Wednesday, June 4, 2014

NRA Condems Open-Carry Rallies

The NRA is a mixed bag to me. On the one hand, they are an incredibly impressive lobbying organization. They have managed to protect gun rights (and to win gun rights in court) to an amazing degree. On the other hand, they often go too far in terms of absolutism. So imagine my surprise when the NRA came out and basically condemned these open carry rallies where a bunch of gun nuts descend upon a restaurant or store fully armed.

The open carry ralliers claim they are showing support for those businesses that allow patrons to carry guns on the premises. The NRA, however, called these rallies “weird” and noted that they are counter-productive because they typically end up putting so much pressure on the businesses that they respond by changing their policies to disallow the carrying of guns.

Frankly, the NRA is right about this. These open carry rallies are more pointless fringe theater that just doesn’t play well with the public at large. Think about it. These guys think they are seen as modern patriots who dare to stand up for our rights and that we all secretly respect them and wish we were with them. But that’s bunk. That’s not at all how the public sees them. The public sees them engaging in provocative rallies. They are provocative because there is no clear purpose to the rally except to show that they are armed; essentially the message is “I’m dangerous,” and that is not a message that will be well-received.

Moreover, they are carrying guns when there is no need, and that scares people. Indeed, the introduction of a gun into any situation raises tension because guns are dangerous. That’s why responsible gun owners are taught to handle guns with extreme care and to use them sparingly. That’s why you don’t carry a gun unless there’s a specific need and that’s why you never use guns as props. Yet, these rallyists are using their guns as props. So the public will see this as risky and dangerous and out-of-touch. In fact, the biggest problem is that people will see the inherent danger in this, as it takes only one mistake to cause tragic results with a gun, and yet these rallyists are introducing that danger for no purpose. That makes them irresponsible, a menace, or a threat.

At the same time, the businesses aren’t thrilled about this either, as evidenced by most of them changing their policies after such rallies are held to prevent a recurrence. And the reasons are obvious – they lose customers, they find themselves unwillingly forced into a political debate by one side, and they suddenly face demands by customers to change their policies. The easy way out is to ban guns to calm the public and back out of the debate again.

Pro-gun types who understand that you need to win the hearts and minds of the public to maintain those rights also aren’t thrilled by these rallies because they make pro-gun advocates look like they lack judgment, like all our talk of responsible gun ownership is just talk, like we are a menace, and like we simply don’t fit in to the modern world. None of that is good.

Thoughts?

31 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

And let me point out... this exactly why the public despises OWS, gay rights marches where all the weirdos and kiddie-sex advocates come out, etc.etc. The problem with being on the fringe is that you lose the perspective that tells you "Gee, this is going to upset people... not win them over."

Kit said...

People on the fringe never realize they're on the fringe.

AndrewPrice said...

Very true. In fact, what's interesting is that the fringe(s) go into overdrive to tell themselves that "the silent majority" of people are with them "if only the public would hear them." Then it comes as a shock to them when only 200 unwashed dipsh*ts show up for an OWS rally and the rest of the public looks at them with disgust. It's a huge disconnect from what they've told themselves about the public, and that is what often leads to increased bitterness.

Rustbelt said...

"People on the fringe never realize they're on the fringe."

Kit for the win!

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, It's actually an easy phenomena to explain. These people tend to be ideologically intolerant. Thus, for example, an environmentalist won't mix with people who don't share their views. This means they end up living in a bubble where everyone they know thinks like they do. So when they try to determine what percentage of the public agrees with them, all they know is that 100% of the people they know (except for maybe a relative or two they despise) agrees with them. Ergo, they extrapolate to conclude that the vast majority of the public must agree with them.

Then they are shocked when things don't pan out that way and they invent all kinds of excuses -- MSM lies to people, government/industry bought them off, voter fraud, etc. Finally, when they can't invent anymore lies, they decide that the public has betrayed them and doesn't deserve to be saved.

Kit said...

"Finally, when they can't invent anymore lies, they decide that the public has betrayed them and doesn't deserve to be saved."

