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OC Debate: Ride the Llama

Caleb seems to have decided to ride the Drama Llama, along with Rob Pincus, on the issue of open carry. Says Pincus: “I am vehemently against the ass-clownery of people carrying openly to make a political statement.” So let the Llama come.

I would not go so far as Pincus, to suggest there is never any instance where open carrying to make a political statement is a bad idea. In fact, if the Supreme Court were to uphold carry rights in a manner that allowed New Jersey to have to pick, and it picked open carry, I’d suggest everyone should do that there, all the time. Why? Because if it’s a protected right, I believe you may be able to get people and politicians to agree to allow concealed carry in order to make the issue go away such that they no longer have to deal with it. There are plenty of instances I can think of where OC, as a political statement, can have potential benefits.

But I am in agreement with Pincus that this was not a wise move in California, and California’s legislature’s behavior was entirely predictable. Chris in Alaska suggest blaming the activists is like blaming battered women for domestic violence. Ultimately, the California legislature is the one responsible for its constitutional infringements, much like a bear is responsible for mauling you. But if you poked the bear with a stick? The bear is being a bear, and legislatures will be legislatures. We do not have the political power in California to stop anything. Even bullet buttons are now possibly on the chopping block in the Golden state, and as Joe notes, the politicians are basically telling gun owners to shut the hell up and BOHICA.

California has been pushed over the edge. It’s not coming back except through court mandate. I believe pushing OC as a political statement there was foolish, but I can’t agree that all instances of it are. As Robb notes, much depends on how you approach the issue.

46 Responses to “OC Debate: Ride the Llama”

  1. David says:

    You only need to go as far as PAFOA to see the assclowning in action.

    This thread pretty much sums up everything that is too common and all too wrong with these misguided armed activists and their so called education attempts. Best of all, he posted the audio of it for all of us to cringe.

    http://forum.pafoa.org/open-carry-144/121181-if-youre-gonna-cause-public-hysteria-there-encounter-market.html

    Remember, this guys is the face of all gunowers. He’s self appointed himself to represent us all.

    • Sebastian says:

      Generally what I see on PAFOA I consider an example of how not do to smart activism, OC or otherwise. There are exceptions, but stuff like you point to there are the reason I don’t post over there anymore. I don’t agree walking around looking for a confrontation. If trouble finds you, that’s one thing, but when you find yourself putting in a dash cam and audio recorder, it’s time to re-examine your life.

      • David says:

        When you look at the arrest record and driving record of ViperGTS you’ll see a long history of bad decision and reckless behavior. But, again, he’s putting himself out there as the self-appointed in your face foul language rights warrior who says he’s representing all of us.

      • Patrick H says:

        I disagree with that last statement. Having a dash cam (or any kind of cam) and an audio recorder can be immensely beneficial when dealing with officers. Otherwise its their word against yours.

        So I wouldn’t use that as a barometer to lump people together.

        • Sebastian says:

          Well, it’s not like a child molester driving the ice cream truck around the neighborhood or anything. But I can count on one hand the number of official law enforcement encounters I’ve had over the years. I can see the value. I generally don’t think it’s “normal” to go out prepared to confront law enforcement.

          Note I put “normal” in quotes because I’m really not much for conformity, and don’t want to come across as endorsing that. To make an analogy, I can totally accept some of the really intense aspects of Star Trek fandom, and think it’s fine for people to do that, but still think it can get weird. I don’t think it’s a reason to shun people or anything, but it’s kind of weird.

          • Patrick H says:

            No, it shouldn’t be normal, but its becoming a requirement in this day and age.

            The problem is that there have been MANY cases where a cop has blatantly lied, and if it wasn’t for video shot by a victim or a citizen, they would get away with it, and the victim would go to jail.

            Photography Is Not A Crime by Carlos Miller is a great source to make you want to have a camera at all times.

