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Winning Hearts and Minds in Scranton

Glad to see the open carry folks winning over more hearts and minds in Scranton. Whatever they had to say about lost and stolen was lost in the distraction of having a need to open carry firearms, no matter what the circumstance.

For a while I started to be brought around, but I’m becoming more convinced it’s just damaging the movement. I will continue to support open carry being legal, I just don’t think it has any place in Second Amendment activism. Open carry activists have a lot of energy, and they are willing to show up, and that alone puts them ahead of 98% of gun owners. But I think the open carry shit is distracting, and is taking away from what otherwise would be amazingly effective activism. Instead of having media stories about gun owners opposing lost and stolen, you have media stories about people showing up openly armed.

62 Responses to “Winning Hearts and Minds in Scranton”

  1. jetfxr69 says:

    Sebastian,

    You know there are folks who don’t carry concealed because they don’t want to go through the permitting process, right? Or, because, like me, they have about three different “homes” due to working away from family, and therefore the permitting authorities (Sheriff, State Police, what have you) look askance at “residence” answers that have more than one answer? Should I carry concealed (illegally) to satisfy your desire no one scare the white people? Or should I voluntarily disarm, and potentially suffer the consequences?

    The “movement” has a goal of what, exactly? Yes, I think the lost and stolen crap is just that, but so is the assumption that a “person with a gun” has evil in their hearts.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I should note there’s a distinction between open carry as a method of, well, carry, and open carry as a method of activism. I support the former, but do not support the latter.

  3. Skullz says:

    Sebastian,

    You’re on the PAFOA boards. You know as well as I do that most of the folks that showed up while open carrying (Rich Banks is noted in the article) carry open every day of their lives. They OC at the grocery, the bank, Home Depot, wherever. So why does it become an issue when they attend a public meeting? Let the press twist it, they are going to twist it no matter what and you know it.

    Your point about the OC movement being 98% ahead of other gun owners is right. Why would you want to sideline them? Especially when, the way I see it, you need them a lot more than they need you.

  4. Sebastian says:

    So why does it become an issue when they attend a public meeting?

    Because the media is there, and you don’t want your message drowned out by the sound your openly carried guns are making. It’s just not effective activism.

  5. Sebastian says:

    When you step onto the public stage, that’s an entirely different type of act than going to the grocery store.

  6. Sebastian says:

    But you know, thinking about it, maybe it’s time I admit I don’t really support open carry as a carry method either, unless you just don’t have an alternative.

  7. Skullz says:

    So apply that though to every other facet of life.

    Because someone is tattooed, and that frightens or disturbs some people, shall they cover up only when they go to a public meeting?

    Shall a cross dressing man that wears a skirt an heals every day wear jeans a sneakers when attending a public meeting?

    I don’t disagree that there are those in the OC community that participate because they think there is “shock value”. But I bet that the foks that were there would be familiar names to us (from the PAFOA board). Why should they have to change their daily routine to cowtow to their public SERVANTS or the media?

    Again, you know the media would have spun this about gun owners even if not a single gun owner even carried to the meeting, concealed or open.

  8. Carl in Chicago says:

    Divided we fall, united we stand.

    This knife cuts both ways. Open carriers need to be less in-your-face, while anti-open carriers need to be less critical.

  9. Skullz says:

    “But you know, thinking about it, maybe it’s time I admit I don’t really support open carry as a carry method either, unless you just don’t have an alternative.”

    2nd Amendment advocate when it suits you, huh? If that’s your deal, then we are not “on the same side”.

    Full disclosure – I’m in PA, I don’t OC – because it’s my preference to CC. But I’ll be damned if I support taking that choice away from anyone else.

  10. “Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

  11. I would strongly encourage anyone who doesn’t understand the point Sebastian is trying to make read “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alisnky (which Sebastian has written about many times.)

    The points he make in this book directly address what the OC movement is trying to accomplish, but slightly missing the mark on (at least in Sebastian’s opinion and to a certain extent mine as well.)

    If our movement can’t learn from successful movements of the past and can not recognize when missteps are made, we are doomed from the start.

