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Next Battles in the Restaurant Wars

Now that we’ve endured three losses at the hands of the rifle OC crowd, it does beg the question of what to do to mitigate the damage. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to get Texas to pass an open carry bill as soon as humanly possible, but I suspect that’s going to be a bigger uphill climb the longer this goes on. I also suspect it wouldn’t stop. If you take a look at Open Carry Texas’ mission statement, you’ll notice affecting legislation is number three. Their primary goal is to “educate” Texans. So I think we’re stuck with this. I also don’t think we’re going to convince them to stop, so we can expect more losses. One thing I’d mention is that Watts seems to be pushing each company a little further. I believe this is meant to desensitize us to the losses, until she can eventually convince one company to actually ban guns on their premises, and then eventually to post. I’m fairly certain this is where it will lead. One one company crosses that Rubicon, others will follow. It’s a grim future.

Taking a look at Open Carry Texas’ busy schedule, we have the following Restaurants up who I’m nearly certain will be targeted by Shannon Watts:

  • Pizza Hut
  • Double Dave’s (Never heard of them before. We don’t have those up here.)
  • Sonic

I don’t believe Shannon Watts will jump on these until we’re closer to the planned event. She’ll want the pictures and the news footage to promote the campaign. Sonic is an Oklahoma-based business. They stand a good chance of standing up to Shannon Watts. But who knows? Open Carry Texas must be taking some heat, or they wouldn’t be trying to deny any responsibility. I’ll repeat, a tactic that accomplishes nearly nothing, yet motivates our opponents to action and causes us to lose ground in the culture is a bad tactic. The biggest asset we have, and the biggest problem they have, is that there’s a very wide enthusiasm gap on the gun issue. People who want gun control just don’t want it as bad as we want freedom. But OCT is helping close that gap. If you look at Moms Demand’s Facebook group, their posts on open carry draw a much higher level of engagement (measures by shares, likes and comments) than other non-OC topics. Whether you mean to or not, if you carry a rifle into a fast food joint, you’re not accomplishing anything except helping Shannon Watts succeed.

48 Responses to “Next Battles in the Restaurant Wars”

  1. Jack says:

    That OC Texas is issuing denials does show they are taking heat.

    I’ll be writing them a short polite notice to this effect. That they need to rexamine their tactics and reprioritize their strategy.

    We still have to deal with the single group (which if you’ll notice Shanon has also been lowering the bar on how many incidents it will require to get news covereage and pressure), but getting an OC organization to rework its official tactics is critical.

    • Sebastian says:

      I think that is best. I’m seeing a lot of good comments on their Facebook. Among the better ones this:

      “Putting this in perspective, Shannon Watts managed to use one picture to get guns out of an entire restaurant chain. I think a few more brain cells need to be in play in the future. I support what you guys stand for, but your methods are being used against you, and the rest of us are getting dragged along on the ride.”

  2. harp1034 says:

    I live in Texas and have nothing against open carry. There is a right way and a wrong way to protest. Or should I say educate. Maybe just not announce where you will be. Just go in order your food to go then get gone before the cops and news media show up.
    Even if we get open carry I will continue to carry concealed. Out of sight, out of mind. I don’t want people to know I am packing heat.

    • SAS 2008 says:

      I live in AZ. We have had open carry forever. Before concealed carry that was all you could do. It was common when I was growing up to occasionally see open carry of handguns even in metropolitan areas. People were going about their business and it wss no big deal. I still see that some today. That type of going about your business normalizes open carry. Unfortunately since you only have rifle open carry in Texas it is not possible to normalize open carry in that way.

      I can’t see how the OC Texas actions are helping in any way. I don’t think it is educating anyone.

      BTW, open carry only caused some strange problems legally in defining when a gun was visible and holstered, especially with respect to being in a car. It is sweet to now have both open and concealed carry legal without a permit.