            • Pyrotek85 says:

              I’d say that cops should wear audio/video recorders, but you know they would ‘malfunction’ if the need arose…

        • Jake says:

          ^^^^ This. I don’t do open carry, or any real overt activism at all, and I don’t knowingly do things that would attract police attention, but I have seriously considered some kind of camera setup for my car in the event that I do get pulled over for something.

          It’s not so much an indication of anything wrong with the person getting the equipment than it is an indication that something is seriously wrong with the current state of law enforcement.

          • Sebastian says:

            The police cruiser is already going to have a dash cam running, and if there’s misconduct to the degree that you’d be considering a case against them, you can subpoena the dash cam video. In some cases, you can also probably file to get it just like a police report.

            • Patrick H says:

              Well, maybe it will have the dash cam running. Unless they “forgot” to turn it on, or if they did, later they will “lose” the footage. That’s not a conspiracy- its happened.

              And even if its on, what if you are walking by, out of range from the camera? Then you are SOL.

              • GMC70 says:

                It happens far too often. As a defense attorney, I’m often frustrated by what’s NOT on camera, whether it wasn’t turned on, or out of view, or in a recent case, the audio magically turned off. Recording your own interactions with police is a smart preventative. And most of us have the means to do so – a cell phone.

                That said, being an ass rarely pays dividends.

            • Jake says:

              If the camera wasn’t “broken”, just turned off, or never turned on (often in violation of department policy). Plus, you have a limited time to subpoena it before it gets destroyed (60 days, in Virginia – barely enough time for your attorney to request it by the time your case gets to court). Plus, many cops are masters at making sure nothing “questionable” happens within view of the camera.

              I have seen far too many of our subpoenas for dashcam recordings come back with some indication that no footage exists to think that it will actually be available in any case where it might benefit me as a victim/suspect. Relying on the police dashcam for your protection is a crap shoot.

        • David says:

          Just what are you doing to end up with all these run ins with police?

  2. SteveG says:

    Much like his comments that all 1911s categorically suck and couldn’t survive his 1200 round ‘training course’ without a user or equipment malfunction all Mr. Pincus is trying to do is get attention.

    I have a feeling that the goings on is part of a long game in California. With (limited open carry) and their discretionary licensing system California can claim it doesn’t infringe on 2A rights. With open carry off the books it becomes a tougher argument.

    • David says:

      “all 1911s”

      You might want to go back and reread what was written. His comments were about the compact 1911s.

      • SteveG says:

        David

        If you read the comments he has left around the internet from that mess you will find he was referring to all 1911s in general and compact 1911s specifically.

        • David says:

          His challenge as posted:

          “I have gotten tired enough of watching people fight with 3” “subcompact” 1911 .45’s to put this video (and the accompanying challenge) out in public.
          I think 1911s are a bad idea to start with, but it is simply reckless to offer these mini-versions as defensive firearms to the public. They have a ZERO PERCENT Success rate in my training courses…. Never had one not fail. Yes, people will undoubtedly post how they have the magic unicorn Ultra Carry that never chokes. Cool— SHOW UP at a class and prove it…. I’ll refund your tuition and pay for the ammo if it really runs and you really run it.”

          There you go, take up the challenge to prove him wrong and watch him open his wallet.

          • SteveG says:

            Yep, he said “1911s are a bad idea to start with.” If you look at the comments on the FB page where the challenge was posted or repeated I believe you’ll find several individuals asked if the challenge was open to any size 1911. To which the answer was yes.

  3. Harold says:

    Given that you have said correctly that “California [is] over the edge” (we can debate pushed or jumped :-), that the Federal courts are the only remedy, shouldn’t you also mention that the open carry ban has put them in an untenable position WRT to their under legal attack shall issue regime? Seems to me an open carry of rifles ban will be even more problematic, but, yes, I agree that’s not useful blow back all things considered.

