Sunday, September 29, 2013

Open Carry In Texas

BobS is hosting a discussion on OC as that applies to the peculiarities of Texas.  Some good stuff in the comments, including this questionable analysis:
I think the principal factor in the principle in question is (or at least ought to be), does the action result in attraction of others to the principle being demonstrated for? IOW does what we do attract others in support of that thing or idea? There’s a strategy involved here which IMO ought to focus more on making uninvolved people aware of their shared loss of rights and less on our defiance of those rights being abused.

To that end, I think the whole “long guns carried to someone’s place of public business” thing is overly confrontational – thus not attractive behavior to uninvolved fellow citizens – and overly done to boot. The Starbucks type of gathering might still be be an excellent locale for an OC empty holster demonstration, but these need to be more than just a bunch of (mostly) guys wearing empty holsters (which is great political symbolism BTW). There needs to be some actual political activism along with the eye-catching display of manly fashion accessories; signs, placards, maybe some brochures or flyers, perhaps an actual dedicated website in support of the political principle being demonstrated for.

Toting an AR/AK around town is just threatening/annoying unless it is as an obvious prop in support of a political thesis (say, a rifle with a sign in support of 2A attached for instance).
Here’s a specific suggestion: arrange a “activism date” with some friends at a public place where firearms aren’t expressly prohibited, print up a dozen flyers for each attendee to pass out in support of open carry legislation in Texas, everyone OC an empty holster (perhaps a few carry rifles/shotguns with signs attached that mention “human rights being denied to Texans”), solicit signatures for a petition to the legislature in support of OC legislation in the next session (doing so online thru the afore mentioned website would be best here) and invite the local media – being ready to play to their particular format interests especially.
Admittedly, all of this requires a bit more effort than casually getting a cup of iffy coffee while scaring the white people proles other customers.
Most of all, what is needed is a continuous sense of change in the activity/venue involved so as to imply a continuous advancement in the message being delivered – which in turn implies a reduction in resistance to the rights being exercised in a normal, regular fashion. No, the latter doesn’t logically follow the former – its politics; emotion and a personal feeling of common perception are the driving factors.

In short, OC supporters need to become an actual political organization instead of a gaggle of well-intended but slightly scary individuals. Toward that end, association with an established organization is the key. There are a number of TSRA members here in the Tyler area (here’s one with pictures from one of their recent events; also here) that have staged events over this past summer. Finding a Texas business to structure group formation around is what is desired; maybe these guys would be interested – I doubt I’m the only member who reads your blog.
The point at issue for me about Open Carry activism here in Texas is that there doesn’t seem to be that much outright objection to the idea of people carrying guns comfortably per se, but there is a lot of lethargy about building the legal and social hoops necessary for that change to happen. And, Yes, the hoops are necessary – politics, remember? Laws, courts, judges, district attorneys, cops – there are a lot of people who are already invested in the status quo ante, and people are generally lazy about doing anything different to what they are already comfortable/familiar with.

So, we need to build an organization that provides the support infrastructure so our individual acts of 2A activism can be easily combined into a state-wide effort, that attracts general citizen notice and acceptance (if not outright support, at least no resistance) of the political principle being pursued.
Prior to all that spontaneously coming into being, maybe just individuals going around openly wearing an empty holster all the time really is the simplest way to start. Not sexy or confrontational, kinda sad really, and there’s the hook; “it’s sad so many Texans have there human rights so badly denied them, don’t you agree?” If it’s not only about icky guns, people see opportunity for their pet interest too, and as long as they don’t oppose 2A rights/legislation we win.
 My objection to many previous OC events (notoriously at Starbucks) is that they appear to focus on the defiance of existing gun laws (or maybe just defiance to the existence of those laws) and not on gaining adherents to changing those laws.  If the existence of overly restrictive gun laws is your political point, giving the (however metaphorical) finger to those who abide by those laws doesn't seem the best possible means to actually changing (and ultimately doing away with) those laws.

1 comment:

Bob S. said...


Thanks for the comments and the links. It is a great discussion and I'm glad everyone is pitching in.

Here is a thought that I didn't think about until I read your closing comments.

on the defiance of existing gun laws (or maybe just defiance to the existence of those laws)

Is that necessarily a bad thing?
Honestly, we have so many overwhelmingly restrictive laws that people aren't aware of. Making them aware and opposed to those laws can be a good thing, right?

I'm minded of the Heinlein Book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" -- where before the revolution, the Loonies had to be made aware of how much they didn't have, how tough the laws were, etc.