      • Archer says:

        I think that long-gun OC can normalize people to openly carried firearms, but it has to be done right.

        If you must go into a business – for food, or whatever – keep it simple: get in, get your stuff, and get out. Don’t make a scene, don’t take selfies of you and your AR/AK, and for G-d’s sake, don’t thank a business for being pro-gun unless they’ve specifically and unequivocally taken that side.

        If you want to normalize it, you need to act normal while doing it. Normal people don’t make a spectacle of their lives; they mind their own business. Moreover, we need to leave a favorable impression; the best way for businesses’ managers to remember the OC crowd is as “those nice folks, good customers, came in and left without any ruckus, cleaned up after themselves.”

        Don’t just be polite: be exceedingly so. Don’t just be nice: be nice to a fault. Don’t be “gun-carrying people”: be people, who just happen to be carrying guns.

        (btw, this screed isn’t addressed at you, or anyone personally, except maybe OCT; it just came out that way. No offense intended.)

  3. Zermoid says:

    Personally I can’t fathom what logic the Texas Legislature used to allow rifle OC but ban handgun OC.
    Anyone know the logic behind it???

    • Sebastian says:

      I believe it’s historical. Texas banned carrying handguns, but not rifles. When they passed concealed carry, it required the firearm be concealed. But that only applied to handguns. Carrying a long gun has just never been illegal.

    • Sebastian says:

      I seem to recall prior to concealed carry, you could carry a pistol in your glove box, because there was a travel exception to the general ban. But you couldn’t carry a pistol in any other manner.

      • RP says:

        Isn’t OC being implemented practically a given when the TX legislature is back in session, rendering this who OC protest thing even more ridiculous?

        • Tim Covington says:

          Unfortunately, it is doubtful that open carry will pass the Texas legislature and governor. Our politicians just aren’t as gun friendly as many people believe they are. The current governor (who has been governor since 2000 and is Republican) has said he opposes open carry.

      • Weirder than that. The 1871 law allowed you to carry a handgun when traveling, but never defined what that meant. Courts concluded that crossing a county line was a requirement to be a traveler.

  4. Stephen says:

    I think the OC Rifle groups suffer from the same delusion as the anti-gunners.

    Anti-gunners seem to think that all they have to do is inform Americans via a “conversation” that people are carrying guns and the public will go crazy until the law is changed — because that’s how they feel. i.e. they start out by announcing in honest shock and horror that guns are allowed in {coffee_place} and wait expectantly for millions of enraged Americans to storm the place demanding that guns be banned. When they see that hasn’t happened, they assume no one heard them (what other explanation can there be?), and up the message to make it scarier “Loaded handguns carried near your children and grandmothers trying to have a coffee that could go off at any second” and wait for the outrage. I think most of them are truly baffled that tens of millions of Americans haven’t joined them and forced total gun bags nationwide, because they are horrified at a very deep level and assume everyone will be. Their problem is that they have ONLY extremists who feel this way, while the majority of American’s are either pro-gun or apathetic.

    On the pro-gun side we have a large mainstream force, but we also have the fringe who honestly believe that seeing fellow Americans proudly carrying their constitutionally protected rifles will bring them over — that all they need is to see a fellow patriot celebrating owning guns and rifles and they will immediately become horrified at gun bans and demand a full return to “shall not be infringed.”

    The trouble is both extremes are wrong, and while we are slowly winning the culture war (I honestly believe, having watched this situation since the 1990’s — I’ve never seen us so strong) there are a lot of fairly apathetic American’s who can be turned if they are inappropriately shocked. And showing up at {coffee_place} in force with long guns that you take pictures of brandishing will shock some over to the other side.

    And I have to admit as much as I believe in handgun carry for self defense, particularly CCW, if I did see a guy going through the pain of hauling around an AR-15 on his/her daily chores in Suburban Denver I would really wonder what his/her issue is.

