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.