Sounds exactly like Adolf Hitler in Downfall when he realizes that those (imaginary) 250 Finnish fighter jets won't be saving his behind.

Kit said...

Thanks Rustbelt!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I concur with you and the NRA, Andrew.
There really os no need for this kind of theater and it's counter- productive to maintaining our right to bear arms.
The anti-gun rights left will use the craziest looking guys displaying their weapons poster boys for gun control.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Besides, it's much more tactically advantageous to have concealed weapons.
Why let bad guys know who has the guns?

Anthony said...

Before I begin I'll confess that I'm not big on guns. While I don't own guns or hang out at gun shows or anything, I believe gun control is pointless because like drugs, they are out there in such vast quantities that anyone who wants one can get one easily.

I think the NRA, like any other single issue organization, tends to take a fairly extreme position and the more they win, the more they want. Kind of like with gays, gun rights types have more in 2014 than they could have hoped for in 1994 or even 2004 (in both cases this is due in part to a change in public sympathies, in part due to sympathetic but defensible court rulings).

Now gays are pressuring anti-gay bakers to bake their wedding cakes for their gay marriages and gun rights types are fighting against restaurants who think a guy festooned with shotguns and rifles is a danger that lessens foot traffic.

I don't think that such stances really hurt the appeal of those organizations. Most of the public doesn't care about stuff that low level and those that do probably aren't on the fence.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/nra-spokesman-calls-open-carry-protest-criticism-a-mistake/

The National Rifle Association is walking back comments that were critical of “open carry” protesters in Texas after some major backlash from groups that began accusing the group of not standing up strongly enough for gun rights. During an appearance on the NRA’s radio show Cam & Company Tuesday, the executive director of the group’s lobbying arm, Chris Cox, called the initial statement a “mistake.”
-----------
Cox was in damage control mode Tuesday, attempting to ensure members that the NRA “supports open carry” and “concealed carry” unequivocally. As for the statement that went out last week, Cox added, “That was a mistake — it shouldn’t have happen.” He said he personally “spoke to” the staffer who wrongly included his “personal opinion” in the statement.

ScottDS said...

Yeah, I just read yesterday the NRA backtracking on the criticism, which was (sadly) inevitable. I agree with this article and these people look like idiots. (And I say that as a pro-gun ownership guy who's no fan of the NRA.)

One of the common complaints about the complainers I keep reading is, "It's not the open carry rallier's fault! It's society's fault for fearing guns! These guys are the only thing that will help us get over that!"

I suppose, if we were living in the Old West, we'd all have six-shooters strapped to our belts. AR-15s at Chili's? Not quite the same! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Sadly, I'm not surprised that the NRA would walk back on this. They've been very hard core themselves, especially on making sure that crazy people can still get guns.

Still, it was nice to see a moment of rational behavior.

In terms of affecting people, you can never predict what images will change minds. The image of a bunch of armed men descending upon restaurants and whatnot is not a positive image. Will it change the public's perception? Hard to tell. It has certainly changed many businesses by driving them to the "no guns allowed" side.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's a stupid complaint. Americans are extremely pro-gun. They own a vast number. They repeatedly vote to allow people to own, carry and even conceal guns. What they don't like are people who don't understand that there are limits.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben! This is one of those things where there just aren't any positives but there are a large number of negatives. In other words, there's no good reason to do this but there are a great many reasons why not to.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Scott,
In the old west folks usually weren't allowed to carry their guns into the chili's saloon. At least in the bigger towns and cities, from what I have read.
Certainly not in Tombstone.

But seriously, I don't get why the NRA is backtracking here. I bet most NRA members are wondering the same thing.

I get the occasional rifle owner carrying his rifle around because he don't have a gun rack and the lock on his pickup is broke but a rally of several rifleroos will only result in more private businesses banning all guns.

Yeah, technically the rifleroos can do it but just because one can do something doesn't mean they should.

BTw, Scott, I had no idea you were a gun guy. Cool beans! :)

Kit said...

