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Gotta Disagree Here

I have to disagree with Scalawag over this one (which was linked earlier by David Codrea, talking about the dumbass gun shop owner) I have absolutely no fear of an AK-47 as a rifle, but if I see someone walking down my neighborhood toting a loaded rifle, then yes, I’m going to call the police. Context matters, and that’s something that’s way way out of place in a suburban setting.

Rifles are something you carry to deal with an expected threat, in other words, if the shit has already hit the fan. We carry pistols to deal with unexpected threats. While I would agree that disorderly charges against someone with a holstered, visible side arm would be unjust and unwarranted, and there are many contexts where I would accept the carrying of a loaded rifle, the streets of suburbia aren’t one of them.

I might think a stern talking to would be better than charges here, but we don’t live in a world where you can expect the kind of encounters on foot where a rifle can be effectively employed. Keep one in your home, keep one in your vehicle, but being out on the streets, you’re better off carrying a pistol for close encounters of the criminal variety, and not just so you don’t scare the sheeple.

Sure, I do wish we lived in a world where you could sling a rifle and carry it over to a friend’s house to work on that trigger job, but that’s not the world we inhabit. No one gets educated or relieved of their ignorance by seeing an AK-47 being carrying down the streets of their neighborhood. If anything, it will only feed it.

Feel free to disagree.

16 Responses to “Gotta Disagree Here”

  1. Alcibiades says:

    Well, I would think it would be more appropriate to carry a rifle in a case when transporting it.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I commented on that along the same vein a month or so ago when that story broke. The context there is a little bit different, because it’s a small town, and everyone, including the authorities, know who they are and know why they are doing it. But if they walked into a mall like that, would it be unreasonable to be alarmed?

    I agree with the whole case things Alcibiades, but there was a time when kids used to sling a rifle and take it to school because they planned to hunt or shoot after school. I think even Justice Scalia tells a story of carrying an uncased rifle on the New York Subway, returning from rifle team practice at his high school. There was a time when people had more sense, but that’s not the world we live in today.

  3. Les Jones says:

    I agree. Discretion is always smart, and open carrying a rifle in some circumstances is just begging for the police to be called.

  4. ASM826 says:

    None the less, what part of “keep and bear arms” say you can’t carry your rifle when and where you choose?

  5. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think there should be a law that says when you can and can’t carry a rifle. I would oppose any such law. But you have to use common sense and discretion. Disorderly conduct is your typical catch all that governments like to use to constrain this kind of behavior. I oppose most uses of this when it comes to guns not being carried in an unusual or threatening manner (i.e. secured in a holster), but I’m not sure it’s application is unwarranted in the case of carrying a loaded rifle in a public place where it’s not common or expected.

  6. DirtCrashr says:

    I just hope the hippies and Marxists don’t start carrying guitars around, especially when they start strumming and singing those stupid protest songs – that’s really scary and nasty.

  7. straightarrow says:

    Are you not perhaps projecting? When a lad I never carried a loaded rifle, because the only one I owned was a single shot. Unless I was ready to shoot, I never carried a full chamber. But I had a pocketful of ammunition.

    I, myself, me, this one here, am sick to death of advice about validating the unreasonable fears of ….um, uh … cats.

    Let the sonsabitches fear me if they just can’t help it. I don’t fucking care. I still won’t hurt them. But I am damn tired of being told I should live like them, or at least live so as to pretend I think they count.

  8. Sebastian says:

    It’s not so much that we should worry that they’ll fear us, it’s more the context of the behavior. I would be concerned as hell if I saw a police officer walking down my street carrying a rifle. It’s not so much fear, as it is that a normal person wouldn’t be carrying a rifle down my street except in some very unusual circumstances, and none of those possible circumstnaces are good.

  9. Sailorcurt says:

    If, in the context of this particular town, they feel that carrying a rifle on public rights of way is inappropriate, then they should pass a law disallowing it.

    The article I read specifically said that openly carrying a rifle is legal, it only becomes a crime if doing it in such a way as to cause fear or intimidation. The Police justified arresting the guy not because he was acting in a threatening manner, but simply because, in their opinion, simply having the rifle was enough to cause fear and intimidation.

