This has been getting some major press coverage recently, though it does not especially involve an ongoing political dispute. The point of open carry is that proponents want to be allowed to carry their handguns exposed on their hips wherever they go. To illustrate this point, many of these types have taken their big, clunky semiautomatic weapons into restaurants and other establishments (this type of open carry is currently legal in Texas).
State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic nominee for Governor, has absurdly come out in favor of open carry, as has Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for Governor. That being said, the issue I want to hone in on, open carry of long guns such as the firearms pictured above, has long been legal in this State.
These firearm enthusiasts, to say the least, have now been making a habit of taking their heavily weaponry into private businesses and blowing their tops (figuratively, of course) when denied service. Chipolte and Jack in the Box, specifically, have seen the highest profile incidents. Now, Chipolte is firing back by publicly announcing these long guns are no longer welcome.
First of all, the issue of whether or not Chipolte or other private businesses have the right to ban guns is beyond question: they do. While those on the left and those on the right may disagree as to how expansive the 2nd Amendment may be, I think we can all agree that there is some underlying right to firearms in this country. However, much like any other right protected under the Bill of Rights, this is referring specifically to the Federal Government (later incorporated to the States and its agents). Accordingly, just as how “the Government” cannot jail you for burning a flag, it cannot take away your handguns.
But Chipolte, or any other private establishment, could certainly prohibit you from burning a flag on its property. It could also prohibit you from holding a political rally on its premises. Surely, it could also make you leave the deadly instruments at the door.
The comparison between the 2nd Amendment and the 1st Amendment is particularly apt, however, and I want to expand upon it in a different direction. Carrying around a long gun in public is perfectly legal, but that does not necessarily mean you should do it. It especially does not mean that we should feel pressured to condone this ludicrous activity.
If you feel the need to carry a huge, military-style weapon when you dine for burritos, you have some serious problems. Just as how we do not lionize those who stand on soap boxes and rant in the park as some sort of brave defender of the 1st Amendment, we should not do the same for the sociopaths who feel the need to patronize casual Mexican restaurants with their small armories.
The old adage is that “an armed society is a polite society,” but the facts just do not support that point of view. Somalia has a lot of armed citizens and Japan is quite polite, despite it being nearly impossible to obtain a gun there.