    Daniel Pehrson
    Founder & President
    Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association

  12. Sebastian says:

    Because someone is tattooed, and that frightens or disturbs some people, shall they cover up only when they go to a public meeting?

    Many employers require this for that very reason.

    Shall a cross dressing man that wears a skirt an heals every day wear jeans a sneakers when attending a public meeting?

    No, but I wouldn’t argue that his activism is effective.

    I am not in any way, shape or form advocating open carry being illegal. I think it should be legal in all 50 states. I’m just saying if you do it, don’t pretend like you’re doing something great for the Second Amendment, because I don’t think you are. If you want to carry that way because it’s more comfortable, knock yourself out, but you’re not changing anyone’s hearts or minds because it does not convey enough information to people who are on the fence about it.

  13. Sebastian says:

    Open carriers need to be less in-your-face, while anti-open carriers need to be less critical.

    If the former happened, you’d see a lot less of the latter. I applaud the open carry guys for showing up. That’s something most gun owners aren’t willing to do. But I think they let their message get diluted by showing up openly armed. There are just times when you need to be more discreet.

  14. Mike w. says:

    Sebastian, here’s another article in the Scranton Edition on the meeting.

    http://www.timesleader.com/scrantonedition/news/Gun_owners_fired_up_over_proposal_10-04-2009.html?searchterm=firearms

    I really don’t have any problem with folks showing up at a meeting armed as long as they’re being civil & decent while voicing their concerns.

  15. Skullz says:

    Dan,

    “I would strongly encourage anyone who doesn’t understand the point Sebastian is trying to make read “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alisnky.”

    I’ve read it, I still don’t get his point. If anything, these particular gun owners are overwhelming the system – which is exactly what Alinsky talks about.

    “If our movement can’t learn from successful movements of the past and can not recognize when missteps are made, we are doomed from the start.”

    How do you call the results of the meeting unsuccessful? Concerned citizens showed up, addressed the issue, and got it tabled. There was no violence, there were no threats, there was no negative outcome. We’re also talking about the same group of people who have had major successes in getting illegal rules removed from parks, proper training deployed to police departments across the sate. Where is the fail?

    “If our movement can’t learn from successful movements of the past and can not recognize when missteps are made, we are doomed from the start.”

    Exactly – but Sebastian has got it backwards.

    Sebastian,

    “Many employers require this for that very reason.”

    Keyword is employers. Employment is at will, and on privately owned and operated properly. If an employer wanted every employee to wear pink tuts and combat boots, they would be well within their rights. Our public servants on our public property do not have that right or ability.

    “I’m just saying if you do it, don’t pretend like you’re doing something great for the Second Amendment, because I don’t think you are.”

    opencarry.org can point to a number of major wins for the 2A movement. paopencarry.org can point to a number of specific wins in PA for state gun rights. Which wins can you point to?

    “I applaud the open carry guys for showing up”

    You can’t possibly say that with a straight face after writing: “But you know, thinking about it, maybe it’s time I admit I don’t really support open carry as a carry method either, unless you just don’t have an alternative.” can you?

    It’s almost like someone has kidnapped Sebastian or hacked SIH. You’re basically using the same arguemtn that AHSA has against EBRs!

  16. Mike w. says:

    But I’ll be damned if I support taking that choice away from anyone else.

    I don’t see Sebastian advocating doing so.

  17. Sebastian says:

    Mike w:

    But look at the overall result. The council did table the bill to look into the legality of it. That’s a great achievement, but now you have council members bellyaching that the state needs to do something about guns at public meetings. That could be have been entirely averted with a bit of discretion exercised. I know it’s legal and their right to carry openly at a city council meeting, and I support that being the case, but it’s not always the best tactic to just exercise it everywhere, no more than it would be a wise tactic to, going back to the Cramer article, for gays to show up to oppose, say, the closing of a gay bar, and make out during the council meeting. That would also be their right, and legal, but it wouldn’t be effective. That’s what I’m getting at essentially.

