Another Angle on the Guns at Rallies

In the previous post, I mostly concentrated on the hearts and minds consequences of this latest guns at rallies controversy.  Namely that a lot of folks who have little or no familiarity with the issue, but aren’t generally hostile to gun rights, are going to be turned off by seeing people use firearms in this matter.   There’s another side to this coin though too, and that’s motivating the opposition.

The gun rights movement has benefited greatly from the fact that no one on the left really has much passion for gun control these days.  We have a lot to credit in that regard, but it’s mostly driven by the fact the there’s a perception among many on the left that they’ve lost on a lot of important issues because of their past pro-gun control positions.  Credibility was lent to this perception by none other than Bill Clinton himself.

That could change greatly if left-progressives think gun rights means armed people showing up to, in their minds, intimidate the public out of agreeing or acquiescing to their position on issues that are important to them.  There’s some anecdotal evidence to support this already.  See the comments at Josh Horowitz HuffPo blog, or Paul Helmke’s.  Early on in the commenting, before pro-gun people arrived in force, I was noticing a lot more than the usual yawn most of Josh or Paul’s posts illicit form the left there.  That tells me this issue resonates.   That’s bad news for us if these incidents keep happening, and considering the people responsible for them are getting the attention they seek, I think that’s a guarantee.  If appearances of armed people at rallies turn guns back into a left/right issue, with the left motivated to stick it to us, it’s going to make our jobs of advancing gun rights a lot harder, and the anti-gun groups may even find a constituency to help push some of their agenda.

14 thoughts on “Another Angle on the Guns at Rallies”

  1. Why don’t we ask this question instead:

    Why do the American people feel so backed up against the wall with the way government has acted the last few years that more and more people are willing to put themselves in legal jeopardy to make a 2nd Amendment statement? I know, it’s legal, but these guys could have easily been hassled for their choices and they put themselves out there.

    Why are Americans so desperate to get their representatives to LISTEN to them that they’re willing to remind politicians of the nuclear option?

  2. On Huffpo, Helmke et al’s blogs have been getting more front page time and links which attracts the Huffers which explains the increased amount of hostility towards anything even remotely resembling ‘republican’ or ‘conservative’.

    The only ones that stick around past the traditional drive by flames are the ‘usual suspects’.

  3. Yes, but the reason they are getting more front page time is because they are writing about shit that progressives care about. We don’t want them to care about gun control. It would be extraordinarily bad if they started caring.

  4. Open carrying is not the “nuclear option.” The “nuclear option” would be armed rebellion. The issue at hand is using firearms as a dramatic prop to get media coverage.

    I think this is cutting both ways. There is lots of coverage now, but it isn’t about socialized medicine – the coverage generated is about open carry, if it should be permitted, and “can you believe that this is legal?”

    For all of those that think this is a stern and sobering warning to those in power, what is going to happen if the government goes ahead and passes healthcare reform?

  5. @genius
    What I meant by nuclear option is exactly as you put it.

    I don’t advocate armed rebellion, but I do think it doesn’t hurt to remind our politicians who they work for.

    I don’t think this can be reserved to an open carry only issue…

  6. assuming we can’t control the number of people OCing, and they keep showing up, how do we turn this into a good thing? That’s the question we should pose. Worst case scenario, one of them brandishes or fires and it looks unprovoked. The usual thing is to find the felony in the guy’s background, and there usually is, and is thus a prohibited person. How do we react quickly after that happens? How do we react if they remain visible but there are no issues? How do we react if an innocent OCer someone is exercising his rights and get’s harassed/arrested?

  7. Sebastian, you hit on the important thing when you said “no one on the left has much passion. . .” What the voters sorta-kinda think about an issue makes no difference if it doesn’t motivate how they vote. Three or four percent of the population who are motivated can swing an election, and what happens at elections is the only thing that motivates legislators. The merits of an issue have nothing to do with anything, for all practical political purposes, and legislators are the only people we need to worry about.

    About 15 years ago I was involved in promoting a certain public policy issue, not RKBA related. I won’t say what the issue was because that is not the point of this discussion. A Penn State scientific poll said we were on the side of the angels, as far as public opinion was concerned. The lowest level of support we had in any identifiable demographic was about 84 percent, with other demographics supporting it up to 95 percent. And yet it never made progress in the General Assembly, because it was not in the interests of legislators, and they did not support it. One of the few legislators who were on our side finally told us, your problem is you have a great, popular issue, but it is never going to be a hot-button issue that decides the outcome of an election — and until you can use your issue to leave a few of our cold, dead bodies on the steps of the capitol (figuratively speaking) after an election, you are going to have no clout at all with the General Assembly.

    I think you can see the analogy: A percentage of the voters being offended by a handful of people open-carrying at a rally are not going to be the motivated constituency that will decide an election. A very small percentage of us offended by the encroachments on our rights, might very well be such a constituency. Do not worry unduly about what the voting public thinks. Work on motivating our own people.