    I hope the extremists on our side wisen up on this, though whether they do or don’t I think we have the numbers to ultimately carry the day. I hope the extremists on the other side never do, but since they have no moderates to fall back on or give their message a reasonable tone I doubt they will.

    • Sad to say, it reminds me of the late 1960s, when the Weatherman spent so much of their time talking to fellow leftists that they were convinced that blowing up a few buildings would cause their fellow Americans to rise up and overthrow the capitalist system.

      • Stephen says:

        Great Analogy! And also possibly Timothy McVeigh.

        • Yeah, and look how effective his actions were… in making President Clinton look like an important and respected public official again. The newly Republican-controlled Congress was actually preparing for hearings about Waco when McVeigh’s monstrous crime suddenly made concern about Waco look downright stupid.

  5. RP says:

    Yet, gun control bullies that don’t even live in our state troll our Facebook pages looking for their next target.

    Yes! Exactly, you fucking retards. Holy hell these people are dense.

  6. Jay says:

    To put this in perspective, I think of the in-your-face rifle OC as fundamentally the same tactic as gay “kiss-ins” and mass same-sex marriage ceremonies. The high pressure tactics used by the “gay” lobby the past few years have netted them fewer gains than perhaps they would have if they had taken a more “chill” approach.

  7. David W. says:

    Seems to me these guys just want to make a scene.

    I think what would really help open carry is if you branded it completely different. I mean, none of us, outside of a gun rights rally, would ever carry a long gun around town, unless something really bad happened like zombie apocalypse or invasion or something, in which case no one would really care. So why carry modern long guns?

    I bet you could get more done by dressing up like revolutionary war era militia/regulars and have period correct reproductions, play yankee doodle on a flute and walk through town that way. With a Gasden flag, American flag, and a flag that has your group’s picture on it. Think about it. The anti gunners will go “They want to legalize loaded dangerous assault weapons in public!” and people who arent really paying attention will go “You mean the guys who dress up and have a parade once a month? I take my kids to see that. It’s all good fun. Ya’ll crazy.” and bam, culture war win for us.

    It probably won’t cause a nation wide or international incident, or give cops a reason to illegally arrest anyone, but it’s activism I think the average person will see and enjoy and tie that good feeling in with whatever group does it. The real question is what are these in-your-face groups objectives? Increasing gun rights? or making a scene?

  8. Will says:

    Got to admit, these people are really clueless:

    from their blog:
    “I had forgotten that I had my AR-15 on my back (I was wearing body armor and couldn’t feel the rifle against my body), and instead of listening to me tell them there was a potential threat, several troopers began yelling at me to take my weapon off of the capitol grounds.”

    Why are these people wearing military style body armour? WTF? I don’t want the f’ing cops wandering around looking like wannabe soldiers, what the hell makes these types think the public will like them doing it?

    If they had any brains, they would leave the military pattern guns and gear in the closet, and just carry hunting/plinking style rifles and shotguns around. Much better PR, I think. And stay the hell out of restaurants!

    • Beatbox says:

      Holy crap. That whole post is so full of fail. It shows the mentality we are dealing with. I love how the guy with the AR 15 on his back berates the cops because they won’t follow his orders to “disarm” the “potential threat” of a homeless guy holding a trowel.

    • I’ve worn body armor for work. To be frank, it sucks balls.

      Nobody “forgets” they are wearing hard plate armor and a slung rifle.

      • Geodkyt says:

        ^^ THIS ^^

        Body armor sucks, and the darned rifle sling keeps slipping. Hell, I’d have been more likely to forget I had a chow slung M16A1 after a few days in the field than I would be to forget I had a rifle while wearing body armor.

        And I can’t “help normalize” OC rifle carry in military body armor because I don’t walk around in my normal life wearing a friggin’ plate carrier. (If you find yourself, on a day to day basis, wearing heavy body armor and slinging a rifle, and it isn’t because the taxpayers pay you to do so, your “normal life” is pretty f-ed up. I would suggest finding a new neighborhood to live in, and move the Hell out of Fallujah.)

