Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Fallout From Chipotle

Brandishing semi-automatic weapons in busy restaurants is not a good way to promote the Second Amendment. Apparently a few fringe activists in Texas don’t quite understand this, and now their story is all over the news making gun owners look ridiculous.

People need to realize that these kinds of crazy stunts damage the cause of gun rights. The liberal media inevitably use these stories to make gun supporters look silly.

The Second Amendment is about having the ability to protect yourself and your family. It isn’t about taking part in acts of political theater that alienate 98% of Americans. I’m pretty sure that I am not the only gun owner who believes that.

And yet the gun rights movement lets itself be defined by people who think it is a good idea to bring military grade weapons into family restaurants, and then post pictures of it online for everyone to see. Why?

Pro-gun politicians and the NRA need to speak out against these inflammatory tactics more often, before they do more damage to the cause. If they don’t, there’s no telling how much the Second Amendment will suffer.


  1. As I'm sure you've seen from the news reports and the discussions in various blogs, this topic is neither simple nor clear cut.

    Reasonable minds can differ on tactics. I personally concur that there are better ways to promote the Second Amendment than taking long guns to a fast food joint, and I concur that the liberal media is having a field day with the imagery. However, I'm not sure where you get the 98% alienated Americans figure.

    I also disagree that the gun rights movement lets itself be defined by the fringe. There is a wide spectrum of groups making up the gun rights movement from the established "conservative" groups such as the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation and various state firearms groups such as the Texas State Rifle Association to the more aggressive groups promoting open carry. Somewhere in the middle are groups like Project Appleseed which focus on educating people about the Second Amendment through teaching history and marksmanship together as well as other groups dedicated to the shooting sports like IDPA, USPSA, SASS and others that have a vested interest in the gun control debate. Each one of those groups is, to a greater or lesser extent, the face of the gun rights movement. Each one adds to the definition.

    You call on pro-gun politicians and the NRA to speak out against the inflammatory tactics more often. Perhaps a better idea would be to call on those same people and the media to focus more often on the multitude of other faces of the gun community instead of focusing on the people that make us look silly.

    While you are at it, let's demand greater accuracy and less bias in reporting from the media. How many times have we seen an active shooter initially reported to be an "evil member of the Tea Party" only to find out later that they were a liberal democrat. How often do you see defensive gun use that SAVES lives reported in the media?

  2. Julie,

    One of the pitfalls of writing on a subject is making sure to properly select the words used; for example - brandishing has a specific meaning within the firearm community.
    In no way, could the actions of the Open Carry Texas crowd be considered "brandishing".
    One of the biggest problems I have with the firearms community isn't the people who Open Carry but those who criticize them and provide ammunition to the anti rights cultists (aka gun control advocates).

    Your words do exactly that in this case. Brandishing a semi-automatic weapon -- that covers the gamut of Open Carrying a semi-automatic pistol to Open Carrying a Semi-Automatic rifle.The idea that the physical presence of a weapon is enough to cause alarm and panic is a favorite tactic of the antis. Let's focus on the actions of the individuals; did they act aggressively or hostile to anyone, did they threaten anyone by word or gesture, etc.

    I'm not sure what state you live in or how familiar you are with Texas State law but I can point out this 'crazy stunts' have raised awareness of how stupid Texas State law is. You can not Open Carry a handgun (has to be concealed) but can legally Open Carry a more powerful rifle or shotgun.

    I think it is incumbent on all gun owners to educate the public; Open Carry Texas is doing that even if the events seems to be generating negative publicity -- let's face it many a change in public perception have been accompanied by initial rejection or negative views (civil rights examples abound).

    And yet the gun rights movement lets itself be defined by people who think it is a good idea to bring military grade weapons into family restaurants, and then post pictures of it online for everyone to see. Why?

    Let's discuss that -- again terminology matters greatly because "military grade weapons" signify fully automatic weapons. Most weapons in the hands of civilians are semi-automatic, not select fire.

    But moving on -- would you have a problem with police officer posing for pictures in a family restaurant? A security guard? How about a professional boxer; someone capable of great physical damage without firearms?

    Probably not (other than the tacky posing for a picture in someone's business -- I don't like that either). So once again it would probably boil down to the "yucky firearms" being the issue.
    Which is exactly what the Open Carry Texas groups are trying to overcome; this creates a dilemma.
    How do you show normal people carrying firearms without being in public carrying firearms?

    Pro-gun politicians and the NRA need to speak out against these inflammatory tactics more often, before they do more damage to the cause.

    Inflammatory tactics? So Chipotle complained and called the cops? Nope. Jack in the Box -- Nope. The manager of the Fort Worth Jack in the Box posed for pictures with the OCT group.
    What is inflammatory is Moms Demanding Action dragging businesses into the debate when those very businesses were just following appropriate city, state and federal law. Shouldn't we focus on that (and the inaccurate reporting Daddy Hawk mentioned) instead?

    Let's use these opportunities to talk about how there are at least 50,000,000 gun owners and the Moms Demanding Action treats everyone of them as a potential murderer and reacts with hysteria to the presence of a firearm. Let's talk about the people carrying and show the world that "yes, they look like a cross section of America" - gun owners are a very diverse group.

    Let's own up to "Yes, I own and carry firearms" when people complain about the inflammatory actions of a few. Using that to point out how they followed the law and didn't cause a problem at their most 'inflammatory'. Talk about how unfairly the media portrays gun owners like yourself, etc

    Bob S.
    3 Boxes of BS

  3. Thank you both for this information. This is the exact kind of reasonable dialogue that I want to create. Your feedback is much appreciated!

  4. Hi Julie, as you know (from your email) how I think about this, and agree that it's a stretch too far as far as the high powered weapons in this neighbourhood esepcially, I live in NW Dallas and frequernted this area for year's ... as you may know, I am pro- gun, but also pro- business, and these type arsenal's for a bite to eat or shopping is a lil overboard, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh {: ) ... No ... I dont even dress in combat gear ... heh, heh, heh, heh, heh {: ). But Thanx for the read Julie, and I'm sure that many gun folk's think some of these strategies for gun- rights preservation and advocacy is getting a lil silly {: )