  18. Skullz, you have to remember the many parts where Saul says in absolutely no uncertain terms that you must work within the comfort level of the general population. He was a harsh critic of radical leftists who wanted to “crash the system” by doing things such as burning the flag. All that did was alienate the very people you need to convert to your side to gain and keep a majority of public opinion.

    The meeting was not “unsuccessful” as a whole, but there are a few “unsuccessful” points:
    1) The majority of the article was not on opposition to Lost & stolen (a major threat to Preemption in our state) but on how upset people were about Open Carry.
    2) You have the Council President saying “The message could have been sent without the display.” He’s telling you directly that there was a more effective way to get the point across.
    3) The Council President “suggested city officials should examine the matter and devise a method to prevent people from bringing weapons into future meetings…” and “…urged that state lawmakers should revisit the law concerning public meetings.”

    The meeting was about Lost & Stolen, we needed gun owners to show up and make an issue about the illegality and problems related to Lost & Stolen. Instead the issue (fair or not) became Open Carry (which is already completely legal) and only served to distract from the former and focus negative attention on the latter. In politics you should NEVER mix two messages into one action.

    If the OC activists can’t see why this is a problem then I’m not sure what I, or anyone for that matter, can do to help.

  19. Skullz says:

    “I don’t see Sebastian advocating doing so.”

    Ok, I’ll give you that Sebastian did not come out and say “No open carry!”

    But it’s implied that if you “do not support” somehting, you’re against it. Rather than saying “I don’t care” which would mean that one takes no position on the topic.

  20. Skullz,

    What people are confusing is the difference between supporting open carry and supporting open carry as a swiss-army solution to every single gun rights issue.

    Sebastian supports Open Carry as a fundamental human right, however he thinks it has very little value as an activism tool, especially in Pennsylvania. I tend to agree with him.

  21. Sebastian says:

    But it’s implied that if you “do not support” somehting, you’re against it. Rather than saying “I don’t care” which would mean that one takes no position on the topic.

    I wouldn’t say I “support” abortion, but I certainly don’t think it should be illegal. You can support the legality and right of someone to do something but still not entirely support the behavior. I don’t support the homeless guy on the corner with the bullhorn preaching the end of the world either, but I support his right to do so. Is he effective at getting his message out? That’s a matter for debate.

  22. Skullz says:

    “What people are confusing is the difference between supporting open carry and supporting open carry as a swiss-army solution to every single gun rights issue.”

    Maybe there are those that do see it that way. i do not, and I do not think that Rich and the other more vocal proponents see it as a be all end all solution.

    “Sebastian supports Open Carry as a fundamental human right”

    Maybe we’re reading his staement two different ways. but I would say that some of the other gun blogs picking this up see it the way I do.

    He said he does not support open carry unless there is no other way to carry. That does not seem to me to be a freedom and choice based support.

  23. DirtCrashr says:

    Well, I can’t do either here in CA.

  24. alan says:

    I wasn’t there, but I haven’t read anything that leads me to believe this was an organized open carry event. Unless it was the whole “little value as an activism tool” is meaningless.

    People had guns at the meeting some open carrying, some concealed just like they would anywhere else. If I were to open carry everywhere I go, should I be expected to NOT open carry just because someone might be offended?

    That’s not how civil rights work.

  25. Sebastian says:

    I said that mostly out of frustration that my point was apparently lost. I support open carry being legal, and if someone wants to do it, I don’t really give a shit, but I just don’t think it really does anything to advance gun rights, and in the wrong situation, can outright hurt it.

  26. Sebastian says:
    “The council did table the bill to look into the legality of it. That’s a great achievement, but now you have council members bellyaching that the state needs to do something about guns at public meetings.”

    I understand that we, as a group, need to minimize negative effects to the movement’s larger goal, but to expect people to relinquish a fundamental right to do so is not only asking too much, but is in and of itself counter to those goals. It doesn’t matter if the council wants to discuss a “no OC at council meetings” ordinance or not if we, as a group, voluntarily choose to give up those rights. We always hear that a “right not exercised is a right lost”, and that is exactly what’s going on here. If people don’t want to OC because of personal reasons, that’s their choice. But, to tell anyone, especially those actively participating in the movement that they shouldn’t OC with the goal of preventing an issue, we ideologically lose, because we’ve catered to the sensitivities of such individuals at the expense of our rights before it’s even a discussion.