  9. Bubblehead Les says:

    If they want OC in Texas, then they have to do like we did Ohio. Win a few Court Cases, elect Pro-Gun Politicians and Judges, and pass the Legislation. Otherwise, these guys end up like all the “Occupy Hippies”: A Loud, Noisy, Obnoxious Group that accomplished NOTHING except to piss people off.

  10. I don’t know what the numbers are in the Texas legislature, but if there is not a pro-gun rights majority, then these incidents might make them take Texas in the California direction: ban all open carry.

    If that is possible, do we really want to give Watts and Bloomberg a REAL victory to crow about?

    The OC people are PR idiots, and at best their actions will be neutral for us, AT BEST! Knock it off you guy!

    • Tim Covington says:

      The thing is, the majority of representatives in Texas are not anti-gun as much as they are against open carry. They’ve put subtle things in place to limit carry (like having one of the most expensive CHL fees in the nation).

  11. Patrick says:

    We have to consider that Open Carry Texas might be a false flag operation, working hard to destabilize the politics before the next legislative session (every two years in Texas).

    Not everyone deserves a gold star for “effort”. We stand on our own, and we measure outcomes. And when it comes to outcomes, frankly these guys are winning for Bloomberg. The only way they “win” is to lose something for the rest of us.

    I question is whether this is intentional. Are they working for the other side, or (worse yet) working against our side because of a vendetta?

    In their eyes they do no wrong – nope, because they right and never fail (just like those kids who get medals for showing up). Did somebody fail to recognize their status as a “special snowflake”?

    • Echo says:

      No, they just cray cray.
      Seriously guy, I hate to acknowledge it as much as you do, but we do have a fair number of nutty people on our side of the issue, and they’ve gravitated towards each other to form groups like this.

      • Patrick says:

        I know. I was just hoping.

        There are crazies out there who claim to be on our side. I’ve chased a few of them from rallies.

        I have a small range and know people who run much larger ranges – and they have banned people for being dumb (including saying dumb things) in public, before. I’d work to make it hard for these guys to get onto a range. Sorry, but we need standards and drawing a line in the sand that says, “crazy not allowed” is a good start.

        And they brag about drug use?

        These guys are not in our community. They live in a world all to themselves, and me thinks we should treat them that way.

    • Jamfish says:

      Have to say that did cross my mind. But, no, they’re just oblivious to their own actions.

    • Jdude says:

      The Campus Carry guys and Open Carry guys in Texas have been at odds for several years now, including cutting each other’s throats at the legislature.

  12. The email I wrote them:

    Dear OCT,

    I recently heard of your organization’s interactions with Jack in the Box and Chipotle. Both corporate chains have asked all gun owners to avoid coming to their stores due to open-carry rifle protests/events on their property. I ask that you re-evaluate your tactics to avoid giving actionable fodder to Mayors Against Illegal Guns/Moms Demand Action.

    I am a strong second amendment advocate. I am an NRA life member, am engaged in civic events on the issue, write letters to the editor, and yes, have open carried a side arm. I think Texas needs to change their law to allow unregistered open carry (or Constitutional Carry, like my home state of Alaska). That said, your tactics are being turned against our side by the anti-gun movement.

    I suggest that you try several variations on the open carry tactic:
    1) Stage OC events on public property, like parks or the legislature, not on private corporate property. This reduces the ability of the anti-gunners to pressure business owners.
    2) Stage OC events on known friendly ground, including the private property of local or regional businesses that welcome interaction with us and will not cave like wet paper towels when Bloomberg comes knocking.
    3) Stage “empty holster open carry” events. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus uses this tactic. It meets your organization’s first goal of raising awareness without generating photo-ops that lead to PR victories for gun control groups.

    Thanks for your consideration. I look forward to seeing some real, actually effective, leadership on this issue.

