failure, each faction will blame the other. Did the Civil Right Movement succeed because of the non-violent King faction? Because the Black Panthers scared the shit out of whitey? Would Civil Rights have come faster if it wasn’t for all the political violence? I have my views on the matter, but can you say for certain the Black Panthers helped or hurt? I tend to doubt it.

    But I also think there’s a difference between just going out and OCing, and using it as a tool for activism, and I’m supportive of the former and not the latter. My reasons for being skeptical of it aren’t based on concrete facts, I will admit it. It just doesn’t make any sense to me based on how people generally think about topics, and based on how the media treats the issue. It’s very difficult to convey information to the public at large, and in the public sphere. It’s a soundbite world. I think the way the media covers the issue tends to send out memes and soundbites that people have little context to be able to put it in perspective. You get a lot of focus on the gun, which someone who does not own guns has no tools to understand. You get a lot of focus on “Why would someone do this?” which people who do not carry guns have a difficult time understanding. I don’t think it’s good to have the public dismissing the issue as attention whoring or kookery. In short, as a method of activism, I think there are too many things that distract people from the message of guns being used by ordinary average people for self-protection.

  22. RAH says:

    I understand your point about show offs and those that do can be unsafe possibly. So far those that do OC have been very careful.

    The same fear was about CCW permits and the history has shown that most of those people are safe to carry firearms.

    Carry provisions are really a matter of convenience. Robb beng in a hot climate wants OC since that is more convenient. I want carry so I can have one on my leg when I am riding or in a purse when traveling by car and in cities.

    I just want the laws to allow carry whether open or concealed. I do not want to have to get a permit to do so. I do not think we can get to that in most states, unlike Alaska which was a very pro gun state to start with, unless we show to the publice that carry is safe. CCW does not promote that since it is not seen. Only OC can promote that.

    Cases like Insty had where the guy had an empty holster and was told he could carry and others at th restaurant becomes used to seeing a person carrying and going about their business.

    OC at rallies if more common and nothing bad happening would help that message to the public at large.

    The case in Seattle though where one guy grabbed the gun and innocents got hurt was bad. The gun carrier had a permit but got into an arguement that went bad.

    Really the fault was on the other person who disagreed with the gun carry.

    The Az rifle guy was prepared for that possibility since he had a possible hostile ACORN crowd. Instead their precaution worked and no issue occured.

    The more common OCbecomes the more used to it they get. I believe that Kevin Baker found that out in AZ and so did Breda.

    Will Pa gun folks carry OC more , Maybe, it has been increasing in the last 20 years.

    I do not see unicorns in MD since no one has carry permits. I do not see it that much in Va but I am not there much. But people have heard accounts and getting to know it is allowed and OK.

    Va gun rights have been expanding even with a Democratic governor and two Democratic Senators. Those politicain have accepted the pro gun rights. Did VCSL have any impact, I think so. Do VCDL carry OC?, Yes they do at meetings to make a political statement and at restuarants since that was law.

    Va was trending blue, PA is also. But Pa gun rights have not been as effective. Sucess breeds sucess.
    PA OC people have been vindicated in court , That was important.

    If Greg Rotz and those start attending the meetngs at the towns and getting organized with strong supporters who show up that would be more effective.

  23. I posted about this yesterday too in a more general sense and like Sebastian questioned the PR value of these displays. I followed up today by posting the video of the gentleman carrying the AR-15. I agree he did everything right from his dress to how he spoke about the issue and in this case I don’t believe he hurt the cause. He did not do what I warned against yesterday – playing into the anti-gun stereotype. That however is not always the case with all of these situations.

  24. T-Town says:

    I was at a barbeque in Tulsa this weekend and we were talking about people with guns at the town hall meetings. One of the guys there was the head of the TSA at the Tulsa airport. He said “A guy can express his rights by going around goosestepping and people will just think he’s a nut. But carrying a gun to a meeting with a congressman automatically gets him on the No-Fly List.”

    I don’t know if he was just joking but it didn’t sound like it.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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