    Let them bellyache and attempt all they want to distract and deflect. When they do, they’ll be reminded by the same folks that any such suggestions are prevented by the same state preemption law that prevents them from passing lost and stolen. All of these bad ideas can be countered by that one item in the law.

  27. Sebastian says:

    I’ve heard the “right not exercised is a right lost” argument for a while now, but there are many ways to exercise a right. Open carry is not the entire scope of the Second Amendment, and it’s not even the most important debate, currently, since it’s legal most places in some form or another.

  28. Sean Sorrentino says:

    3) The Council President “suggested city officials should examine the matter and devise a method to prevent people from bringing weapons into future meetings…”

    So basically the City Council will find out that unless they hold their meetings in a Courthouse, they’ll get nowhere.

    the basic thing all the “Don’t Scare the White People” are missing is that the people you are “scaring” is the MEDIA. you are making the mistake of trying to get the media to like you. newsflash—they hate you. they will always hate you. stop trying to make them love you ’cause it won’t work.

    you might make yourself momentarily useful to them (like McCain) because you slap your own side around, but when you oppose their agenda the next day, under the bus you go. Like McCain, they like you primarily because you give good concession speeches.

    Stop trying to judge your effectiveness by how much you like your own reflection in the media’s funhouse mirror. this is especially true when you see the media being the willing accomplice of elected officials trying to change the subject from “we want to break the law,” to “you meanies, you’re scaring me.”

  29. Caleb says:

    But it’s implied that if you “do not support” somehting, you’re against it.

    That’s not correct – you are inferring that if he does not support something that he’s against it. He did not imply anything along those lines.

    For example, if I say “I do not support Obama’s Universal Healtcare”, and you take that to mean that I am actively opposed or against it, that would be a false inferrence on your part, regardless of my actual support or lack thereof of said Uni-Health.

  30. Carl from Chicago says:

    Nothing like a disagreement and ensuing fight to fuck up a very good thing.

    Dawns on me that’s why there are so many frigging kinds of churches around. Church people never seem to get along well, and they all want to start their own group.

    Dawns on me that gun people can be like that, too (to our detriment).

  31. gnbrotz says:

    So where were all the concealed carriers willing to take a stand on this issue?

    I thought your philosophy was that the best was to advance open carry was for folks to simply do it as they go about their normal routine. Or doesn’t that apply if they do things like attend public meetings or children’s soccer games?

  32. Rich Banks says:

    I really don’t have the time to read all the replies here or devote to a long explanation but since my name has been brought up I figured I’d throw my quick two cents in.

    I have to say that to suggest It’s OK if I choose to OC everywhere (as I do) but to hide it from the media is just ridiculous. Those that do not OC regularly may not see the inroads being made by OC. Those that do OC may or may not see all the potential problems that could need addressed as have been mentioned here. Despite the never ending debate that will ensure over those different points of view, In the end, I feel the conversation accomplishes nothing if we do not have it. That’s why I will never hide my carry preference in the face of the media.

    As for the Council chair’s opinion. So what? He is one person who made a suggestion. Many people will suggest the opposite. Additionally, he is rabidly anti-gun. OC to the council meeting will have no effect either way on that (him).

    So don’t take my comments the wrong way. I respect folks opinion in disagreeing with me. And lots do, I’m sure there are very few empty seats on the “they’re going to ruin it for everyone” train. But I have my own opinion and as a result, we did it our way, but at least we did it. And we will follow up as needed, including in the media.

  33. Carl from Chicago says:

    Frankly, this all sounds so familiar. I realize most people are NOT like I describe below … and thus this message is not for most people. But a few seem to be doing the following:

    Open carriers chastizing concealed carriers for NOT open carrying.

    Concealed carriers chastizing open carriers for NOT concealed carrying.

    And each “group” or individual becoming increasingly intolerant of the other. Damn, how about a little appeal to individual choices, here?

