Implicitly, Barr and Gottlieb are advising gun owners who want to carry guns in public to keep them concealed from view; that is, make sure the danger is hidden. Perhaps this exposes their real concern about the open carry movement – that it eventually will cause a surge in public concern about the far more prevalent concealed carrying of guns made possible by the gun lobby-supported “shall-issue” laws passed in most states during the last two decades making it far easier to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons. They also likely fear that open carry may intensify public opposition to recent efforts to gradually expand the locations in which concealed carry may occur -such as parks, bars, college campuses, even airports. After all, it’s not the “openness” of open carry that scares people – it’s the presence of the guns themselves and the inherent danger they entail. The only reason there is not an equivalent reaction to concealed carry is that the danger is, by definition, hidden from view.
He seems to believe that Barr and Gottlieb are somehow tacitlyÂ acknowledgingÂ the danger. There is no significant public danger from the open carry movement. The “danger” is the Brady Campaign doing exactly what they are doing now: trying to use the issue to push their agenda and to divide our movement.
Concealed carry laws don’t exactly have low levels of support. Even in Iowa, the latest battleground for concealed carry reform, opposition doesn’t beat 50%. But what Dennis understands is that public policy isn’t made by poll, but by determined minorities. If the 43% of Iowans that want to reform the concealed carry laws are motivated to do so, while the opposition is passive, reform wins. What they are looking for is getting some of that passive opposition to turn active.
The concern Gottlieb and Barr have is not that the public will suddenly realize the danger, and the gig will be up. The concern is that, much like the public is willing to acquiesce or support equal rights for homosexuals, they might not be so keen on the idea if they believe that means they’ll see gay sex everywhere in public. The analogy to guns may not be perfect, but many people who generally don’t care about or are soft supporters of people being able to carry firearms for self-defense might have a second thought if that means they think society will turned into an armed camp.
That shouldn’t really be our goal. Our goal should be that people who want to or need to carry a firearm for self-defense be able to do so, following their ownÂ judgmentsÂ about their individual circumstances and situation. Whether that right isÂ exercisedÂ through open carry or concealed carry I could care less about. What I do care about, however, are activism methods that have the potential to create a publicÂ backlash.Â The fact that the Brady folks have suddenly jumped on this issue, after its been gaining traction for years, makes me wonder if someone on their side of the issue has paid for a focus group, and we’re now seeing Brady attempt to exploit the opportunity.