Ben,

All the NRA has to gain from backtracking is pushing themselves to the fringes of political discourse and making all gun rights advocates seem like cooks and whackjobs.

tryanmax said...

In order to avoid hypocrisy, I can't very well criticize non-apologies by groups I disagree with and then not praise a non-retraction by a group I do agree with. The crux of Chris Cox's "retraction" was basically that he shouldn't have used the word "weird." Not that any of this matters to the spinmeisters.

BevfromNYC said...

Well, here's my take. I would much rather KNOW someone is packing than be surprised in a drive-by or at the corner deli. Now, that being said, I do equate taking over a Wendy's (or wherever) with firearms on your shoulder as stupid. I didn't like ACT UP scaring the elderly or Gay Marriage advocates beating up little old ladies in Mormon parking lots. I really don't like the Westboro Baptists, and I don't like these guys who do this either.

Once to prove point with a controlled rally in a park is one thing, but taking over a business and scaring people is just wrong.

ScottDS said...

USS Ben -

BTw, Scott, I had no idea you were a gun guy. Cool beans! :)

Well, I'm not anti-gun. I support the right of law-abiding citizens to keep firearms. But I think there are some people out there for whom this shouldn't apply. And I have no love for the NRA and their ilk. (I'm also pro-gay marriage but I have no love for GLAAD, etc.)

Charles Bronson in one of the Death Wish films sums it up nicely: "Guns don't scare me. Idiots with guns make me nervous." :-)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's interesting. I didn't read the retraction to see how far he went. I can see why he would pull the word "weird," but I wouldn't. This is not positive behavior.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I concur. I would rather know who is carrying and who isn't. That said, I am totally at peace with licensed concealed carry too.

And in terms of these rallies, I agree completely that if they want to make a statement, then you get a permit and go to the park and show up with all your guns so everyone can see. Taking over a business is just not a wise move that won't sit well with the public. It reeks of "abusing the privilege."

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, If they are backtracking, I suspect it's because they got a lot of blowback from these people.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, They are on the fringe at times already, though they have managed to stay sane enough to win much broader support.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Idiots with anything dangerous scary me... guns, sharp spoons, cars, children to be malraised, Executive Orders...

tryanmax said...

Don't forget kale. Too many idiots running around slinging kale all over the place. It ought to be regulated.

BevfromNYC said...

Hey, Tryanmax - Do NOT diss the my kale-komrads. Kale will save us and you'll have to pry my baby kale/spinach/swiss chard MIX from cold dead fork before I will give an inch on this one! YOU CAN TAKE AWAY MY WHOLE FOODS, BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE AWAY MY KAAAAAALLLLLLLE MIX!!!!!!

Kit said...

It also seems they believe they are engaging in some kind of "shock therapy". Helping Americans "overcome their fear of guns". Really.

Tennessee Jed said...

my thought about this is just because you CAN do something (legally) doesn't mean it is a good idea. So good for the NRA

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

True, but people who abuse spoons don't have a lobbying group in D.C.! :-)

Kit said...

Bev,

Jim Gaffigan has some thoughts on the subject of Kale. (2min 9sec)
LINK

Critch said...

I've been sorta incommunicado all week at the Lake of the Ozarks. The NRA is right about this, I'm a member BTW. I'm not sure what the point is of open carry other to figuratively poke non-gunners in the eye...back to that in a minute. From a tactical point it makes no sense. If a shooter walks in a store and sees a person wearing a visible sidearm, guess who gets shot first? If they don't know who has a gun it makes a big difference.
I do kind of understand the open carry people in some ways, we defenders of the 2nd Amendment took it on the chin for a long time and now since Heller vs. DC we've been on the offensive...open carry is a just another step forward in some people's eyes. Like I said, it's a tactical mistake to me.
The NRA is the only gun lobby that anyone cars about, they are the 900 pound gorilla in a room and I'm happy they are. There is no way in Hell that I would trust politicians, judges, lawyers etc. to protect my gun rights, for too long they were ignored. The NRA scares the crap out of them. The NRA is not a radical organization by any means.

Post a Comment