About a week ago, I made a point of harshly castigating those who brazenly display their long guns in public. At that point, Chipolte had made waves in publicly prohibiting firearms at their locations. In recent days, as a direct result of more silliness from the Open Carry advocates, both Chili’s and Sonic announced that they too would prohibit guns. As a result of the increasingly heated rhetoric coming from the advocates, even the National Rifle Association stepped in as a voice of reason. Strange times indeed. Of all the news articles that summed up the situation, I thought that the Dallas Observer had the most comprehensive summation.
“Let’s not mince words, not only is it rare, it’s downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself,” the NRA wrote on one of its online publications of open carry. “More to the point, it’s just not neighborly, which is out of character for the big-hearted residents of Texas.”
Strangely enough, the NRA post did not mention anything about private property rights, which is –in my opinion– the most convincing argument for the restrictions on firearms. As I have explained previously, even though a right to bear arms is protected, much like any other right protected under the Constitution, it does not extend into private businesses. You cannot bring a soapbox and give a soliloquy about your strange political views at a Chili’s, so you should not be allowed to it symbolically with an assault rifle.
In response to all this, the Open Carry advocates fired back and called the NRA “gun control extremists” and complicit with the “lapdog media.” I must admit that something is seriously wrong when the National Rifle Association is literally called not only an advocate of gun control, but an extremist of that position.
However, I have seen almost every reasonably minded conservative rightly criticize these loons.
Open Carry, in and of itself, is not a big political dispute. Obviously, since you cannot competently conceal a long gun, they must be openly displayed. As for the open carry of handguns, that is not yet legal in Texas, but I would bet a large sum that it will be legalized in the next session of the Legislature. Both Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis support it, for example.
But the obsession with bringing your semiautomatic rifles on a trip for a Cherry Limeade is just ridiculous. “Downright weird” is probably a better descriptor than anything I could have come up with. As I have said before –and I mean this without the slightest bit of judgment or animus– the people who do this need professional help.
Letters from Texas has more.