    People, we have to remember that it’s the Brady’s and those like them who are the ones advocating no choice at all. I thought we generally advocated being able to chose what you wanted to do, and how you wanted to do it, long as it complied with the law and was generally respectful of ourselves and each other?

    Sometimes, I wish we could just relax and live a little bit, and quit finding the boogeyman in every damned thing to come down the pike. It is possible to take one’s self way to damned seriously.

  34. markofafreeman says:

    Carl from Chicago: “Open carriers chastizing concealed carriers for NOT open carrying.”

    I haven’t seen any of that. Only the reverse. And I wouldn’t put a lot of people into hard categories of “Open Carriers” and “Concealed Carriers.” We carry in a mode suited for the situation and/or our individual demeanors. We just don’t appear to be in agreement regarding how the situational assessment is made.

  35. Roberta X says:

    This is a disappointment and I say that as someone who never open carries. I’d like to feel free to exercise that option; it’s certainly lega here in Indiana.

    I’m reminded of photos of the pre-Stonewall gay rights types, all the men with neat, short hair and wearing conservative suits, all the women in dresses, hose and nice shoes, with carefully-coiffed hair, politely carrying neatly-printed signs saying mild, inoffensive things like “I Am A Human Being.” …And onlookers snickering. They got nowhere at all until a loud, unruly bunch of losers and outcasts got into a multi-day riot and all over the headlines. I don’t approve of riots and I happen to have a low opinion of freaks and weirdos but I don’t think being far-out means people are thrid-class citizens to be pushed around at will — and without the increased visibility that came from not being polite and neat and well-groomed, I’m not so sure those folks would not still be getting pushed around at whim by civil authorities, marginalized prey to all manner of shady types.

    I’m reminded that it took black citizens showing up at segregated lunch counters and movie theaters to gain any traction on civil rights, that it took a tired, stubborn seamstress getting in trouble on public transit to bring the back-of-the-bus injustice before the public eye; I’m not so sure things would have changed so quickly that in my lifetime, expecting a person darker than myself to automatically defer would be unthinkable.

    A gun on a citizen’s hip is not a threat. No more than a person of color looking you in the eye and calling you by your first name, no more than openly LBGT person is. I guess we can hold our hats in our hands, look down and call our betters-in-office “Sir” and Ma’am;” I guess we can check everybody on our side attending a public meeting to make sure they are properly-groomed, not outlandishly-dressed and act almost like “normal” people before we let them attend — but I’m not convinced recent history shows this to be an effective approach.

    And I’m not at all persuaded I need to ride in the back of the bus and limit my armed public outings to gunnie venues.

    I am an armed citizen. I’m not ashamed of it.

  36. Jake says:

    “I’m reminded of photos of the pre-Stonewall gay rights types, all the men with neat, short hair and wearing conservative suits, all the women in dresses, hose and nice shoes, with carefully-coiffed hair, politely carrying neatly-printed signs saying mild, inoffensive things like “I Am A Human Being.” …And onlookers snickering. They got nowhere at all until a loud, unruly bunch of losers and outcasts got into a multi-day riot and all over the headlines.”

    Thank you Roberta! With this example, you crystallized a thought that I was struggling to put into words.

    One of the greatly overlooked effects of the over-the-top Gay Pride parades, with the flaming drag queens and the leatherboys in @$$less chaps, is that after it slaps people in the face about the issue, when later they meet the average LGBT person, it becomes a lot more obvious that the ones at the parade were the “in your face” activists, or the ones at the extreme end of the spectrum. They realize that most are normal, everyday people, who just want to go about their lives without having to live in fear. It makes someone who just wants to be able to hold his boyfriend’s hand in public without fear much less shocking, because suddenly it’s not so different anymore.

    Sometimes you have to be loud and obvious about something, and let someone make a big deal about it, before you can do it without anybody caring.

    Both the OC approach and the CC approach have benefits and drawbacks. Put them together, and the whole can be greater than the sum of it’s parts.