    If they guy wasn’t breaking any other law, and he wasn’t acting aggressively, pointing it at anyone, or otherwise being stupid, but just carrying it down the street, as far as I’m concerned, they have no case.

    I get nervous when I see old guys with canes. Ever see what one of those things can do to a kneecap? No, he didn’t threaten me with it or shake it at me or anything…I don’t care if he was just hobbling down the street with it, it made me fearful and so he should be charged with disorderly conduct for carrying such an inappropriate implement while walking on public streets.

  10. vinnie says:

    I can think of more reasons for carrying a rifle in a big city than in a small or medium town. the most obvious being that there is little or no mas transit in most of the medium or small towns I have lived in. We drive. How do you transport your newest acquisition home in Mobile if you don’t drive?
    My rights are not dependent on ANYONES comfort level. Yes this means that I can use offensive speech. ( I am old fashioned and expect that if I do so in the presence of a lady I will probably get my nose broken. But it is still my right.)

  11. Alcibiades says:

    I kind of already knew of about that Scalia-NYC-rifle-subway thing from reading David Hardy.

  12. Sebastian says:

    Like I said, it’s not so much comfort level, but doing something that would be very out of place in that context. Most people do not fear police officers with guns, but my first reaction if I saw a police officer walking down my street with a rifle would be “Oh shit, what’s going on?”

    There are certain expectations of behavior in certain contexts, and while I wish I did live in a world where you could sling your new rifle home from the gun shop, and some of us do still live in that world, but those of us in metropolitan settings don’t anymore.

    I don’t believe carrying a rifle anywhere ought to be a crime, but common sense must be used, and if you open carry a rifle in a setting where it’s not common or expected, you can’t act shocked or indignant when the police want to ask you a few questions, possibly while staring down the barrel of their service pistols.

  13. Hazmat97 says:

    Sebastian, I have been following your website since I first came across it on David’s site as a new addition. I have to say, I enjoy reading your posts, I like the new look on the site, and wish you and Bitter the best.

    That said, I must respectfully disagree with your assertions. First, at what point do we cross into the gray areas. I see someone dressed in a manner inconsistent with what is appropriate for my neighborhood, by the standards applied by the PD in question, I can make a phone call and have them arrested for disorderly conduct. No other illegal act is required other than ‘they scared me’.

    This article struck me as wrong when I first read it. I mean, they confiscated the weapon first, let the guy go, and then swore out a warrant for his arrest later? The individual in question was not acting in a threatening manner. In this case, just a guy out walking with his rifle slung over his shoulder. On first glance, this sounds alot like the story I read on the other Sebastian’s site about the VCDL member who was harrassed and arrested in Norfolk. Neither person was a threat, but because they were armed, somebody overreacted.

    In my mind, the only reason the person in question was arrested was his choice in firearm. Had this been a typical bolt gun or auto-loader I don’t think this would have been an issue. But because the rifle in question was an AK-clone, the hysterics commenced.

  14. Sebastian says:

    Thanks for the comment Hazmat. The main distinction between the situation brought up by PGP and this one is that in Virginia, open carry is legal, accepted, and not uncommon. You may not see it often, but you see it. I don’t agree that it was his choice of weapon that made the difference. I think anyone walking down the streets of my neighborhood with a long arm would get the police called on them, because, while it’s lawful, it’s not common or expected. Like I said, even a police officer walking down my street would a long gun would alarm me, but not because I’m afraid of his gun, but because rifles are carried for expected threats, meaning my worry is that there’s some shit going down in my neighborhood. I would probably call 911 even about the cop, because I wouldn’t want to ask him, because if he’s got the rifle out, he’s got better things to worry about than me, and because I’d like to know what’s going on. I’m going to make another post about this soon.

  15. Hazmat97 says:

    I see your point about open carry in VA. Although I still disagree. Open carry is open carry. I understand the need to call PD, but that’s where is should have stopped. PD talks to the guy, everything checks out, they tell him to cool it, end of story. But it didn’t end there. My point was that in the story, someone got scared, most likely because of what was being carried. Would the same thing have happened if the guy was strapped up and open carrying a handgun? Scared, in my mind doesn’t translate into criminal charges for doing something lawful, ableit stupid, or at least it shouldn’t.

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