    Also, can you provide any evidence the fuss over the bullet button is in any way directly connected? California is the only state in the union to my knowledge that is still regularly passing anti-gun laws, we don’t need to posit any specific motive to this latest effort.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’m a strong believer in a theory of political momentum. Once politicians learn they can appease an interest group and not suffer any backlash, it’s easy to keep taking things farther and farther. In the rest of the country, the momentum is on our side. In California, it’s the opposite. One victory will lead to another.

      • Harold says:

        I think the key here is how California’s political class viciously and successfully attacked the people behind the Roberti recall effort, the opportunity costs of which drove him out of high office (I’ll bet into one of California’s innumerable commissions, when you look closely California is in its own way a competitor for “most corrupt state”). They made it very clear that successfully opposing them was not an option, and like most systems without negative feedback it’s running out of control.

        I’ve read and seem to remember that the above did temporarily stop the anti-gun momentum, but that was a long time ago. The anti-AW bill was in 1989, the recall in 1994. Since then the momentum has to my memory been entirely anti-gun, with politicians paying no price.

        So gun control bills will continue to be proposed, passed and signed, based on perceived targets of opportunity. That it’s open carry this year just means that’s what came to the attention of legislators, who have more important things to do than stop the impending bankruptcy of the state. They will continue from anti-gun victory to victory until they get slapped down by the Federal courts or the game significantly changes (how that will happen is unclear, as sovereign entities there’s no provisions for a state going bankrupt, it’s been compared to Greece).

        So why not tweak their noses and prompt them to silly extremes?

  4. Tango says:

    So they’re banning the OC of shotguns because it really is a loophole. California didn’t realize that it was legal and they WOULD have made it illegal if they’d thought about it. Therefore, it’s legal only because CA didn’t think of it. So what about this OC display that’s catching everybody’s attention? What if he didn’t OC that day? What if it was someone else? What if a group of people decided to OC shotties on Venice Beach? Well, that would have gotten them banned. Would it have been appropriate then?

    In the case of California, no matter what it would have been banned. In many cases you CANNOT challenge a law unless you are found in violation of it. This just happened to be the guy that’s getting the action taken instead of the next one that OCs.

    California is hell bent on banning all forms of carry. They will be banned until someone punches them in the junk legally and tells them to knock it off. Talking smack about this guy for OCing for political reasons isn’t very productive.

    • Alpheus says:

      I’ve always hated that about criminal law. You should be able to challenge a law without having the risk of going to prison. The very existence of a law that infringes on my rights, whether it’s enforced against me or not, ought to be sufficient grounds for the standing to challenge it!

  5. Kevin says:

    The fact that CA allowed unloaded open carry was the justification for a federal court to drop a CC case. It makes things a lot clearer at the federal level if there is no supposed alternative for a judge to point to as an excuse to not address the case.

    • Zermoid says:

      That’s the one thing that makes OC a valid statement in Kalifornia, it pushes them past any reasonable limit to the un-constitutional extreme where any federal judge has to come down on the side of CC and gunrights advocates.

      • Sebastian says:

        Don’t ever believe that judges will do something they don’t want to do because the logic is just to incredibly compelling. It makes the case easier, yes. But it is by no means anywhere close to a sure thing.

  6. TS says:

    I have a hard time criticizing what the CA open carriers did. The question is, did their politicizing open carry have a negative effect on those who were doing it for non-political reasons? Was anyone open carrying long arms for non-political reasons? Not that I know of. Surely anyone who decides as an individual to carry a shotgun down the street in California is going to get harassed by police, and ultimately attention from the legislators with the same result happening. From the standpoint of 911 calls and officer harassment, it is probably better to do it with a group, with signs and T-shirts making it clear that it is a legal political rally. I considered long arm open carry once (for reasons that were legitimate and non-political). I wanted to take my Mauser to the range but my car was unavailable. I considered using the sling, and riding up on my motorcycle (I don’t have a case with a shoulder strap, so it would have to be open). I considered this for about two seconds- then I thought, “hell no”. Even thought it is legal, there would be dozens of 911 calls and I’d probably have a gun drawn on me. I’d probably make the news, and maybe even end up being the “ass-clown” who got the rest of open carry banned. Unloaded open carry in CA was really a right that was unable to be exercised without this ultimate end.