  37. Jake says:

    “no more than it would be a wise tactic to, going back to the Cramer article, for gays to show up to oppose, say, the closing of a gay bar, and make out during the council meeting. That would also be their right, and legal, but it wouldn’t be effective.”

    Also, Sebastian, just to clarify, while it may not be wise in most situations where it’s legal, in many states it’s not legal – and in some it could be a felony or a sex crime (or both). Statutes governing “lewd conduct” come to mind, just to start.

  38. Sebastian says:

    True, but in some states open carry isn’t legal either.

  39. Jake says:

    “True, but in some states open carry isn’t legal either.”

    Conceded. And in all honesty, your example simply touched one of my buttons that’s been pushed beyond tolerance lately – the assumption by many that Lawrence v. Texas means that you can no longer be arrested for being gay (it applies only in private, so there are a ridiculous number of ways for intolerant police and prosecutors to get around it).

    It’s going off topic, and I should have let it slide – for that, I apologize. I do stand by the point of my other comment, though.

  40. Acksiom says:

    the basic thing all the “Don’t Scare the White People” are missing is that the people you are “scaring” is the MEDIA. you are making the mistake of trying to get the media to like you. newsflash—they hate you. they will always hate you. stop trying to make them love you ’cause it won’t work.

    you might make yourself momentarily useful to them (like McCain) because you slap your own side around, but when you oppose their agenda the next day, under the bus you go. Like McCain, they like you primarily because you give good concession speeches.

    Stop trying to judge your effectiveness by how much you like your own reflection in the media’s funhouse mirror. this is especially true when you see the media being the willing accomplice of elected officials trying to change the subject from “we want to break the law,” to “you meanies, you’re scaring me.”

    THIS.

  41. Sebastian says:

    I do not accept that the media will always hate you. We’ve demonstrated here that it’s possible to work with the media and get good stories out of them, and to get our message out there. You can’t not care what the media is doing because they reach a lot of people. The trick in getting good coverage from the media is putting things in context for them so they can understand it, which is exactly what open carry does not do.

  42. Roberta X says:

    …And the entire class proceeds at the at which the slowest student can learn, ey, Sebastian? At least until the brightest and most interested grow frustrated and drop out.

    A holstered gun is not a threat when a law enforcement officer has it on his belt; why does it suddenly become one when the citizen carrying it doesn’t have a uniform, or at least a nice, shiny badge? Simple, it doesn’t — even if some elected officials and most Authorized Journalists believe otherwise. Pandering to their irrational fears helps keep gun owners in the ghetto.

  43. RAH says:

    I personally would prefer OC to CC but in my state I can’t do either without a permit that the state generally refuses to give out.

    Basically Pa is a northern state with a lot of people that had the views formed in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This view was that guns are bad. These council members would prefer no guns to guns but know that is not possible. So they scream and try to make laws on the fringe. The report theft law is stupid but it is a law against the gunnies and hassles legal owners more than it affects crime.

    As one of the comments indicated the counsel person who made the most noise was an ardent anti gun person.

    The implied statement of carrying to a public meeting is that the OC person says I will fight any anti gun laws and prepared to back it up. It also says that these people are active and will work to vote out any council member that restricts his gun rights or enacts laws to hassle a gun owner.

    VCDL has made it a practice to open carry at city and county hearings and despite the few anti gun members on the councils it has been very effective to the other council members. Really it shows that gun owners and OC people will act politically to any attempt that attempts to restrict their ability to own and carry.

    A few scared council members have attempted to ban carry at meetings and have been stopped. VA has been strengthening it. Preemption and gun owners have been holding localities to the fire on that. PA is squishier on protecting preemption, but Scranton anti gun council members.

    Sebastian, just because the writer focuses on the OC does not mean that that was the message that those attending that meeting took away. The council figured they would have a fight legally and decided better to table a bad law than push it through whether legal or not.

    Do not take counsel from the media that presents this in the most contentious manner. It is in the interest of the reporter to make the most dramatic effect of his article and the OC being more unusual was his device.

    OC is in infancy and people can get used to anything as long as their fears are not reinforced. Since those that OC are not brandishing and firing on the public. Fears are not reinforced.