    Cheers,
    Chris

    • Sebastian says:

      I think if they followed your advice, this would all go away.

    • Sebastian says:

      I especially agree about using local establishments that are known friendly if they want to have an OC dinner. That offers Watts no opportunity.

      • Geodkyt says:

        Frankly, that’s how VCDL got rid of the “Can’t pick up a pizza with a concealed weapon” law* in Virginia. They held “dinner meetings” in gun-friendly (or at least “gun-neutral”) rstaurants at least once a month in liberal NoVA.

        * VA had a weird law the antis slipped into the Shall Issue law in 1995 – for the first time in VA history, it was illegal to carry concealed in a “restaurant” that had an on-premises liquor license (we don’t have “bars” in VA, only “restaurants” that have an on-premises ABC license – so the “guns in bars” law equally applied to picking up carry-out from a friggin’ Pizza Hut that had dine-in tables, because they sold beer to the dining room patrons). But teh Shall Issue law didn’t affect Open Carry, so you COULD walk into a “restaurant” that had a menu of nothing but grilled cheese sandwiches (hot prepared food = “restaurant”) and booze, pistol freely exposed to the world.

    • RP says:

      Very nice.

    • The Jack says:

      Excellent work.

    • Beatbox says:

      It won’t work. These guys are attention whores. They live to piss off the antis, and get validation from the legit 2a supporters. We can’t do anything about the former, but The best for us to do is marginalize them, when their hunting don’t call them, or the guys at the local bar they are trying to impress ignore them, their ranks will get smaller and smaller.

    • Cormac says:

      I’ve been trying to suggest this to some of their members on fb for a few days now.
      Maybe yours will work…it’s certainly worded better.

  13. Jdude says:

    I open carry a rifle from time to time. Thing is, I’m not an attention whore about it… and I don’t scare people.

    I do it when riding a motorcycle. It is slung on my back as I go to the range or other shooting related event. I’ll go to the drive through if I am hungry. Sometimes I will go inside, and if I do I remove my helmet, talk to someone, and ask if there’s a good spot “Cause I can’t just leave this against my bike”. I am always dressed appropriately. Never a problem.

    “I’m sorry to inconvenience you, but it’s been a long ride and if you have a seat out of the way…” will work a whole hell of a lot better than whatever it is they are doing.

    • Patrick says:

      Everything you said is an issue about practicality. From the sound of your post, you’d probably be a gentleman if a manager said, “hey, the other folks might get scared…could you help me out and maybe do take-out?”

      I would. It’s not my house.

      These guys are not practical. They are not stopping to eat on the way home from the range while riding their bikes. They are standing out and playing with their pieces in public, taking pictures and whoring for drama.

      If they have a gun for the purposes of getting public attention, they are doing it wrong. Look at these bozos manhandling their rifles and posing. I read something on Tam’s site that seems apropos: “stop playing with it.”

      That seems to apply here.

    • Geodkyt says:

      So, you’re “normalizing rifle OC” by OC’ing a rifle whilst going about your normal business, and acting all normal about it?

      Shocking. {grin}

  14. As an aside, I used to live in San Angelo. The Knickerbocker “walkabout” is one of the medium to larger size roads. Double Daves is an awesome local/regional pizza joint.

    I am half inclined to call ahead to these places and warn them to have no compulsions about trespassing these guys. I’d prefer for them to be thrown out and end the issue right there than to have it go to corporate and the media.

    • AntiCitizenOne says:

      Please do consider doing this.

    • AntiCitizenOne says:

      If not pre-emptively trespass them, at least tell the owners of the restaurants to buy some cheap nylon holsters, have them ready to pass them out to the OCT guys, on condition that they secure their own rifles in their cars. At least they will have some form of protest like Students for Concealed Carry.

    • Geodkyt says:

      I like this idea. “Stopping dangerous idjits” should not be a political issue.

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