    The Bullet Button situation is kind of similar, but the key difference is no one is holding Bullet Button rallies that could be perceived as flaunting. The similarity is that when the antis see what we are doing and don’t like it, they are going to try and stop it. We just need to keep doing what we are doing and fighting along the way.

    • Sebastian says:

      OC, loaded OC, was legal in unincorporated areas in California previously. You also did not potentially land yourself in trouble if you were going to the range and, say, you forgot to close your case all the way and it sprung open, spilling the gun out in public. Those are questionable circumstances now.

      • TS says:

        My understanding is that the two OC bans only apply to incorporated areas, unincorporated areas where carry is expressly forbidden, and all public streets. So even discharging a firearm on BLM land is still allowed (but is a dirt logging road a public street?) I agree that it absolutely muddies some legal transportation scenarios. There were ways to legally transport a handgun in a SUV or hatchback/wagon without a locking case before this bill. Not anymore.

      • Harold says:

        Isn’t “[this] is allowed in unincorporated areas” something of a land mine situation, and an example of why we’ve pushed for preemption laws so hard?

        I mean, I can step outside my door, walk perhaps 200 feet to the west and suddenly transition from the unincorporated land which is most of this large plot to incorporated land of a small town, which also has a very small area in back which we have to keep mowed to keep from getting a citation (most of the rest is cut for hay, which I was surprised to recently learn is one of the top cash crops in the US).

        I’d hate to be carrying in California and walk over an invisible boundary and become a criminal…. (Of course, I avoid this problem altogether by avoiding the state, but….)

    • alcade says:

      And just compare that to Switzerland.

      • Sebastian says:

        I think the gun laws in California are probably more intolerable than in Switzerland. Certainly Swiss culture is more gun friendly than California culture these days.

        • Harold says:

          Although I read from … Neal Knox? back when he was alive that their “2nd Amendment” equivalent was eliminated (obviously a while ago).

          And I gather gun control is a constant front burner issue there, with the latest success being the removal of everyone’s can of ammo (to use on your way to your rally point) after an officer killed his celebrity ski champion wife (and brother) with his issue handgun and ammo (don’t know if the latter came from that can). Although I also wonder if the Army found a problem with the lead-free primers they moved to with the adoption of the Stg 90; they’ve always been pioneering, moving to non-corrosive primers in 1911, a smart move for a country that doesn’t have an army, but rather is an army.

          I’ve been wondering if it was even legal today in Switzerland to keep live ammo in your house; some quality time with Google just now says you can, including military handgun and rifle ammo (and, hey, it’s even sold at a subsidized price … if you fail to qualify with your rifle every year you have to take a 2 week refresher course).

          I wonder how long that will last; at the moment I wouldn’t be surprised if our gun rights are more secure than theirs, ignoring our usual benighted localities.

  7. Spade says:

    Man, I love living in Virginia.

  8. Zermoid says:

    This reminds me of all the reasons I left New Jersey……

  9. AZRon says:

    Growing up in Arizona, it was 1000 times more common to see a man open carry a handgun than it was to see a backwards baseball cap.

    Now, OC gets the stink-eye while most are OK with the ghetto style. Too many blue state transplants if you ask me.

    Thank God we have Constitutional Carry in AZ. I find it amazing that we share a border with CA. Politically, it’s like night and day.

    Powder dry, bill forward and jeans at my waist…

  10. Sebastian says:

    Do not underestimate how hostile the federal judiciary is, generally, to the concept of gun rights. For many they will only go along when the Supreme Court finally stops pussy footing around and rams is down the throats of the lower courts.

    I am not as optimistic we get a robust right to carry out of all of this. It might work out that way, but don’t overestimate what federal judges are willing to do for us.