    I would give more credence to Sebastian’s view if he were present at the meeting rather than taking a reporters article as his information source on what people were concerned about in that meeting.

  44. Sebastian says:

    I think you make good points RAH, but I also think how the media reports the issue is important, because many many more people will read those accounts than who were actually at the meeting.

    I agree that the media generally presents issues in a sensational light, and not often favorably on gun issues, but why drag open carry, which is not what is at issue in this situation, into the debate, and make it part of the debate? Maybe that wasn’t the intention, but that was the result.

  45. Jake says:

    It’s a difficult road to normalizing guns if they always stay hidden. Yet another reason to combine the two strategies.

  46. Sebastian says:

    I don’t really accept that the only way you can normalize guns is to open carry in public. There are many ways to normalize guns. I would argue that shows like Mail Call, Mythbusters, and Future Weapons, have done more to normalize guns than open carry.

  47. Alan says:

    No one said it was the only way. Now you’re just making stuff up and pontificating with no evidence.

  48. RAH says:

    I really do not know how many people read the article about the Scranton meeting. I do think that many who read have different reactions. Some will get upset about people with guns. That is a left over attitude from the 1980’s. Others will think , Cool OC at a meeting.

    As the public becomes aware that OC is legal and there are no shootouts more and more will accept. After all Arlington and Fairfax are about as liberal as they come and they have come to accept it, especially with police saying that it is OK to OC.

    Initially in Va there were people who called 911. The operator proceeded to ask more questions to see if it was a real concern and then when not, educated the caller. That reinforces the idea it OK to carry and there needs to be more than just a gun seen to get the police to react.

  49. Sebastian says:

    I’m just saying, if the goal is normalization, there are other strategies I can think of that reach more people are are more effective.

  50. alan says:

    People seeing other normal people carrying guns every day seem like a damned effective way to normalize guns.

    How can you make carrying guns normal if you’re not going to carry guns?

  51. Jake says:

    I’m curious how you expect to “normalize” carrying guns in public if no one is ever seen carrying guns in public.

  52. Sebastian says:

    In order for carrying of guns to be normalized by the act of openly carrying guns, you have to get a large number of people doing it. Probably larger than the number of people that currently carry concealed. There are something like three million people who currently have licenses to carry concealed. Only a small number of those people carry on a regular basis. The number of people open carrying on a regular basis is smaller still. If there are 100,000 people carrying openly, regularly, across this country, I’d be very surprised. I’d even be surprised if it’s as high as 10,000.

    The obstacle you’re going to encounter for getting more people to do it are fundamental, and aren’t easily overcome. Just to list some of those:

    1. It attracts attention of law enforcement in many jurisdictions. This problem is one that I think can probably be overcome even by a small number of people open carrying, Virginia being an example, but I don’t think this had lead to a tremendous number of new people open carrying, because it’s not the only issue:
    2. Many establishment prohibit carrying firearms. Not an issue if you’re concealing, because what they don’t know won’t hurt them. When you’re advertising you’re armed, you don’t have the option of don’t ask don’t tell.
    3. Many people believe it’s tactically unsound, and there’s a good argument to be made that it is
    4. Your spouse has to be supportive of your choice to open carry, and most aren’t going to be unless they are gun people, or very supportive of the cause.
    5. Most people spend most of their day on the job, and most employers prohibit guns on company property, or while on the job.

    If you can’t get a lot of people openly carrying, it’s going to be very difficult for that practice to become normal. As I said, I think you can probably overcome the law enforcement problem, but in terms of affecting serious social change, I just don’t see enough people doing it that it becomes normal practice in all circumstances. I think you can probably get circumstantial acceptance of open carry, but in some settings, it’s going to rub some people the wrong way, and not all of those people are going to hysterically afraid of guns.

  53. Jake says:

    So, do we start with the chicken or the egg?

  54. While I differ from Sebastian on this viewpoint. I do understand his concern.

    Likewise, I hear people constantly berate the NRA. I’ve long held the viewpoint that there are different type of military units. Furthermore, any war involves two elements “strategy” and “tactics”.

