Hey friends. I got called on the carpet by Bob S. regarding a post I made last week regarding Open Carry of firearms and the Mom’s Demand Action pressure being applied to Kroger.. While I actually agree with him, my wording was not as clear as it could have been. I’ve already responded to him, but that response is also a great opportunity to further the conversation.
Here is Bob’s comment:
There were repeated incidences of Open Carry in Kroger. The difference was not Open Carry but how pro-rights advocates responded to the protests and extortion attempts by the anti-gun groups. In the case of Starbucks, the pro-gun side flooded the stores with messages of support, images of them carrying firearms in the stores, images of firearms and Starbucks products together. Pro-rights advocates flooded the social media sites of Starbucks with thousands of statements and messages — many completely mis-stating Starbucks position.
That is the difference. We learned from the problems we created at Starbucks and didn’t do the same at Kroger. But it wasn’t simply just ‘Open Carry’
I wasn’t referring to incidents of open carry, at all, so I agree on that point hands down. As far as the second position? I.e. what went wrong with Starbucks and some of these other places? That’s exactly what I meant and is the whole point of the post. Let us NOT forget the lessons we learned. It’s particularly important in this case, because I believe MDA is doing their best to try and incite the kind of response you detailed so well.
Allow me to clarify my OC position a bit. I know it’s a touchy subject in the gun community over the last couple years. I have not problem at all with the principles of open carry. In some cases concealed may be best, in other cases, open carry. We should have the option to choose what is best for the circumstances.
I’ve posted elsewhere – such as The Truth About Guns – my thoughts on Open Carry activists. There are two kind out there that I’ve seen.
There’s one group that is a formal organization that organizes rallies, protests, activism, etc. The public open carry marches, for example, set up by OCT would be in this group. I think such events have done a good job in educating people about the problem in Texas. Some of the informational open carry events, such as how a group in (I believe it was) Ohio was passing out educational flyers in neighborhoods was another positive example. The Florida fishing trips are another clever method of activism that I think has helped. It wouldn’t be hard to come up with plenty of other positive examples of Open Carry activism. As you noted, these groups have made some mistakes in the past and have learned from them. These were not the people to whom I am referring.
There’s a second group out there. These are the “We gonna do sum open carry” people who glob together, treat making a scene the same as holding an event, then post their selfies and YouTube videos from their phones. God love these people! I’m sure most have their hearts in the right place. I don’t think most are simply attention seekers. I am concerned that some are simply looking for a fight, or at least payback to Shannon and Bloomberg for the trouble they’ve caused. These are the people to whom I was writing. They are not helping the cause, in my opinion.
Just to give a bit of further clarification, the single incidents of open carry such as have already happened with Kroger I don’t consider “activism.” I don’t even put it in the category of “exercising his/her rights.” True, these may be the reason they are carrying. But they may also be coming in from the field. They may have been in a seedy neighborhood. They may simply carry openly simply on principle. That FNX-45 may just not be concealable. There are lots of reasons to open carry. For me, it’s simply a matter of someone merely going about their business. I’m not worried about the guy I see carrying a gun. I’m worried about the bad guy with any type of hidden weapon – gun or not.
I had the opportunity to put action to words with my 11 year old son recently on this subject (and, yes, that’s him in the picture). Now, I live in the St. Louis area. In fact, I drive through North St. Louis county daily going to and from work. My son had seen someone in the Ferguson/Florissant area wearing a pistol on his hip. He’s comfortable about guns, but since open carry is not legal on the Illinois side of the river where we live, he was a bit concerned. I was able to point out to him that in Missouri it’s Ok to carry openly. I also was able to point out that the guy is almost certainly a “good guy” because the “bad guys” carrying in that part of town are going to invite scrutiny. It was also a chance for me to talk to him about choosing when to open carry, conceal carry or carry at all.
For the record, this was months before all the unrest out here.
As I said, I’m fine with open carry. I do have a problem with people who don’t really understand the nature of this fight. The general public is our mission field. They are ripe to be won over, and there has been great success in that regard.
MDA, MAIG, Shannon Watts, Michael Bloomberg, however, are enemies to be destroyed politically. Utterly and without mercy. That, by the way, is very different from getting revenge. If your goal is revenge, you will fail in the large game.
This presents us a very fine line to walk. Know and understand the enemy. Remember that Shannon Watts is a PR professional. That tells you right there the kind of battle in which we are engaged. The reality is that it’s not ultimately about what our rights are, it’s about the hearts and minds of the public. Making false associations or creating a scene in order to make a statement is generally not going to help win those hearts and minds.
Notice what I said twice? “Hearts and mind.” We won’t win with just one or the other. We need both. Even though we easily win the mind part – i.e. the facts – we cannot neglect the heart – the emotional side. Nothing blinds the mind to fact quicker than the emotions of the heart. Shannon Watts understands this and is skilled in abusing it. We, however have both the legal and moral high ground here. If we really wanted to think about it and put some effort into communicating, we also have the emotional argument.
Want a bit of help on getting the message to people? Probably the best tool you will ever find is Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book of Rules. It has served me brilliantly for decades. The Dale Carnegie Course is something that everyone should take if they get the opportunity.
I’ll try to be more specific in the future. Or at least make sure I reference back to this article to avoid confusion. I am glad I’ve got readers like Bob who care enough to call these things out.
What are your thoughts on Open Carry?