    • Harold says:

      I am not in the least. But I consider this a good test case test case. In that if the Federal judiciary finds a way to let California negate the “and bear arms” part of the 2nd Amendment, we’ll know not to waste our energy or money on cases this “extreme” until we’ve changed the culture some more. Like how I compared Heller to Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada in 1938 (meaningless in practice, which is very near where things stand in D.C. today, although that seems to be changing … of course under further legal threat) rather than Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

    • Alpheus says:

      Oddly enough, I suspect that if we can get National Reprocity, that’s probably going to have a greater impact on California than any court decision…

  11. James Nelson says:

    When it comes to experts on how to be an assclown, I can’t think of 2 more qualified people.

  12. terraformer says:

    Remember, it was black panthers and other black civil rights activists OC’ing rifles and shotguns around cops shaking down blacks which caused Reagan (yeah, that Reagan) to push for and sign an OC ban. The OC’ing that the black panthers did was highly effective political strategy in that it made clear they were willing to fight for their rights. But it was detrimental to 2A rights at the same time.

    • Alpheus says:

      The Black Panthers, if David Horowitz is to be believed, was a communist organization. I have sometimes wondered if one of their goals was to get California on the road to limiting gun rights.

      As for Reagan signing that bill into law…it’s surprising, in a sad way, to see how many conservatives are against the right to keep and bear arms. As Jeff Snyder said in his “A Nation of Cowards” essay, it’s probably more of an Elitist thing, than anything else. If you’re a Celebrity, or a Philosopher King, your life is worth something, so you can have all the armed bodyguards you want, and you can have a concealed carry permit, or a shotgun at your side, or even just plain illegal guns, because sometimes even bodyguards are caught off guard, you know. But if you’re a member of the masses, your life isn’t all that important (if it were, you’d be famous!), and you’ll probably just hurt yourself or someone you love anyway, so no guns for you!

      • Harold says:

        I was thinking of making a Black Panthers, David Horowitz and Reagan comment.

        A sad thing about Reagan and the bill targeting the Panthers is that in the previous decades when he was the president of a union. the Screen Actor’s Guild, and a major agenda was removing it from the grasp of the Communists, he slept with a revolver and with a manned police car outside his home.

        On the other hand, the Panthers went way beyond anything the OC “extremists” are doing; just review the inevitably fairly favorable Wikipedia article, e.g.:

        From the beginning, the Black Panther Party’s focus on militancy came with a reputation for violence. The Panthers employed a California law which permitted carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun as long as it was publicly displayed and pointed at no one. Carrying weapons openly and making threats against police officers, for example, chants like “The Revolution has co-ome, it’s time to pick up the gu-un. Off the pigs!”, helped create the Panthers’ reputation as a violent organization.

        While the reference to the above quoted chant is from a book, Google says there’s YouTube videos of such if anyone wants to confirm it with their own eyes and ears.

  13. Ed says:

    Though not my area of law, as a lawyer I agree that you have to make a controversy to get big change. (side note, little changes get lost in this much noise and may not be the way to do it). You need headlines, activists, noise, and something for the greater masses to get worked up about. That gets you court cases that need serious consideration. That gets you backing/clout for talking to politicians. And it starts making the executive (police) start re-evaluating how they’re doing things (but only if you’re more problem to control than not).

    This is going to be especially stark if you don’t have the flat out cash to buy your way through the process (advertising, marketing, popularity campaigns, funding, donations to the right people). The anti’s are kept alive mostly by sheer money, but pro-gun efforts are very often heavy on people and low on big money. So, use what ya got.

    Sometimes you have to break out the jacket profanity and make a stink. See Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971). Also a 5-4, and has withstood the test of time as it happens.

    Frankly, since it’s being used as a political statement, has anyone argued that open carry in this case is also protected as free expression? If a lack of clothes can be expressive (Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc., 501 U.S. 560 (1991)), why not the addition of a specific accessory? Better than a patch or button.

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