Hearing Tomorrow

Meleanie Hain will have her hearing tomorrow to appeal her revocation of her License to Carry by the Lebanon County Sheriff.  My previous comments on the matter a few weeks ago don’t affect my desire to see Ms. Hain prevail in her case.  Whether or not it’s the best public relations strategy I think is debatable, but the law is not, and she should get her LTC reinstated.

5 thoughts on “Hearing Tomorrow”

  1. You’re still missing the point. Meleanie’s actions were NOT a “public relations strategy”. She has OC’d to both practices and games, on numerous occasions, both before and since the revocation without incident.

    The only thing unique about the game on the 11th was the overreaction by a public defender and (former) judge who got their panties in a bunch.

  2. Greg,

    This might be something we disagree on, and that’s fine. And I’m truthfully really conflicted on it myself, because I won’t really oppose people open carrying going about their daily lives, since I think you should be able to carry a firearm for self-protection in any manner you’re comfortable with, without having to worry about getting harassed by state officials.

    But at the same time, open carry ends up being a public relations issue whether we want it to be or not, just by virtue of the fact that it’s not widespread practice. I know you can’t have 100% control over everybody, and I know you have to help people like Hain get justice; I can’t blame you for that. But I think you guys need to develop some kind of protocol for people who want to open carry to try to make sure there’s less likelihood of situations developing that are going to present a media issue.

    A kids soccer game is a sensitive area. Both because of kids being around, and because there’s a history of parents flying off the handle at kids’ sporting events. There are some situations where you guys should probably encourage open carriers to go concealed. It might not be right, but the fact of the matter is if this kind of stuff makes the media pages, it’s going to result in a relatively unsympathetic public. That’s not going to be good for the cause over the long run. As much as it might feel wrong, I think some deference should be given to public attitudes on this topic. Someone getting harassed in a restaurant, Home Depot, or a public park is probably going to elicit a better response than someone getting harassed at a kids soccer game.

    I think open carry needs to treat media attention as unwelcome, even though it will happen. And I would gear open carry Standard Operating Procedure to make sure that when it does happen, it will be in situations where there will be more public understanding, and more room to provoke a real discussion of the topic. It may be irrational, but when it comes to guns combined with kids activities, much of the public is going to have an emotional reaction, which will shut down any rational and reasonable thought.

  3. I have disagreed with Sebastian on this case since I feel that a soccer mom is perceived as inoffensive so is a good role model on normalcy of open carry, especially at a child’s game. Logically if you agree with open carry, the venue does not matter. Perhaps it may even be more important to be able to defend children then just yourself or fellow shoppers at the store.

    But this case has emotional resonance’s that make Sebastian uncomfortable and he is not the only gun activist or CCW carrier that has expressed his/ her discomfort on this case.

    Why does it make CCW holder and other gun rights uncomfortable to have a mom open carry at a soccer game for 5-8 yr olds?

    I speculate that it could be that it makes a statement openly about the safety of our society that a mother feel it is appropriate to open carry for defensive purposes at a soccer game. We all know that bad things happen at the most innocent places logically. But emotionally we do not want to feel or accept that it is so dangerous today that we should be armed openly at a soccer game of young children.

    I know that people would not want to have armed guards or police surround a soccer game because that is a message that it is too dangerous to have children play in a park without armed guards. Perhaps that discomfort is the real issue here.

  4. Sebastian,

    I do understand that the practice of OC has the potential of becoming a ‘public relations issue’ at any time, but recently many comments (even by supposed RKBA supporters) seem to intimate that these incidents are staged events, and that the choices of when and where they are being staged has not been well thought out. On that point, I completely disagree – as they are not ‘pre-planned’ encounters at all.

    I am personally 100% opposed to being involved in “developing a protocol” when it comes to OC. Regardless of the source, ‘reasonable restrictions’ are something I abhor and will not actively be a part of. It’s no secret that I’m not afraid to speak my mind, and will continue to do so in regards to OC. There are certainly places that I choose to conceal, but I recognize that this is a personal choice, and someone else may choose to OC as we walk together into a place where I myself conceal. Personally, I am much more stubborn about NOT concealing in places where the law clearly prevents authorities from interfering with the exercise of my right – like a public park or polling place, for example. ‘Harassment’ in a business or restaurant, when sparked by someone other than an LEO exceeding their legal authority, is a losing battle. THAT’s the battle that shouldn’t be fought. Property rights are no less important than my right to carry, and to attempt to suggest otherwise is just silly.

    Apparently, presidential candidates and children are the current taboo, though I guess vice-presidential candidates are ok (http://tinyurl.com/3uw9j8) – or maybe it depends on the letter next to their name. Also, both my 1-year old niece and the children at my son’s (former) babysitter all remain healthy and free from apparent trauma, despite their exposure and close proximity to my unconcealed firearm.

    I’m not sure I see the point of avoiding these perceived ‘sensitive areas’. Let’s say that OCers indeed do that, and our movement grows until 50% of carriers in PA OC on a regular basis – all the while avoiding kids’ soccer games. Then, the first time someone OCs to a game, there is an uproar because ‘you’ve never done that here before’. Normalcy in one place, even well-established by many over a long period of time, doesn’t necessarily have any effect on the public perception in another – at least in my view.

    It’s not the presence of a firearm near children that “shuts down any rational and reasonable thought”. That’s already taken place beforehand – which is what causes the Chicken Little response to the situation. You say it’s the effect, I believe it’s the cause.

  5. RAH:

    The venue shouldn’t matter, but it does. Open Carry is activism. It’s organized. It has leaders. Others are encouraged to join in. If it’s activism, there should be a goal. If the goal is to get the public used to the idea of seeing people carrying firearms for self-protection, so people can carry places openly without harassment from state officials or the public at large, then there needs to be a plan.

    I think part of that plan needs to be avoiding media exposure in places the public is likely to by unsympathetic to a person having a firearm. Sometimes it will happen. I doubt Greg, for instance, thought he was going to encounter a problem at his polling place.

    The real problem is probably this — you need a way to weed out the people who want to open carry because they are attention seekers or agitators. Those aren’t the kinds of people you want getting in front of the cameras and getting into the media, because they will open carry for their own purposes, not for the purposes of the movement. That’s why I suggested some sort of protocol; a basic standard of behavior for activists to adhere to. If people want to open carry because it’s their right, fine — but if they violate the protocol, they aren’t part of the movement and can’t expect people to rally to their defense. I know that sucks, because people like the guy who got caught OCing outside the Obama Rally are legally within their rights — but that was just a bad idea, bound to attract the wrong kind of attention. I’m not entirely certain that the person who was caught doing that didn’t get the result he was looking for. You need a way to weed those people out, or you’ll just get more of them, and more of them — until eventually there’s enough negative media attention that you might get the public fired up against open carry, which is going to be a problem for all of us.

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