    The one is more over-reaching upon an entire campaign and the logistics involved. The other is more in the dirt. A failure to have a good quality on either will lose one the war.

    Without a good strategy, your soldiers will win small battles but the war will be lost. If you’ve got a good strategy, but your soldiers are untrained in tactics. They will lose the key battles that must be won.

    I look at the NRA akin to the Army. It’s big, it’s a bit slower than other branches. The NRA focuses on strategic relationships. Working politicians, not burning bridges. Being able to keep the soldiers fed and supplied.

    GOA, should be akin to the Marines. Smaller, faster, and a bit more gutsy. Instead of wasting words attacking the NRA. GOA should be noting where the NRA can’t attack for fear of burning what may be a weak bridge, but a bridge none-the-less. And they should put the pressure. (Good cop/Bad cop tactic.)

    While I support Open Carry, and do believe it is our right. I am also aware that it can stir up a hornets nest. Often such stirring results in a) 2nd Amendment supporters becoming more active b) hoplophobia.

    Their are advantages and disadvantages to be weighed and considered. For example, I think the case of the AR worked to our advantage. One, it put the media in a bind, showed them as deceitful, etc. Two it showed that this is an issue that affects all demographics. Other times it’s going to give the left the sound bites they want. Hoplophobes are going to jump on it.

    It’s tough, we’re forced to play a bitter chess game, where the other side doesn’t have to abide by the rules. Ain’t an easy game to win, and often we’re fighting for a draw.

    But I think all sides need to be cautious about tearing down each other.

  55. Sebastian says:

    So, do we start with the chicken or the egg?

    I don’t think it’s really a chicken and egg problem a whole. The problem with open carry is that it has the chicken and egg problem.

    If you can make the public more accepting of guns as part of the culture you might be able to change some of those fundamentals. What I was originally arguing in comment 52 is there are other ways to get the topic into the popular culture that don’t have the same problem.

  56. alan says:

    What I was originally arguing in comment 52 is there are other ways to get the topic into the popular culture that don’t have the same problem.

    Like what?

  57. Sebastian says:

    I used the shows that either center around guns or heavily feature them, used in a positive and safe manner, as examples. That’s a bit of a cross between entertainment and education, but I think it’s effective.

    Locally we’ve had a the local high school agree to create an air gun range at the school. That opens up the possibility of having a shooting team at a school that probably hasn’t had one for a generation.

    I’m not disagreeing that people need to be exposed more to guns and shooting, that’s how you’re going to affect cultural change, the question is whether open carry an effective, or even if one concedes it’s effective, is it the most effective means to accomplish that, and I don’t think it is.

    The original frustration expressed in my post is that a lot of people want to put time and energy into open carry activism, and I have to applaud them for doing something at least, but I question whether the energy wouldn’t be better invested in something else. You should know by now I’m not a cheerleader for our side. I think any movement needs to be constantly questioning what it’s doing. We don’t have enough people willing to get involved to spend a lot of time and energy over something that’s not remarkably important or effective. I think we can disagree on whether it’s effective, but the process of questioning is something that needs to happen.

  58. Alan says:

    So you think guns are OK as long as they’re on a range or on TV?

    Meanwhile VA has proven beyond a doubt that open carry activism works.

    Who’s side are you on Sebastian?

  59. You say we shouldn’t open carry in this manner, yet you offer no solution as to what you would consider a better way to do so. Well? SInce you’ve thrown your hat in the ring, offer up a suggestion.

  60. Carl in Chicago says:

    As an aside, the “chicken or the egg” is a very poor example for the “causality dilemma” that you folks are discussing. Perhaps it was a great puzzle centuries ago, but not anymore.

    It is obvious and beyond any reasonable doubt that the egg came first. The egg, however, did not cause the chicken.

  61. Caleb says:

    Jesus Christ, alan, make up your mind! Do you want to capitalize your user name or not? For a while I thought there were two different Alans in this thread.

    We are so fighting now, I’m posting on my LiveJournal that we’re having a blood feud until you decide if it’s lowercase “a” or uppercase “A”.

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