  8. Jessup:

    I agree that the focus should be on motivating our people, but you don’t want to reach so far that you motivate real opposition to your agenda. That’s the mistake Pelosi’s allies and Obama have made on Health Care. That’s also why cap and trade seems to be dead in the water.

  9. I think what has more validity is look at the comments on Huffpo on a Helmke article. They are invariably pro gun. Helmke lost this arguement even with liberals. Many liberals have adopted our arguments about gun rights.

    Why not, If it came to a shooting war who had all the guns?

    Plus crime does not discriminate between Democrat or GOP.

    That poor mayor of Milwaullkee was battered with a lead pipe.

    As to intimidation. Virginia Beach council has brought that up with VCDL and it fell flat. VCDL shows up at council meetings with numbers of OC and yes it does get the message that these people are active and will hold anti gunners to the preemption law and they will exercise their rights to OC at council meetings and damn the torpedoes.

    Paul is not getting any traction on the anti gun side. I really don’t care about OC at a rally protesting unless they brandished. Then arrest the brandisher.

    winning this war is aseries of barrle. The first battle is to get police to respect OC rights. Then get cities and towns to respect preemption.

    The police response at Phoenix and NH was excellent and they said that it was OK. So by exercising their rights , police have learned to respect that. Wisconsin is now learning that and more and more OC is occrting and the anti gun mayors and such are having to live with it.

    The remarkable balance and rational respnse of the reporters on the ground at CNN was quite a bit difference from the response at NH. So maybe the reporters and media will start to turn around from the virulent anti gun stance they have had.

  10. OC takes no ones rights away. Cap and trade and health care take a lot of power from the individual so they are quite differnt. Beside the OC guy s don’t advocate control only Pelosi and friends.

    We used to say that gun control was all about control. So is this single payer and government control care. It gives authority to the government over our persons. That need to be stopped with the soap box at these town halls before it gets to the ammo box.

  11. So what your argument boils down to is that we should do things that make our opponents more comfortable. You might want to rethink that.

  12. Yeah, because I said that, Chris. It’s one thing to reach too far on something that greatly benefits us, like national concealed carry. But what do I get if these folks succeed in normalizing carrying rifles to protests? I don’t like the upside vs. the potential downside.

  13. CCW does not benefit all of us. It is a permit. One has to submit to being checked and verified I am not a danger. That is insulting to a free American that is supposed to rule ourselves.

    If we are to trusted to rule ourselves we have to be trusted with arms. That was the founding fathers arguement.

    CCW does not advance the normalizarion of gun carry in the public eyes because they never see it.

    Also those of us in states that do not have shall issue can not get CCW permits and carry. Some states do not allow OC or CCW.

    National CCW did not allow those states residents inthose progibited states to get a permit and carry. So it may have made life easier for those with the priveledge of CCW permits. But not for those who don’t.

    Point of this is that we should not be defensive of exercising our rights. You sound defensive scared of Helmke. I do not care if Brady bunch is against this, they are against all gun rights and they are on the defensive.

    The followup CNN interview was very good and all they objected was that this was planned and coordinated with Phoenix PD.

    I think it was good interview with Hancock and all,. It showed OC is a positive light. Peaceful and well dressed men excercising their rights without any negative results. No one was shot, arrested or even hassled.

    I may not personally have any wish to carry an AR15 at a rally,but I will support and say that others should not be disparaged if they chose to do so.

    Sebastian you do not seem to see that you are defensive about exercising our rights. I know you think the tactic is wrong, but others respectfully disagree.

    So far the media footage has been positive and even Chris Matthews in his rant which came off demented said he knew it was legal.

    Breda had a point ealier that she was a hoplophobe and as she got educated she changed what she considered was right and proper and it did not disturb her in the least about the OC of an AR15.

    Acceptance and normalization is the goal of OC activists. The reason is that with that goal realized. A person can OC down the street without being picked out and hassled by cops.

    It seems that already part of that goal is accomplished. acceptance by the Whithouse and the police in NH and Arizona.

    Next is the press, who have been the strongest supporters of gun control, especially national media.

    Maybe if we are confident as these two individuals were, we should be confident that our position is right and others will come to share that view.

    If gun rights activists disparage those who have exercised their rights of OC that message if we think it is wrong, nonactivists will say if the gun rights people see the danger then maybe it is a bad idea.

    This is battle not the war. Do not lose the battle through fear. Either it is OK to OC or it is not. If it Ok , it is OK at an anti Obama rally

  14. I know you didn’t say it, I was merely distilling that line of argument. It didn’t look so good put that way, did it?

    I respect your opinion and your arguments, I just didn’t like the way that part of it looked when it was stripped out.

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